Sanitation Takes the Cake
In the developed world, basic necessities like clean water, access to education, and easy access to modern health care are generally taken for granted. But for many in the developing world, particularly in rural areas, these basics are in fact luxuries. Probably one of the most overlooked amenities is the hygienic latrine, or simple toilet. Because 80% of the population in Cambodia lack access to hygienic household toilets, open defecation in rural areas is common. This practice can create a breeding ground for illnesses like diarrhea, parasites, and hepatitis A, all of which decrease the productivity of adults and can be especially life threatening in children and the elderly.
Tired of digging holes or trekking to her neighbor’s latrine, Chhe Hov, a 68-year-old widow living in rural Cambodia wished to have one of her own. Like many in her village, she didn’t have the money or access to a loan in order to build one. A neighbor encouraged her to attend a community meeting about Thrive Networks’ Community Hygiene Output-Based Aid, also known as CHOBA. For the first time, Chhe Hov got the help and encouragement she needed to begin the process of building her very own pour flush latrine.
The program also provides financial help to the beneficiary by helping them attain a loan as well as offering a rebate once the toilet is installed and verified.
CHOBA is a unique program that promotes proper use and construction of hygienic latrines by the people who are benefitting from the program. CHOBA does this by giving the beneficiary the opportunity to buy a low cost, well-constructed latrine. In order to ensure the installation and construction is done properly, only suppliers and installers who go through a vetting process are allowed to participate in the program. The program also provides financial help to the beneficiary by helping them attain a loan as well as offering a rebate once the toilet is installed and verified. By ensuring that the work being done is being done properly, the beneficiary can be confident that they are getting their money’s worth and not being taken advantage of.
Chhe Hov began by saving $0.50 of her daily profit from selling Ansorm cake, a sticky rice cake made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, mung beans, and wrapped in banana leaves. It took her five months to save the $75 she needed, enough to begin construction. With the help of CHOBA, Chhe Hov finally had her very own toilet. After her toilet was constructed, program volunteers came by to inspect Chhe Hov’s new facility. Chhe Hov’s latrine passed inspection, after which she received a $17 rebate form Thrive Networks to help cover some of the costs. Chhe Hov’s latrine has become one of 140,000 household latrines built as part of Thrive Networks’ CHOBA program.