Local governance


Child and gender sensitive planning

Child protection

Community preschools

Maternal and child health

Clean water and sanitation


Disability inclusive development – NEW!


Clean water and sanitation

Community access to clean water
© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod

Access to safe drinking water and environmental sanitation is essential to reduce the number of child deaths due to disease, especially diarrhoea. Interventions to improve sanitation and hygiene and access to improved sources of drinking water have a direct impact on the health status of women and children. Studies have shown that using toilets for defecation can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea by 30 per cent.

According to the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2010, only 25 per cent of Cambodia’s rural population have access to sanitation, while only 53 per cent have access to improved sources of drinking water. Furthermore, the Education Management Information System 2009/2010 shows that 66 per cent of primary schools have access to improved sources of drinking water and 79 per cent to improved sanitation facilities.

Commune Councils play an important role in improving the sanitation and hygiene situation and improving water quality in Cambodia. UNICEF works with government at provincial and district levels to ensure that the necessary skills are in place to monitor water quality, sanitation and hygiene in their respective areas, and to ensure that provincial, district and commune representatives are able to use data related to the number of existing drinking water facilities, functioning wells
and latrines to address needs related to water, sanitation and hygiene.

What we do

  • Support community-led approaches to improving sanitation and hygiene through stronger engagement of Commune Councils in planning, facilitation, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Strengthen the roles and responsibilities of the commune’s Water and Sanitation User Groups to maintain existing drinking water facilities, promote household water treatment, safe water storage and water quality monitoring.
  • Facilitate collaboration with NGOs, health centres, schools and local providers to encourage access to safe water and improve sanitation and hygiene practices.
  • Ensure that monitoring systems are in place at provincial, district and commune levels to promote sustainable and improved water, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Encourage the District Office and Provincial Department of Rural Development to provide technical support to communes on water and sanitation issues.
  • Document experiences and lessons learnt to influence policy development at the national level.



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