the latrine dream

After days of diligent work, research, stilted Khmer-English conversations, and frequent exasperation, we have finally arrived. Ladies and gentlemen…we have our new project! Every year, COWS and GlobeMed UW collaborate to decide on which project GlobeMed UW will work to fund in the coming academic year. It is always a time of exhilaration, excitement, and renewed determination to serve the communities of rural Cambodia the best we can. This year’s project is so fantastic, I can’t even describe it to you. Instead, I will let it speak for itself. So here it is! The result of weeks of research, field visits, struggling, planning, hoping, and building:


Official Project Title: Rural Family Sanitation Project

To improve the health of Okruch, Okruch, and Sreiy villages within Prasat Balang by providing families with latrines that are easy to use and maintain, and to empower Village Health Volunteers (VHV’s) to educate villagers on sanitary practices in a sustainable way to promote long-term understanding of sanitation and hygiene.

~To install 106 latrines to serve 106 households in 3 villages in Prasat Balang district.
~To hold one large community training per village in partnership with IDE – Cambodia to educate villagers on sanitation and hygiene in order to promote better health practices within families.
~To equip two Village Health Volunteers (VHV’s) in each village with the knowledge and resources to continue education efforts and answer villagers’ questions about sanitation, hygiene, and maintenance of latrines beyond the duration of the project.

~VHV’s will hold three informational meetings with villagers after the initial large community training to continue education on sanitation and hygiene concepts.
~Families using latrines will experience lower incidence of illnesses related to poor sanitation, such as diarrhea
~Families will have a better understanding of sanitary practices and personal hygiene.
~There will be an increase in the number of families who report consistently using latrines for sanitation needs.
~There will be an increase in the number of families who have access to a latrine on a daily basis.
~Partnership with the Dept. of Rural Development will result in comprehensive training on sanitary practices and their significance, including the importance of using latrines.
~Villagers will feel comfortable approaching the VHV’s and COWS staff during and after the completion of the project with any questions about sanitation, hygiene, and latrine use.

Action Timeline:
In March, COWS staff will do basic research in conjunction with village authorities to identify the families who will receive latrines. They will also conduct a baseline survey of sanitation and hygiene knowledge in each villages.

In the spring months, latrines will be installed in each village. Installation will be followed by a large community education meeting, spanning half a day, to instruct villagers on latrine use, the importance of sanitation, sanitary practice, and personal hygiene.

In the month that follows Village Health Volunteers will then hold three additional informational meetings for their village to continue their education. VHV’s will then be available to answer villagers’ questions and assist in matters of sanitation beyond the duration of the project. VHV’s will receive their own training from the Department of Rural Development in order to prepare them to act as a resource for their village.

Latrine installation and education campaigns will be finished in all three villages by the end of July. By then, each village will also have been given a PIKS, or Post-Intervention Knowledge Survey, so that we can measure the success of our education campaign. It will have the same questions as our baseline survey, and after we compare their answers before and after the trainings, we can assess how much the information sunk in.

To further measure our long-term success, the same PIKS will be administered one more time in each village in December, six months after the end of our project.

>$50 for Speakers at VSD Meeting

>$10,700.00 – 107 Latrines
$100 – per latrine installation
$60 – Latrine materials, transportation, latrine construction, and education from IDE
$40 – Latrine shelter construction

>$120 – Large Community Training Meeting
$40 for materials and snack to supplement IDE training (3 meetings)

>$65 – Training Meeting for VHV’s
full-day training
snack, materials, transportation, food

>$105 – VHV action plan (3 meetings per village in month after installation)
$60 – stipend for VHV ($10 per VHV, 2 VHV’s per village, 3 villages)
$45 – snacks at meetings ($15 per village, 3 villages)

>$6903.40 COWS Admin Costs
ED Salary – $1,440 ($120/month)
Financial Manager Salary – $720 ($60/month)
ED Gasoline – $39.60 ($13.20/month)
Staff Salary – $3,600 ($300/month)
Staff Gasoline – $475.20 ($39.60/month)
Staff Cellcards – $120 ($10/month)
Photocopying – $120 ($10/month)
Office Stationary – $180 ($15/month)
Motorbike maintenance – $84 ($7/month)
Motorbike helmet – $18
Printer toner – $16.60
Bank transfer charge – $90 ($30/transfer)

>$56.60 Extra

Total: $18,000

There are many good characteristics of this project. We are partnering with local government to strengthen support for what we’re doing. We are buying all materials and services from local contractors and suppliers. We are involving structures and resources that already exist in the villages, thereby drawing on the assets and contributions of the villagers themselves. We are also including a robust education campaign and thorough evaluation process so that we know how successful or unsuccessful the education efforts were. In the villages where we will be working, only 15.3% of the population currently have access to a latrine, and since the population is mainly indigenous, it has been passed over for other government initiatives working on sanitation.

I am proud of this project, and every student, supporter, and donor involved should be excited about it, too. We have a very ambitious fundraising goal this year: $18,000, but the need is great. It will be well worth the stress, effort, and pressure involved to see the health and dignity comes from having access to such a basic need.

(If you’d like to get involved – latrines just really motivate you – don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or visit GlobeMed UW’s website)


5 thoughts on “the latrine dream

  1. Holy shi—!!! One project where you can say you start and end in the hole. ok,ok, absolutely behind you 100% Sounds like you are really going to clean up, and, of course, don’t forget the paperwork. We have a check to get you started. lup

  2. I’v heard of people say paying for college was pouring money down the sh–er, but never having to dig the hole first!
    Great job Emi keep up the hard work and your smile.

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