Sanitation in Challenging Environments in Cambodia: Appropriate Sanitation Solutions for Hard Rock Areas in Rural Cambodia

October 2020

Access to improved sanitation, which is important for community livelihoods, reduces health burdens and environmental impacts. In rural Cambodia, a large proportion of the population practice open defecation that has a detrimental effect on the environment and community health. To meet Cambodia’s target of 100% improved sanitation coverage by 2025, pour flush pit latrines are the recommended sanitation solution. However, challenging environments make conventional latrines difficult to construct and increase the likelihood of contaminating the surrounding environment.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Australia have been working on Sanitation in Challenging Environments in Cambodia since 2014, taking a sector wide approach to improve knowledge and action on sanitation for communities affected by their challenging environment. In collaboration with EWB Australia, the purpose of this research is to evaluate technologies that could enable sanitation access in areas of rural Cambodia where hard rock is present while ruling out established approaches such as pit latrines. Recommendations in these challenging environments were curated through desk research and interviews with experts delivering sanitation solutions in Cambodia. The research considers appropriate solutions using selection criteria rooted in a solid understanding of the context, and establishes an approach to testing technologies and feasible pathways to scale given the policy environment and condition of the broader sanitation sector in Cambodia.

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