Kampot Province School Hygiene Project – Cambodia
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.
The high school serving as the site of this project is located in a semi-rural conurbation that hosts the district offices, the commune health center, and several other important regional institutions. Due to the presence of these institutions, this community serves as a hub for the district and as a result, the high school serves more than 1,600 students from seven surrounding villages.
As in many other Cambodian communities, incomes are rising but wealth remains largely concentrated and invested in a small number of private homes and businesses. Despite the relatively high concentration of community institutions, the resources available to residents diminishes rapidly the farther they live from the nearest paved road.
In the outlying villages that some high school students call home, the prevalence of at-risk for underweight among children younger than 5 is as high as 49%, a problem exacerbated by a concurrently high prevalence of diarrheal illness.
Even within the urban environment, sanitation and garbage management have much room for improvement, and other complicating factors, such as illiteracy, are present. Yet the industriousness of community members shows a determination to improve living conditions and better provide for children’s needs.
Diarrhea-related illnesses kill an estimated 11,000 Cambodians every year, and represent the second leading cause of death worldwide for children under 5. Beyond these numbers, days lost to diarrheal illnesses erode the economic productivity needed for disadvantaged families to get ahead, and entrenches the damage of chronic malnutrition that limits children’s potential.
While the high school’s three NGO-constructed latrines are regularly used by students, and school administration officials have committed funds to their maintenance, the school has no hand washing stations to support healthy hand hygiene habits.
The health club students at the high school will construct three hand washing stations at the school. This will complement their sanitation education efforts for a greater impact in promoting effective hygiene behaviors that minimize the spread of diarrheal illnesses.
The hand washing stations will be constructed by local professional builders at three latrines located at the high school.
Water Charity funds will be used for materials, including bricks, cement, piping and faucets, safety signage, and tiling, as well as to compensate professional builders for their labor.
The community will provide building materials, pro bono consultation services, and cash contributions, together constituting a 25.4% community contribution towards the total project expense.
Health club students will conduct peer education activities eight times during the last 30 minutes of a class period with instructor approval.
After the peer education, they will distribute and collect post-intervention surveys assessing hand washing behaviors and knowledge to the two classrooms that received pre-intervention surveys.
During the final health club wrap-up meeting at the end of their cohort’s service health club students will practice building accountability by reporting a summary of their activities to health center and school administration staff.
Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Monitoring and Maintenance
The school administration will monitor the use of the facilities and maintain and repair them as needed.
A sanitation schedule was drafted in which high school students will clean the hand washing stations on a weekly basis and check that they have adequate water. Additionally, administration officials have pledged to keep the stations stocked with liquid soap, and this commitment will be reaffirmed periodically throughout this project.
By providing health club students the means to provide hand washing education in a setting where adopting this behavior is convenient and visible to peers, this project provides the club greater capacity to instill good hand hygiene habits among students that can persist over a lifetime and transfer to other community settings beyond the school grounds.
Furthermore, the education portion of this project will reinforce the health club students’ ongoing development of experience in community health education, public speaking, and community engagement. As evidenced by the pilot trial of the health club, by taking on educator roles and participating in the reporting of activities to superiors during wrap-up meetings, students will also gain confidence – a vital asset for future professionals.
Funds raised in excess of the project amount will be allocated to other projects in the country.
Donations Collected to Date
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