Thinking beyond the finish line: Sustainable sanitation services


The Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Rural Development and SNV jointly organised the Asia Regional Learning Event “Thinking beyond the finish line: Sustainable sanitation services for all” from 14 to 17 March 2016.

The Asia Regional Learning Event was part of the Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All Programme in Asia, which aims to improve access to sanitation and hygiene for rural populations in Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia and is implemented in partnership with government agencies in each country.

The focus of this learning event was to deepen our understanding of local governments’ and other stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities in districts that have achieved Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, and for those that have yet to. In Cambodia, the district of Banteay Meas is counting down to achieving 100% access to sanitation. Whilst this is an important milestone, we also need to be thinking of and preparing for future challenges in sustaining sanitation and hygiene behaviour, particularly in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, how can we ensure the sanitation facilities are operated, maintained and upgraded, and the pits are emptied once they become full? How can we support the poorest households? Have we met everyone’s needs? What will be the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders in monitoring and responding to these changing needs? Do they have the necessary skills and capacity? These and other issues were addressed.

Participants in the event all work in rural sanitation and hygiene, and included government partners from Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia and Cambodia as well as professionals from other development organisations, such as IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and WSP. The learning event was supported by the Stone Family Foundation, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Indonesia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government (DFAT).

Take-aways from the learning event:

For more information, please read the full report on this learning event. Furthermore, you can read the blogs from our knowledge partner IRC.

Building on the results and learnings from the Banteay Meas district, the second phase of the SSH4A programme in Cambodia started in January 2015 and supports the government in scaling up the approach to two new districts: Chum Kiri and Basedth.