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The Foundation of the Cambodia Clean Water and Toilet Project

The founder of the Cambodia Clean Water and Toilet Project is Darrel Steer. Darrel went to Cambodia in 2015 for a holiday; he has not moved back home! While there, he witnessed the poor standard of living and poverty throughout the rural villages. He observed that there was no access to clean water creating unsanitary living conditions and illness.

The following is copied from the Cambodia Clean Water and Toilet Project Facebook site.

It is the story behind the development of the CCWTP

There is no need so basic as having clean water to drink, but over half the population of Cambodian does not have access to clean water. In the countryside, most people rely on water from rivers, streams and ponds. This water is often polluted and is a major cause of health issues in children. Also, the lack of sanitary toilets exacerbates the water problems.

This is the source of water for these children and their family. They also use the bush as their toilet.

To spend time in Cambodia is to be exposed to the plight of a people that have experienced so much tragedy in recent years and are literally re-building their country from scratch. The land mine victims are the obvious casualties, the less obvious are those in the villages in the rural areas.

The Cambodia Clean Water and Toilet Project is a 'grassroots' organisation founded by Darrel Steer in response to the needs seen in a rural village near Siem Reap in early 2015. With support from village leaders, Darrel took action to raise the standard of health and hygiene for these village families by installing water bores with pumps and sanitary toilets.

Darrel directs the project from Cambodia and is assisted by two teams of locals from Siem Reap who are developing their own understanding and skills as well as generating earnings to support their own families.

This project provides the means for very poor villagers to improve their health, save the money that would be spent on medicines, re-focus on their children's schooling and give them hope for their future. The installation costs are US$250 ($350 in Australian dollars) for a clean water bore with casing to protect the actual bore pipe, plus a cast iron pump and concrete base. For the installation of a septic tank toilet and building, it costs US$350 ($500 in Australian dollars).

Darrel Steer is a retired professional and has the energy and the time to work in the villages. He has been relying on friends and businesses in Australia to become involved and provide the necessary funding. 100% of all donations goes to the villagers. There are no administration costs in these operations. The project has been installing water bores with pumps and sanitary toilets since May 2015. The project team has installed 37 clean water bores and 62 septic tank toilets in the 22 months to March 2017.

Clean water and privacy

All donations are acknowledged and as the installation proceeds, all donors are provided with regular photos of the process.

The project offers sustainable improvement in the villages. Installing a water pump provides the villager with life-sustaining H2O. Installing a septic tank toilet provides the hygiene structure they need to survive. The access to clean drinking water and having a septic tank toilet are life changing events for these people. The rural villagers' needs are great, the project's biggest need is funding.

The small villages seem to miss out on the assistance that large charitable organisations can provide. Hence the focus has been on the smaller villages and the team liaise with the village leaders to determine which families are in most need.

The project team has the means of determining who are the poor families in local villages and the ones that are in most need of some help. All of this is done in full consultation with these communities and their leaders. We use local business to supply all materials, and have two competent teams of locals who can drill and install clean water bores as well as installing sanitary septic tank toilets.

The project team normally insists on the family making some contribution, usually by helping with the drilling or digging and providing the sand and sometimes the cement. Their contribution helps maintain the family's dignity and provides a sense of ownership. Ownership is a critical factor for ongoing hygiene and maintenance.

The projects accounts are overseen by a retired accountant who acts as treasurer for the project.

"It is a privilege to be involved in this project but to maintain this work requires funding. I firmly believe that the future of Cambodia is dependent on educating the young people. The challenge is to have them finish high school but particularly having girls complete their high school education (currently it is less than 10%). A prerequisite to school attendance is being healthy. Clean water and sanitary toilets are essential for health. It is in this area of health and hygiene with clean water and sanitary toilets that I believe we can make a significant change in the lives of village families. We might not be able to change the world but we can change the world of these families and give them hope for a better future." Darrel Steer

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