Dear Friends and Colleagues,

During the last two months, Cambodia closed its borders, schools, and government offices while limiting in-country movement. At WaterSHED, we paused our programs and took the precaution of working from home. We moved to a reduced work week as we plan and evaluate best to worst case scenarios, and review options with our partners in the government.

Currently, Cambodia is maintaining a low infection rate and has had no deaths attributed to COVID-19. Our government partners indicate that we will be able to resume operations, with precautions, within the next two months. While we plan to resume Civic Champions training cycles in July, it is impossible to guarantee. We will remain flexible to changes or further delays.

WaterSHED’s organizational exit, originally planned for December 2020, will be delayed for some months. The exact length of delay will depend on how the circumstances unfold in the coming weeks and months.

In many countries and sectors besides rural sanitation in Cambodia, this pandemic has underscored the importance of resilient local systems and local leaders. In our work coaching government coordination and training elected officials, the fallout of this continued crisis is a confirmation of the importance of systems strengthening efforts years in the making. You can read more in a reflection from one of our Civic Champions Program Managers, Pisey.   

Before the onset of COVID-19, our government partners demonstrated unprecedented coordination efforts for the drive towards 100% sanitation coverage. Despite the unforeseen challenges, we are focused on maintaining momentum for a government-led 2020 Civic Champions program, and on completing our sanitation market monitoring and research agendas.

Thank you for your support of our vision to make local systems stronger and more resilient. In the coming months, we wish you and your community health and stability. 

Best regards, 

Sovattha Neou

WaterSHED Executive Director
News from HappyTap: invest in hygiene solutions that last
The best way to prevent pandemics like COVID-19 is to wash hands[1]. However, roughly 3 billion people, 40% of the world’s population, lack a basic place for handwashing with soap at home[2]. 

Genevieve Kelly, General Manager of HappyTap Co (Vietnam) Ltd., said, “We can tell people to wash their hands until we’re blue in the face, but where people don’t have access to handwashing facilities, it won’t help. The idea is simple enough, people must have handwashing facilities in order to wash their hands at critical times.”

HappyTap is uniquely positioned to rapidly equip households, schools, and healthcare clinics with appropriate handwashing facilities (fulfilling existing SDG priorities[3]). A visually salient product, the HappyTap is designed to serve as a reminder for handwashing with soap and makes the task as convenient as possible.

As governments and UN agencies roll out mass communication campaigns about how and why to wash hands with soap, HappyTap Co. is complementing these efforts by translating hard-won gains in awareness into actual practice.  

HappyTap is available in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Cambodia, and can be quickly shipped wherever needed around the world. More at

WaterSHED’s role in HappyTap: we conducted formative research on hygiene facilities in rural Cambodia and Vietnam, and then design and development of the initial product. In 2014, WaterSHED proudly spun off HappyTap Co. as an independent social business.  

[1] Saunders-Hastings et al. Effectiveness of personal protective measures in reducing pandemic influenza transmission: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Epidemics, 20, Sept. 2017, 1-20 
[2] UNICEF, Fact Sheet: handwashing with soap, critical in fight against coronavirus, is ‘out of reach’ for billions. March 2020
[3] SDG 6.2.1: Proportion of population using safely managed sanitation services and a hand-washing facility with soap and water; SDG 4.A.1: Proportion of schools with access to: electricity; the Internet for pedagogical purposes; computers for pedagogical purposes; adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities; basic drinking water; single-sex basic sanitation facilities; and basic handwashing facilities (as per the WASH indicator definitions)
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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