Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the world around us, including our work here in Cambodia.
During the last two months, Cambodia closed its borders, schools, and government offices while limiting in-country movement. At WaterSHED, we paused our programs and took the precaution of working from home. We moved to a reduced work week as we plan and evaluate best to worst case scenarios, and review options with our partners in the government.
Currently, Cambodia is maintaining a low infection rate and has had no deaths attributed to COVID-19. Our government partners indicate that we will be able to resume operations, with precautions, within the next two months. While we plan to resume Civic Champions training cycles in July, it is impossible to guarantee. We will remain flexible to changes or further delays.
WaterSHED’s organizational exit, originally planned for December 2020, will be delayed for some months. The exact length of delay will depend on how the circumstances unfold in the coming weeks and months.
In many countries and sectors besides rural sanitation in Cambodia, this pandemic has underscored the importance of resilient local systems and local leaders. In our work coaching government coordination and training elected officials, the fallout of this continued crisis is a confirmation of the importance of systems strengthening efforts years in the making. You can read more in a reflection from one of our Civic Champions Program Managers, Pisey.
Before the onset of COVID-19, our government partners demonstrated unprecedented coordination efforts for the drive towards 100% sanitation coverage. Despite the unforeseen challenges, we are focused on maintaining momentum for a government-led 2020 Civic Champions program, and on completing our sanitation market monitoring and research agendas.
Thank you for your support of our vision to make local systems stronger and more resilient. In the coming months, we wish you and your community health and stability.
Sovattha Neou, Executive Director