Real Impact: Lower Mekong - Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Enterprise Development

In Cambodia, where 77 percent of the rural population lacks access to improved sanitation, people often think they cannot afford toilets. Providing access to affordable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) products and services is critical in this country where, according to UNICEF and WHO, 8.6 million people practice open defecation, and research has shown that less than 10 percent of rural households properly wash their hands. However, equally as significant is maintaining these improvements for the long term. Providing subsidies or simply giving away goods or services is not always sustainable and may not instill the willingness of people to want or use these products. And successful projects are not always easily replicated outside of the target area. Finding sustainable solutions that can be brought to scale is an essential goal to meeting and maintaining the advances to health, poverty, and other factors that come into play when WASH access is improved.