From 2000 to 2012, access to sanitation in Cambodia’s rural areas increased by only one per cent per year (JMP, 2014). By 2012, 75 per cent of rural Cambodians lacked access to improved sanitation, and 66 per cent practised open defecation (OD). Though OD rates are highest among the poorest rural Cambodians at 86 per cent, they are still quite high even among the richest at 32 per cent (CSES, 2011). Lack of access to sanitation imposes significant economic and social costs on rural Cambodians, from higher child mortality due to diarrhoea, other faecal-borne diseases, to stunted growth of children.
The World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) is supporting the Government of Cambodia in its efforts to increase access to sanitation among rural households. Achieving this goal requires effective demand generation for sanitation, highly-engaged local governments that work closely with the private sector to encourage service delivery, and a well-functioning value chain that leverages the capabilities of domestic sanitation businesses as well as providers of sanitation financing products and services.