My name is Adriana Romero. I am currently studying for my Master in Public Health at the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University. Over the past 6 months I have been collaborating with Sustainable Schools International (SSI) to develop a School, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (SWaSH) pilot program at Lngoem primary School (LM) in the rural commune of Tro Pang Cho. This rural community is located in Aoral District, Kampong Speu Province. The SWASH intervention aims to reduce disease burden and absenteeism among students, empower the community and improve the overall quality of life of the community. The end goal of this project is to identify local SWaSH best practices that can be used for future SWaSH interventions in the area.
In the first phase of this project, led by
Tavia Mirassou-Wolf, 8 government schools were assessed with respect to SWaSH
infrastructure and community preparedness. After analysis of the data and
considering the capacity and readiness of these schools, LM was chosen for this
pilot intervention. I was pleased to see the active engagement and continuous
support of the students and for this project from the principal, vice-principal,
and teachers. Three teachers at Lngoem primary school are SSI alumni; Rim who
earned his bachelors in education serves as a full time teacher and two high
school graduates serve as teacher assistants. Placing leaders back into their communities,
specifically at local schools, contributes to the development of a stronger
community and provides a solid foundation for intervention sustainability.
To make this SWASH project possible, we partnered with Clear Cambodia, a local Cambodian NGO that specializes in SWASH infrastructure and practices. Clear Cambodia will provide WaSH education for all teachers and students at LM. Additionally, Clear Cambodia has provided the technical support for a deep water well and is in the process of building necessary infrastructure, including; four latrines, a handwashing station, and a biosand filter (BSF) for clean drinking water. The staff training includes how to maintain the infrastructure as well as a training on hygiene education. Finally, all students at Lngoem primary school will receive materials and training on topics including handwashing, menstrual hygiene, consumption of safe water and safe sanitation.
This SWASH intervention will benefit 416 children who attend Lngoem, their families, and teachers. To understand the efficacy of the project, SSI alumni are collecting data on a variety of health indicators, utilizing survey CTO on smartphones. This information will also assist in the development of systematic baseline data for SWASH in the area, allowing for future interventions which are specific to the needs of this ever-evolving community.
I am honored to be part of this ongoing project and want to thank Sustainable Schools International and Clear Cambodia for making this intervention a reality. Likewise, I want to thank the staff and the students at the Lngoem primary school for giving us the opportunity to implement it in their school. It’s exciting to see what the future holds for this resilient and dedicated community, I am sure their future will be full of wonderful achievements and steady progress!
-Adriana Romero, Public Health Graduate Research Assistant and Adviser
"What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it." ~C.S. Lewis
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