Thanks for Helping Families Tackle Sanitation

The topic of this month's newsletter isn't glamorous - and it may be a little awkward - but to the rural Cambodian families who live far from centralized sanitation facilities, it is truly important. So, on their behalf, we thank you for helping them with this challenge....

Can you imagine living in the middle of rice paddies, and having no sanitation facilities? No bathroom? Envisioning this, you can probably see why having an alternative makes such a huge difference in their lives! So please read on to learn more.....

Rural homes do not have a latrine
A major challenge in rural Cambodia is that families often have no latrines at their homes. Lacking any alternative, they have no options other than using the open fields, or woods or a river in the rare instances where those are nearby. The fields, of course, are the source of their rice and food, and we all know that contamination can be a major cause of diarrhea and other diseases. Combined with poor hygiene, the result is lost labor productivity for adults, missed school days for children, and additional financial burdens for families requiring medical treatment.

Our Staff Polin, checking the quality of a latrine

With your great support, and Rotary, and SC Australia and our international supporters, we have been able to help these village families build more than 977 latrines in total.

Read below for some personal stories of the families who have recently received the latrines from our project in Prey O'mal community....

Families Appreciate their First Latrines

The villages in central Cambodia where our teams work have almost no sanitary facilities. Without running water or electricity, latrines are a highly functional option.

Without latrines, there are no alternatives to polluting the rice fields, and ultimately - due to runoff during the rainy season - polluting the nearby ponds and rivers. Without latrines, families experience dysentery and other sanitation-related illnesses.

The families are always excited at the idea of a latrine. Through healthcare and hygiene education, they have learned how they help prevent illness. And everyone everywhere - including rural Cambodia - appreciates a little modesty and privacy! 

During just the past two months, we have helped the villagers
to build 41 latrines in our new target village of Prey O'mal.
The latrine project works in conjunction with the water wells and BioSand Filter projects. The installation of the latrines reduces or eliminates the contamination of village water supplies.

Sustainable Cambodia sometimes helps individual households build latrines, but most often the community works together to build latrines in a cooperative effort. Sustainable Cambodia supplies families with latrine materials (concrete for the base, porcelain toilet, PVC pipe and concrete septic tank), while the recipients themselves provide the materials to build the latrine's outer structure (usually wood or thatch) and the labor for digging the pit and constructing the latrine. Sustainable Cambodia also provides recipients with training on building the latrine, and education on sanitation and the dangers of contaminating water sources.

Grandparents and their grandchildren with their first latrine
Aunt Chhun Ev, her children, niece and nephew smile when we interviewed them about their first latrine.
Village resident Aunt Chhun Ev said, "We all are very happy to use our latrine for the first time in our lives. We built it with our hearts, we use it with our smiles, and we take care of it as we take care of lives. Before, we didn't know what a latrine was. During those days, we often got sick, especially the young children, with diarrhea and other diseases. Now everything is different. We have a good place (a latrine), a clean water well to use for our daily lives, and a water bio-sand filter to make our water safe for drinking. All this help us stay to healthy. Thank you, all SC supporters, for helping us with everything we need to stay healthy." 

Children love to be in the photo with their first latrine
All village families who are willing to work to build a latrines are given the opportunity to have one. Families agree to build a fence, grow fruit and/or vegetable gardens, practice good sanitation, and demonstrate their honesty and cooperation in other community projects.


  1. Mr. Synoun Sam,

    In Siem Reap, with Trailblazers Cambodia Organization, we are organizing a fundraiser for latrines in Santey Village, Sotr Nikum District. Would it be possible to use the lovely photo of the kids that you've included in this blogpost? Of course, all credits will be properly accredited to you, and sustainable cambodia.

    Thank you. If you have questions please email


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