Final impact report

September 2022

kids in class fund

Better health through clean water and improved
hygiene practices for rural communities in Cambodia

Cover image

Your project improved access to clean water and provided hygiene education to

32,275 students, teachers and community members

in three rural districts of Cambodia.

This year alone, 21,886 people were reached with the help of the Kids in Class Fund, including:


19,120 children and youths

880 teachers

1,393 community members


Mini WASH Cycle

Access to sanitation means a fresh, healthy start for children in rural Cambodia.

TODAY, MS. CHART UNDERSTANDS THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF USING A LATRINE. She used to dig holes outside her home, but she was always worried about snakes, centipedes and mosquitoes. “It was challenging when it rained, but now that I use the latrine, I no longer fear dangerous insects,” she shares. “And I do not worry if I need to defecate while it’s raining.” She’s one of the thousands of Cambodians who have benefited from your support.

In Cambodia, a lack of access to clean water puts children’s and communities’ health at risk. Due to the common practice of open defecation and limited knowledge about safe hygiene and sanitation practices, people become ill and, in some cases, die.

“Children, especially those who are under five years of age, are at a greater risk of developing severe diarrhea from feces contaminated water and poor hygiene and sanitation practices at home,” explains George Yap, a technical advisor with Plan International Canada who managed the project. “They can become quite ill as they aren’t as resilient as adults. Our WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) projects are typically multi-million-dollar programs funded by government donors and UN agencies. But with your support, we are also able to design and implement smaller yet highly impactful custom initiatives such as the three-year Kids in Class Fund.”

kids in classroom

Increase access to basic sanitation for 32,000 people.


Build three new community water supply systems.


Eliminate open defecation in 136 villages.

THANK YOU for believing in the power of clean water and good hygiene practices to provide a healthier, brighter future!


The Scene

map of Cambodia

CAMBODIA IS AN INTRIGUING COUNTRY with a rich and complex history and a vibrant culture. Travellers head to Cambodia to explore the temples of Angkor Wat and to learn about the dark history associated with sites like the Killing Fields, where some 1.5 million people were killed during the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

Since the Khmer Rouge was overthrown in 1979, the country has been gradually improving. In keeping with the Cambodian proverb “Fear not the future; weep not for the past,” people are trying to look ahead. Today, the majority of Cambodians live in rural areas where poverty rates are high and access to basic necessities like water and washrooms is limited.

  • One in three Cambodians uses water from drinking sources that are contaminated with human waste.
  • Only 58% of the rural population has access to clean water.
  • 80% of the poorest rural Cambodians defecate in fields, open bodies of water, or other spaces with limited or no access to latrines or toilets.
  • 70% of primary schools don’t have access to adequate water or latrines.
Ta Prohm Temple in Siem Reap
Ta Prohm Temple in Siem Reap

Plan International encouraged the practices of good sanitation and not defecating outside. At first, we built cement toilets but also bamboo ones. Now, my village is 100% free of open defecation.”

– Buth Bou, Daunpeng commune chief


A community leader operating a pump outside the newly created pond
A community leader operating a pump outside the newly created pond

Clean Fun

Raising awareness to encourage healthy sanitation habits.

IT’S NOT JUST A QUESTION OF BUILDING LATRINES. Projects like this are successful when the emotional and social drivers that lead to sustained behaviour changes are understood and leveraged. “In many of our WASH projects, we use a hygiene and sanitation promotion methodology called Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS),” explains Yap. “In the past, when projects focused on building latrines rather than creating a demand for their use, people were more likely to end up using them to store grain or keep livestock.

"By using an approach that focuses on behaviour change, a greater emphasis is placed on sensitizing people about the negative health consequences of open defecation and the positive health benefits of using latrines. We also identify and engage key leaders and influencers in the community to model the desired change. It becomes associated with social status and inspires others in the community to want to change their behaviour as well.”

That’s why we joined the Ministry of Rural Development to celebrate the 12th annual National Sanitation Day in the Angkor Chum district last November. The day also celebrates the country’s progress in providing all its citizens with access to clean water and sanitation facilities. “In 2007, only 16% of Cambodians had access to latrines, but by 2019, this rose to 78% due to the efforts of the government and the co-operation of other stakeholders,” said Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, in a statement that was read at the event.

At the celebrations, 150 people, including girls and young women, watched educational performances and participated in workshops to learn about latrine usage, eliminating open defecation, drinking safe water and washing hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food and after using the latrine.

Safe Sanitation Successes

Events raise awareness about best practices.

OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR THREE-YEAR PROJECT, 11 events were held to share key messages about safe hygiene and sanitation and to rally support from stakeholders to help Cambodians have access to clean water and latrines.

World water day

Events: 4
Participants: 648
(477 children)

On World Water Day, workshops were held for participants to learn about the importance of handwashing with soap and water before eating or preparing food and after using the latrine to prevent and protect against infections and diseases.

Menstrual Health Management Day

Events: 4
Participants: 132

Events on Menstrual Health Management Day gave adolescents and families the opportunity to learn about period care.

National Sanitation Day

Events: 3
Participants: 531
(159 children)

Students learn about ways to wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19
Students learn about ways to wear masks to protect themselves from COVID 19

Together, we can achieve the vision that all people will have access to a clean water supply that is hygienic, equitable and sustainable.”

– Hun Sen, Cambodia’s prime minister

The Rundown

Your support is making water and sanitation facilities safer, cleaner and more accessible for girls, women and communities. Here are some of the incredible results the Kids in Class Fund made possible this year:


300 Families

with low incomes received grants to support the construction of household latrines.


1500 residents

in three villages gained improved access to clean water.


60 Schools

that were closed due to COVID-19 received hygiene kits, enabling them to reopen, welcome back over 19,000 students and provide menstrual products for girls.

120 people

On National Sanitation Day, 150 people participated in a campaign to teach the public the benefits of sanitation and hygiene as part of the country’s efforts to give all Cambodians access to water and latrines by 2025.

2 villages


in three rural districts in northwestern Cambodia successfully eliminated open defecation in their communities by building latrines and adopting safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

Your project also strengthened government and community monitoring systems – and the capacity of local NGO partner Bandos Komar – to ensure that the new water, sanitation and hygiene interventions will be sustained and maintained after the project’s completion!

hygiene supplies
Hygienic supplies were shared with community members


Latrines save lives

Rallying resources for safer sanitation.

SMOUN AND HER THREE CHILDREN DIDN’T HAVE A LATRINE. They live in a small village where only 65% of the 414 families in the community have this basic necessity. Many parents were scared to send their children outside to use a latrine in case they were exposed to wild animals. Because they didn’t have access to clean water, children were often sick, which meant they missed school. Smoun never had the chance to learn basic information about sanitation and how safe hygiene can help keep her family healthy.

With the support of Plan International and local partner Bandos Komar, village members helped families like Smoun’s build their own latrines.

“Thank you to Bandos Komar, Plan International and donors for supporting my family,” says Smoun. “You helped improve the lives of my children by improving their health.”

Today, 90% of families in Smoun’s village have access to a latrine, and open defecation is almost eliminated. Thanks to the support of the Kids in Class Fund, she is optimistic about her community’s future: “I expect all families in the village to be able to access latrines soon,” says Smoun.

The Kids in Class Fund has supported 394 families with low incomes to help them build their own latrines.

A newly built lantine in a household
A newly built lantine in a household

We did not have access to a small water piped system before. We shared this system with every house in the village. Around 20 families have access to clear water.”

– Keo Kei, Chrey Ngoun commune chief

The Report Card

The purpose of the Kids in Class Fund was to improve the WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) conditions in 136 villages and 75 schools in 16 communes in the Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia.

THE RESULT? “The key goal was to achieve what’s called open defecation free (ODF) status, which means 100% of households in a village have access to an individual or shared latrine,” explains Yap. “We achieved that in all but 15 villages. And in those remaining 15 villages, the coverage now ranges from 62% to 98%. These are pretty impressive results, and it shows the powerful impact you can have with these smaller projects. Everyone benefits, especially children, who are less likely to get ill from drinking water or eating foods contaminated with human waste.”

Let’s take a closer look at the before-and-after changes your support helped make happen.



How we made it happen


65% of households in 136 villages had access to basic sanitation.


96.7% of households in 136 villages

had access to basic sanitation.

How we made it happen

  • We held workshops in schools and communities on how to build and maintain latrines.
  • We worked with local governments and community businesses to help fund and build latrines for low-income households.


0% of villages in the project area had fully eliminated open defecation.


89% of villages

in the project area eliminated open defecation (121 out of 136).

How we made it happen

  • We promoted life-saving hygiene practices such as the consistent use of latrines and regular handwashing with soap and water and how to ensure that water is handled safely.
  • We supported community-led awareness campaigns to prevent open defecation near schools and in communities.
  • We provided modest subsidies to help them build latrines.


0 households had support to construct latrines.


394 households

received support to build them.

How we made it happen

  • Home visits were conducted with low-income families who were unable to afford their own latrines.
  • Micro-grants of $65 were provided to families to help them cover construction costs.
  • Local government officials later returned to these families to ensure that the latrines had been built.

The Kids in Class Fund supported the construction of community water supply systems in three villages.

  1. A communal pond that was used by 866 people (282 children)
  2. Two community-managed piped water systems used by 869 people (328 children)
  3. All three communities were involved in the construction of the systems and trained on monitoring and maintenance to ensure that their villages’ clean water keeps flowing.
Handover event
A handover event of newly constructed communal pond and community piped water systems conducted by the commune council in Tramsosor commune, Srei Snam district, Siem Reap Province

We never had a pond near the village, so we had to collect water from far away. We now have a small pond that provides conveniences for many families.”

– Mom Tum, a member of the pond committee
Community members standing in front of a new water tower
Community members standing in front of a new water tower.

Thank you!

We are so grateful for your incredible generosity. You are giving tens of thousands of Cambodians a healthier future through improved access to clean water and healthier conditions in their communities and schools. On behalf of the students, families and communities in Cambodia you’ve helped, thank you!
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