Access to water is changing women’s lives on Koh Phdao

Since 2006,the Cam­bod­ian Rural Devel­op­ment Team (CRDT) has imple­men­ted sev­eral pro­jects to improve food secur­ity and income gen­er­a­tion for the local people in Koh Phdao vil­lage. The aim has been to reduce their poverty and sup­port nat­ural resource con­ser­va­tion, espe­cially the Irrawaddy Dol­phins in the Mekong River.

However,  CRDT have found that whilst this vil­lage is situ­ated on one of the islands of the Mekong River, clean water and the access­ib­il­ity of local people to it, remains a prob­lem. This was particularly the case for old women and chil­dren who were having to climb right down the river bank to fetch water for their wash­ing and cook­ing. In addi­tion, the vil­la­gers could not irrig­ate their garden or crops around the houses unless they spent a lot of money on gas­ol­ine to pump water from the river.  Toi­lets were rarely used due to the lack of water.

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This year though CRDT has been able to tackle the prob­lem of water access in Koh Phdao. Thanks to funding support from the Japanese Embassy (KUSANONE Project) CRDT has been able to operate it’s initiative “Water for Sus­tain­able Agri­cul­ture and Altern­at­ive Live­li­hood Devel­op­ment”. One water tank was com­pletely installed for use in the vil­lage and 90 out of 165 house­holds have benefited from this water sys­tem. This has been particularly important for the women and children. It has solved the difficulties that children had in fetching water  and for the women in the Koh Phdao community who are mainly responsible for housework like preparing food and growing vegetables, it has changed their lives. Mrs. Om Saren explained that the system helped provide her with much better access ‘to the water for cook­ing, wash­ing, animal rais­ing, veget­able grow­ing and espe­cially for serving the tour­ists when they came to stay at my house. I do not have to pump water from the river like before and  can save a lot of money from not buy­ing gas­ol­ine.’

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