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WaterSHED’s staffs talked to VOA about the UNC’s 2012 Water and Health Conference

Two representatives from WaterSHED participated in Water and Health Conference: Science, Policy and Innovation at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill from the 29th October to the 02nd November 2012.

The 2012 Water and Health Conference: Science, Policy and Innovation, jointly organized by the Institute for the Environment and the Water Institute at UNC, will consider drinking water supply, sanitation, hygiene and water resources in both the developing and developed worlds with a strong public health emphasis.

Sophea (left) and Daroath (right) posting in front of the poster presentation during UNC conference

Voice of America Khmer Service in Washington DC took the opportunity to discover what Cambodia has done in relation to WaSH sector with the two representatives from Cambodia in the conference.

Following is the translated version of the interview in English:

Narrator: A five-day conference on Water and Health, which focuses on Science, Policy and Innovation, organized by the Water Institute of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill attracted participation from NGOs’ representatives, researchers and students from various country. For Asia, on top of the Philippines and Vietnam, two Cambodian representatives from WaterSHED also participated in the event. The two participants are Mr. Phav Daroath, WaterSHED’s Senior Program Coordinator, and Mr. Pouv Sophea, WaterSHED’s Monitoring Coordinator.

Ms. Ly Moryvann from VOA met the two representatives in a phone interview on Friday, 2nd November 2012, which is the last day of the conference.

VOA’s Moryvann: Before discussing about the conference in UNC, I would like to request Mr. Daroath to brief our VOA’s audiences about the work that WaterSHED is doing in Cambodia.

Daroath: WaterSHED, with supports from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Stone Family Foundation and Diageo, has implemented three projects in Cambodia. First is Sanitation Marketing project which is carried out in six provinces, those include Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Takeo, Pursat, Battambang and Pailin. Another project is Micro Finance project. We also have a laboratory that does water quality test and experiment, situated in WaterSHED’s head office. Sanitation Marketing is our biggest project that we are operating in Cambodia. In this project, we facilitate [the sales process] with our local sanitation enterprises or the latrine concrete rings producer in rural areas so that we can produce affordable complete set of latrines. So far, we facilitated with around 160 local sanitation enterprises in rural areas and we have 650 sale agents in all communes in the six provinces. Since the implementation of the project in 2009, our latrine suppliers in the six provinces have sold around 35,000 latrines, which were delivered to the customers’ houses. WaterSHED has two main objectives; first is sustainability; which means that we try to make our supplier to be able to continue selling affordable latrines after the project is finished, and second is scalability, which means our project can be adapted anywhere in the country based on the actual situation.

VOA’s Moryvann: Why did WaterSHED send you and Mr. Sophea to this conference?

Daroath: The purposes of our participation in this conference are to exhibit the result of our project that we carried out in Cambodia and to learn from various research studies and results, and presentations from other countries in the world. I have also made a presentation on a result from a research study that aimed at encouraging villagers in rural areas to borrow loan from Micro Finance Institution (MFI) to purchase latrines. This project received collaboration from AMRET Micro Finance Institution currently in Kampong Cham and Kampong Speu provinces. According to my observation, many participants are interested in our projects from our presentation.

VOA’s Moryvann: After having participated in the conference, what have you learned or what kind of advantages have you received personally to bring back to Cambodia?

Daroath: During the last five days of the conference, what I have learned the most are the research studies conducted by scholars from many countries, knowing different approaches of implementing each project and the main strategies to carry out the projects. Another thing is the implementation of the result of the study. I hope that my knowledge in project implementation as well as the study result from the conference will contribute to the implementation of the project in Cambodia such Sanitation Marketing project and MFI project that are currently run by WaterSHED so that our outcome can be improved.

VOA’s Moryvann: Let me now direct a few questions to Mr. Pouv Sophea. Mr. Sophea, what did you presented in this conference?

Sophea: My name is Pouv Sophea and let me thank to you Ms. Moryvann and VOA that allow me an opportunity to have this interview to talk about this conference on Water and Health. In this conference, I exhibited a poster presentation of the research on explosive sanitation coverage in Kampong Speu province. The increasing of the sanitation coverage consists of many factors but the main contributing factors are the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Sanitation Marketing. The presentation aimed at sharing our experiences that we found out as well as presenting about Cambodia and WaterSHED to the globe. Our presentation attracted attention from the conference’s participants.

VOA’s Moryvann: For you, Mr. Sophea, personally what have you learned in order to better your work when you go back?

Sophea: The conference offered various seminars and presentation related to water and sanitation, the use of latrines and hand-washing. Personally what interested me the most is the monitoring and evaluation which has sustainability and scalability related to water and sanitation, the use of latrines and hand-washing. I gained more knowledge after joining this conference and I hope to bring my knowledge from this conference to improve the monitoring and evaluation system of WaterSHED in Cambodia.

VOA’s Moryvann: Thank you very much Mr. Daroath and Sophea for this interview with VOA and we wish you a safe trip back to Cambodia.