In late July 2023, an inspiring event took place under the framework of the Community-Led Inclusive, Climate Resilient (CLICR) WASH Project, a pioneering initiative in Cambodia. Thrive Networks/East Meets West Foundation (EMWF) in Cambodia, in collaboration with partners, organized a refresher training aimed at strengthening the skills of female water operators and their technical staff, managers, and supporting teams. This event, hosted at the Training Hall, Diakonia Centre, Phnom Penh, marked a significant step towards achieving the project’s core objectives.
The training gathered a group of 21 dedicated participants, including 5 remarkable women, who brought their collective expertise and determination to enhance their capacities. Among those attending were representatives from 6 female water operating systems, 5 EMWF team members, 1 CDPO (Cambodia Disabled People’s Organization) officer, 1 CDRI (Cambodia Development Resource Institute) manager, and 4 CWA (Cambodia Water Association) staff. This diverse group reflected the collaborative spirit driving the CLICR WASH Project.
Before delving into the training topics, participants undertook a pre-test to gauge their initial understanding. The subsequent sessions covered a comprehensive range of subjects, combining technical and social dimensions. Notably, participants engaged in group activities that involved drawing water supply infrastructures from source to end-users, highlighting the intricacies of water management.
The training spotlighted various crucial aspects:
• Roles & Rules: Unpacking water operators’ responsibilities and legal contexts, highlighting the importance of informed management.
• Climate-Smart Plans: Equipping participants with strategies for savvy decisions in climate challenges, nurturing business sustainability.
• Water Quality & Climate: Exploring standards and risks, fostering a deep grasp of factors shaping water supply dynamics.
• Smart Marketing: Unveiling innovative marketing tactics to expedite connections, vital in climate-vulnerable zones.
• Transformative Leadership: Boosting gender-inclusive leadership prowess, marrying marketing and social skills for positive change.
• Finance Essentials: Sharpening basic accounting for climate-aware income and expenditure management.
• Safe Havens: Introducing guidelines for safeguarding the vulnerable, fostering safe, inclusive water spaces.
• Resilient Water Safety: Navigating changing climates with the MISTI WSP Guidelines, ensuring steadfast water services.
• Inclusive Strategies: Tapping into Focus Group Discussions and household education for connections and hygiene advocacy, particularly for women and girls.
The dedication of participants was evident as they embraced the training’s content and engaged in thoughtful discussions. The event also included a post-test to assess the knowledge gained throughout the sessions.
Ms. Ean Sokneang, a Female Water Operator from Khum Mien Piped Water Supply, Ou Reang Ov district, Tboung Khmum province, shared her personal statement: “I feel confident to connect more piped water supply connections to GEDSI Poor/Poor households under the CLICR WASH project”.
This remarkable event under the framework of the Community-Led Inclusive, Climate Resilient (CLICR) WASH Project, supported by Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Water for Women. As World Water Week 2023 approaches, we celebrate the accomplishments of these empowered individuals and the collective strides towards better water management. The CLICR WASH Project stands as a beacon of collaboration, innovation, and progress, providing cleaner water access for all, even in the face of climate challenges.
At the heart of our programs are strong partnerships with government, private sector, civil society groups, and local communities. We also implement learning and feedback strategies to strengthen our approaches to promoting gender and socially inclusive WASH practices in our partner communities.