Social Enterprise

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 prooudly sells latrine costruction 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.

Private sector suppliers are attracted to the OBA model because it offers extensive access to ready customers already mobilized by the network of trained promoters who educate households about specific products and services.

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.

She sells concrete rings and pour-flush pans to low-income families as a side venture. Through this, she began serving people for the poorest 30% bracket of the province. Many of them could never have afforded a bathroom if not for Thrive Network’s rebates and the supplies sold by businesses like hers. While this was only a small part of her business, she saw the enormous effect it had on families.

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.