Dear friends and colleagues,

We hope that this email finds you healthy and safe wherever you are in the world.
Over the last ten years, Cambodia has become a case study for successful market-based rural sanitation.[1] Access to basic sanitation services has grown from a stagnant 23% in 2008 to over 70% today. 

However, when WaterSHED exits in June 2021, it won’t be because the job is done. Instead, it will be because of the many appropriate local actors who are now well positioned to take forward the job of strengthening the system that provides sustainable sanitation in Cambodia.[2]

In this newsletter, we highlight the role of one key group of local actors: the national government. Not surprisingly, active engagement by relevant ministries has a ripple effect on the commitment to systems strengthening activities at all levels of local government. 

We also want to share some interesting thinking from HappyTap Co. 


[1] A recent case study by USAID and WaterSHED was published in Mar-2020.
[2] Sovattha (ED) and Geoff (Founder and Advisor) present at Agenda For Change’s World Water Week at Home side event: WASH systems, sustainability, & resilience: Why do they matter?
Institutionalizing Novel Development Programs
 
We often say that we aim to ‘institutionalize’—not simply ‘scale up’—WaterSHED’s successful programs. But what does that mean?

In short, it means that we work with the relevant ministries and departments to find the best way for the local government to invest in—and take ownership of— interventions like the Civic Champions program. Chea Sang, Government Partnerships Manager, shares the latest on our efforts during COVID-19.


Read now: blog post
Kicking off the first government-led Civic Champions Program
 
The first step of the Civic Champions (2020) training program was a training event co-hosted with the Ministries of Interior and Rural Development, rather than led by WaterSHED.

Instead of WaterSHED’s staff acting as master trainers (at the top of the cascade training), the national government’s own Training Team stepped in to co-develop and then deliver a compelling set of sessions.

Despite a three-month government ban on gatherings, following the outbreak of COVID-19, these national officials worked consistently (albeit remotely) to maintain momentum and ensure that the subsequent training stages would not be significantly delayed. 

 
Read now: blog post
Scripted for Handwashing

After years of formative research and product design, WaterSHED proudly spun off HappyTap Co. as an independent social business in 2014. During the COVID-19 outbreak, HappyTap has dramatically increased the production and distribution of its unique handwashing product. 

COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the severe lack of handwashing facilities in low-resource settings, and it’s clear that people need facilities to wash their hands consistently. But what if a facility could be more than a sink, and could actually “nudge” handwashing?

A study conducted last year in rural Tanzania compared a range of handwashing options, including buckets, tippy taps, HappyTaps, and other products. We recently learned about the study and spoke to the researchers.

They observed that an important difference between HappyTap and the other options was that it appeared to be scripted for the behaviour. ‘Scripted’, they explained, meant that the device had an obvious purpose, was intuitive to use, and was difficult to repurpose. Also, having an obvious place for soap seemed to discourage washing with water only.

Desirability seemed to be another key distinguishing factor. “[Study participants’] eyes lit up when they saw HappyTap; they found it delightful.” One of the authors recalled that, “more than any of the other options presented, it’s what they wanted to buy. They maybe even worried they'd wash hands too much and waste water because it was fun.”

We will share the study mentioned above when it’s published. In the meantime, 
P.S. We are expanding our Khmer language communications and research products. Our goal is to build an archive of WaterSHED’s work with as much Khmer language content as possible.

Available now in Khmer: the profile of our Civic Champions program manager, Pisey, our approach to evolving metrics,  as well as our blog post about the first government-led industry conference.
 
You can find the latest Khmer updates on our programs on our Facebook page.
Thank you for reading. Stay up on our publications, reflections, and events by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and our website. Questions? Email allyson [at] watershedasia [dot] org. 
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