The Water & Sanitation Crisis in Cambodia
Approximately 25 percent of the total population in Cambodia lacks access to safe water, and 58 percent lacks access to improved sanitation. With approximately 80 percent of Cambodians living in rural areas, poor access to safe water and sanitation disproportionately affects its rural communities. Cambodia has one the fastest growing economies in Asia, although GDP per capital still remains low compared to neighboring countries.
Cambodia’s microfinance sector has grown rapidly in recent years. Members of Cambodia Microfinance Association now include 59 microfinance institutions, with a combined portfolio of around $3.2 billion, serving more than 2 million accounts. However, research conducted by Water.org in Cambodia suggests that limited access to affordable financing for water and sanitation remains a barrier for families in need to secure water connections and toilets for their homes.
Cambodia is an ideal environment for WaterCredit. A well-developed microfinance sector in a country with high water and sanitation needs represents an excellent platform for expanding access to affordable capital for water supply and sanitation improvements.
Water.org launched activities and laid the groundwork in Cambodia in 2014 with funding from the New Ventures Fund, a pool of flexible philanthropic funding that allows the organization to pursue key research and development efforts.
Water.org is now working with five local microfinance institutions to meet the demand of low-income families for water and sanitation financing. Our partners started lending activities in the fall of 2016, after finalizing market research and loan product development. Our partners aim to provide 18,900 loans to enable more than 85,000 Cambodians to gain access to water and sanitation facilities.
Additionally, we are focused on providing supply chain development support in an effort to reduce supply chain challenges and increase partners’ impact in the field.