Floating Toilets: Update December 2016
An additional pilot sanitation awareness campaign was carried out at Yukunthor Primary School. Our TFish representative visited this school in our April 2016 trip and witnessed the hygiene class.
Floating Toilets: Update September 2016
Bringing Sanitation Systems to 4 Schools
Wetlands Work is focusing on WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) in schools as part of a program to bring sanitation to floating communities of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake. With support from the Transparent Fish Fund, we have so far constructed two school systems, Phat Sanday Secondary school and at Prek Khsach Primary school. Two additional schools, Thvarng Primary school and Kampong Prahok Primary school have been identified and systems are being installed in these school over the next five weeks.
We have also carried out a pilot sanitation awareness raising campaign at Yukunthor Primary school, and based on the lessons learned from this campaign, we are rolling out the remainder of the planned awareness raising activities.
Impact from Transparent Fish Fund
TFish funds are instrumental in supporting WW’s work with the schools, i.e. purchasing materials and installing the systems, developing and producing materials for sanitation and hygiene education in floating schools, and promoting sanitation technologies within the communities at large.
Update provided by Wetlands Work! on September 30, 2016
For the families and children living on Cambodia’s largest lake, the Tonle Sap, their houses and their schools actually float on the lake! But none of these floating houses and schools have toilets, meaning that waste goes straight into the same water that the children and their families use to bathe, wash, cook, swim and drink. There is also little awareness in these communities and schools of the link between sanitation and hygiene and health.
World Toilet Organization (WTO) partnered with Wetlands Work! (WW!) in late 2015 for a project to install revolutionary floating toilets and introduce sanitation and hygiene education in floating schools in Cambodia, and later to pilot the system in Bangladesh.
The project aims to eliminate open defecation in the target schools by encouraging students to use toilets, improve sanitation and hygiene awareness in the schools and the communities at large, reduce school absences due to diarrhea, and increase school attendance especially for girls, as well as driving demand for household toilets.
In the spring of 2016, Transparent Fish Fund field visit volunteer John Kieu visited the floating community that lives around Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. He reported on the floating toilet project we implemented in partnership with Wetland Works and the World Toilet Organization.
Before embarking on the journey to the floating villages, I met face to face with Taber of Wetland Works at his office in Phnom Penh. During the meeting, he gave me an overview of the living conditions and climate of the floating communities around the Tonle Sap Lake. According to Taber, there is a huge shortage of water due to drought as a result of climate change. For the past 3 years, rain has been scarce in the region. Because of this, water levels on the lake and connecting rivers have dropped considerably, causing some houses that were floating to now being situated on land. Another effect of drought is the reduction of fish population in the lake. So because of these factors, living conditions on the lake are quite dire.
We are bringing clean and safe toilets to the children studying in Cambodia's Floating Schools.
$20K Fundraising Goal Met
With public support, the World Toilet Organization had successfully raised around US$12,000. To help them achieve their target of US$20,000, Transparent Fish Fund donated the rest so that they could have sufficient funds to install toilets and run sanitation and hygiene programs in 4 schools in floating communities on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia and Bangladesh.
Their partner, Wetlands Work! has identified 4 schools within the Koh Chiveang commune, Ek Phnom district, Battambang Province for the installation of the HandyPod system in each of the floating schools. All the schools have very different challenging issues due to on-land and floating buildings. Wetland Works will select schools that remain floating all year round.
In partnership with the World Toilet Organization and Wetlands Work! we are helping schools in 4 floating villages in Cambodia get environmentally friendly toilets specifically designed for their unique situation.
The young students living on Cambodia's largest lake, the Tonle Sap, live in houses and attend schools that actually float on the lake! However, their schools don't have toilets, because until now, it hasn’t been possible to build one in a floating village.
Around the world, marginalized, landless populations live in floating dwellings, migrating with the seasons. Floating settlements are found in Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brazil, and many other nations. In Cambodia almost 100,000 people live in floating communities on the Tonle Sap Lake, with the vast majority having no access to a toilet.
There is also little awareness of the link between sanitation and health. People living in floating communities use the lake water for all their needs: bathing, washing, cooking, swimming, and drinking, and also as an open bathroom. Diarrhea-causing pathogens, including amoebic dysentery, cholera, and hepatitis, spread through contaminated water. In Cambodia, diarrheal diseases cause 1 in 7 deaths of children under 5 years of age, and those who survive frequent diarrheal episodes may suffer from developmental difficulties throughout their lives. Since the households float on water and migrate through the seasons, common sanitation technologies like pit latrines and sewers cannot be built.
In partnership with the World Toilet Organization (WTO) we want to improve sanitation conditions for rural school children in China.
According to UNICEF only 64% of the population in China have improved toilets. An improved, hygienic latrine is one that adopts reinforced concrete structure, separates human excreta from human contact, and ensures that the excreta do not pollute the environment. Provision of hygienic toilets effectively eliminates breeding ground forparasites and vector-borne diseases such as mosquitoes.
A 2007 national survey by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that only 24% of schools had improved toilets. Most toilets in Chinese rural schools face the same challenges, as proper hygiene in schools is not considered a priority for most communities and municipalities. These old school toilets typically are not connected to a flushing system, most are without handwashing facilities, and the excreta disposal are normally located right behind the toilet building, uncovered and exposed to the environment (Figure 1). There is no management system in place to keep facilities clean every day, and children do not practice proper hygiene, all of which can lead to both health and environmental problems. In other words, there is a need for sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH).
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