Rich Cromwell is back home in Maine and this is his final report from Cambodia.


2014 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project in Cambodia

The last week:

Our consultant, Kristen, and I met on Tuesday to conduct the final review of our “Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) Survey”.  The insight that we have gained into water, sanitation and hygiene issues in these five villages is amazing and will guide us through developing a holistic, in depth action plan to address the villagers’ desperate situation.

The data is so comprehensive that it will also act as a baseline  and allow us, upon completion of the project, to measure our results accurately.  We were able to reconcile the villager survey with our interviews with the five village chiefs, and blending the results of those separate surveys gave us a lot of confidence in both surveys’ results.


The Action Plan in broad strokes:

·         Holistic approach;

·         Pick 2-3 villages and strive for at least 70% penetration rather than addressing the needs of all five villages and achieving only 30% corrective action;

·         Get the villagers involved, both financially and with sweat equity;

·         Provide alternative water sources, either dug wells or drilled wells, based on further needs analysis;

·         Latrines for 70% of residents;

·         Water filters for 70% of residents;

·         Continuing hygiene education and monitoring;

·         Involvement of the villagers in the manufacture of the latrine components and in monitoring village progress;

·         Consider supplying flip-flops, mosquito nets and hand soap as part of hygiene education;

·         Even though our goal is 70% penetration, we will budget for 90%.

This last week, Seur, a WFC project manager,  and I met with a large NGO called ‘PLAN’, which is active in the district within which our villages are located.  It was a courtesy meeting to ensure we were not duplicating efforts.  It does seem that Char, Kandal and Romeat are so far (25 miles) out in the rice paddies that we will be the only show in town for quite some time.

Seur and I also attended the District Governors’ Integrated Workshop this last week.  At this workshop, the commune chiefs not only report to the Governor on what they have been up to, but they also outline their needs and goals for 2015.  Our commune chief, Cheam Chork, was pleased that we were there.  When I told him I planned on being back next year, he grinned and said ‘next year is three weeks away’.  He is a good man who wants to help the folks he watches over in this forgotten corner of Cambodia.

‘Water for Cambodia’ and ‘Malteser’ just completed a project in a neighboring district in a village called Smach.  Seur and I visited the village, my observations gave me  solid evidence of the validity of our holistic vision of assisting Char, Kandal and Romeat.

Wells, latrines and self-help activity were evident all over the village and, most surprisingly, the village was clean… no litter.  Smach had been transformed from a destitute village held down by lack of water and illnesses related to unclean and sparse drinking water, and now it was almost cheerful.

I left Smach convinced we were on the right path.

Due to the commitment of the staff at Water for Cambodia, Kristen’s work ethic and Nthabeleng’s attitude that ‘we are in this together’, the project finished significantly under budget.

Our Interact Club and the Vocational School are continuing to work on our local Bio Sand Filter (BSF) Project.  This student based project will garnish a lot of recognition, and it will demonstrate what a ‘simple, elegant solution’ this BSF is to the drinking water problems in the third world.

I am back in Maine assured that this Spring Board Grant has set the stage for a Global Grant, which will allow us, with the help of Water for Cambodia, Malteser and the villagers of Char, Romeat and Kandal, to break the cycle of poverty in these villages and improve the lives of the villagers, in particular the children, forever.

Respectfully submitted,

Rich Cromwell

ImageMeeting with the Sleang Spean Commune Chief . Behind us is the Chief's wish list for 2015.

ImageWater for Cambodia  Bio Sand Filter with collection bottle. This is a very typical set-up. Each filter is numbered, GPS located, monitored and evaluated for one year.

ImageTypical latrine set up in Smach. We supply the in-ground cement rings, pit cover plate and squat toilet. The villagers dig the hole, install the pit rings and build the above ground structure.


ImageThis is a typical dug well installation. This is in Smach.