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.
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) 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. 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. The major issues findings from ANSA’s assessment on CSO engagement in WASH accountability are:
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.
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.
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: