Cambodia has the lowest rate of toilet coverage in Southeast Asia, leading to disease, environmental problems and hindering economic development. Tackling its sanitation problems is one the country's biggest challenges.
....What happens in Cambodia is disease and preventable illness resulting from open defecation, a very common practice in rural parts of the country, where 80 percent of people do not have toilets. Most people in the countryside simply defecate in fields or nearby forests, something they've done for generations.Where they didn't suffer the depredations of the Khmer Rouge;
The importance of good sanitation management to development can be seen elsewhere in the region. In Singapore, for example, by 1970, 90 percent of the country's population had piped water in the homes. By 1990, all households were connected to the sewage system. Over the next decade, full sewage treatment came online. Experts say this comprehensive infrastructure improvement spurred the city-state's economic development and helped it become the success story it is today.As usual, it's private enterprise to the WaterSHED;
...which stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Enterprise Development, has the objective to bring effective, affordable water and sanitation products to market in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Providing affordable and desirable water and sanitation products increases adoption and proper use rates among the poor. Using proven, market-based principles, WaterSHED leverages the power of private enterprise to bring water, health and prosperity to the people of Southeast Asia.As Deutsche Welle puts it;
This market-based approach, asking them to pay local businesses to install their toilets, is called hands-off sanitation marketing. It has proven more successful than previous programs, when NGOs would go to a village and give toilets away for free.
"If people buy [the toilet], they will install it and use it because they feel ownership of what they pay for," said Phav Daroath, WaterSHED's marketing manager. He said if they got it for free, that put less value on it, and perhaps use it for a while, but then go back to their old ways.
In addition, there's an aspirational aspect to the approach. If one's neighbor has a toilet, it carries some prestige, especially if a family can offer guests a sanitary place to relieve themselves. The pride factor is a key element, sanitation experts say.