Market solutions to Cambodia’s toilet troubles
Thursday, June 5, 2014
PHNOM PENH, 5 June 2014 (IRIN) – Having money in your pocket does not translate into a toilet in your home, so Cambodian sanitation campaigners are trying new ways to encourage latrine construction in a country where years of awareness and subsidy campaigns have not been flush with success.
“The economy has grown fast, but sanitation hasn’t grown accordingly. So it’s not related to money and economics,” Py Sophal, deputy director for rural health care at Cambodia’s Ministry of Rural Development, told IRIN.
“Even when there is a demand, we often see there is no [realistic] supply. So we need to create a demand-and-supply system.”
According to the Ministry of Rural Development, 61.5 percent of rural households lack toilets. And poor sanitation correlates with child stunting due in part to the health risks associated with open defecation, a 2013 assessment by the World Bank found.
Research by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme published in 2012 argued that more than half of the Cambodian households that lack a latrine could, in fact, afford one. However, sanitation schemes were failing both to facilitate access to affordable suppliers for the families with means, and target poor households with the loans and subsidies they needed.