CON-SWA, a CSO PlatForm for constructive Dialogue on WASH

COVID-19 pandemic is weakening economic development in Cambodia that is consequently provided negative impact to access water and sanitation. Eight in ten of the poorest rural Cambodians are defecating in fields, open bodies of water, or other open spaces, rather than using a toilet. ” There are still over 5 million people in rural Cambodia are practicing open defecation, over 3 million people do not have hand-washing facilities in their home, and another 3.3 million need access to safe drinking water sources.“ With approximately 77 percent of Cambodians living in rural areas, poor access to safe water and sanitation disproportionately affects its rural communities.[1]

CSO engagement to advocate for WASH issues in Cambodia is very limited. Cambodia has been estimated about 6,000 I/NGOs (at least 5,523 Association of NGOs registered at MoI and 419 foreign NGOs signed MoUs with MoFAIC)[2] working in across-sector but there are not so many NGOs working related WASH improvement. NGOs working in governance and human rights did not have enough information about WASH and they did not included WASH as a priority agenda to advocate for human rights[3]. For instance there are only 30% of CSOs among 37 CSOs from across sector has replied back the completed answers for the questionnaire has been requested by ANSA during the assessment process of CSO engagement in WASH accountability in Cambodia. The majority of respondents including individuals and organizations expressed that WASH has not been included in CSO’s development priorities while all respondents recognized that WASH should be a responsibility and a mutual accountability of the public and civil society organizations.[4] The major issues findings from ANSA’s assessment on CSO engagement in WASH accountability are:

  • Lack of knowledge and engagement of CSOs in WASH accessibility and accountability.
  • Voiceless of CSOs from non-WASH sectors on WASH for All including CSO representation of vulnerable groups.
  • Lack of CSO engagement in WASH mutual accountability at the sub-national and community level.
  • Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a Human Rights. Yet, CSOs in human right sector presented low priority on sanitation and hygiene for all.
  • Menstrual Hygiene Health (MHH) is a silence voice for Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) although it is impact to women, girls and reproductive health.
  • WASH is a human development investment but major private settings demonstrated careless on sanitation and hygiene facilities and accessibility for all clients to access their services.

ANSA has initiated to formulate a CSO platform to advocate and strengthen mutual accountability on Sanitation, Hygiene and Water for All in order to address these issues based on the results of recommendations and commitments of CSO capacity building on WASH advocacy and accountability conducted by WASH Betterment Project of ANSA funded by WSSCC/SHF. 

  1. CON-SWA Formulation
  2. Title of CSO Platform

Cambodia CSO Network on Sanitation, Hygiene & Water for All Accountability (CON-SWA). The CON-SWA is established and coordinated by ANSA learning from the outcome of WASH betterment project funded by Water Supply, Sanitation and Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has been transformed to the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF). The SHF is a global multi-donor platform to address the lack of equitable access to sanitation and hygiene issues in the globe. 

Vision: “CSOs are the leading agents on sanitation, hygiene and water for all mutual accountability.”

Mission: CON-SWA is a joint coordination platform of CSOs working in across sectors to work together to promote CSO engagement and advocate for human rights on sanitation, hygiene and water for all in Cambodia by strengthening service availability, accessibility and mutual accountability. 

  1. Target Audients and Thematic Areas

CON-SWA shall focus on twelve thematic areas for learning-sharing and advocating for strengthening mutual accountability among CSOs, Public Institutions/Administrations at national and sub-national level and Private Sectors. Those thematic areas are: 

  1. CSO Accountability (Build partnership and strengthen CSO mutual accountability on sanitation, hygiene and water for all)
  2. Safe drinking water for all (SDG6.1)
  3. Sanitation for all (SDG6.2)
  4. Hygiene/Handwashing
  5. Menstrual Hygiene Health (MHH)
  6. Human rights to water and sanitation
  7. Financing and national budget allocation for WASH sector
  8. Climate change sensitive WASH
  9. Nutrition sensitive WASH
  10. Gender sensitive WASH
  11. Inequality: Equality and Non-Discrimination (EQND) and Leaving No One Behind (LNOB)
  12. COVID-19 sensitive WASH