When Lay Heng Heng opened her hardware store in Kampong Cham, Cambodia, becoming a partner with an international NGO and an advocate for the health of her entire community were not at all part of her goals. These days; however, she proudly sells latrine construction materials along with her usual products. As a supplier for Thrive Netwok’s water and sanitation projects, her business is a critical radius in Kampong Cham’s new sphere of interconnected health and commerce.
Trained community promoters give private sector suppliers one thing they always want: extensive access to mobilized customers.
Heng Heng learned about Thrive Networks when a provincial government official encouraged her to sell latrine materials. Thrive Network’s outreach activities about basic sanitation and reimbursement for completed installations had motivated Kampong Cham’s residents to build latrines in their homes. This community health-based effort spurred a huge response, one so great that designated construction suppliers could not keep up with the demand. Through partnerships between Thrive Networks and provincial ministries, Heng Heng got connected and agreed to help.
Heng Heng began dedicating part of her business to people in the poorest 30% bracket. Many of them could never have afforded a bathroom if not for Thrive Networks’ rebates and the supplies sold by businesses like hers.
Today, Heng Heng has expanded to participate in another Thrive Networks project funded by the Gates Foundation. Through this compounding effect, she has a positive sanitation impact on even more people and has grown a more fulfilling career for herself.