Containing a crisis: efforts in Cambodia are doing a great job of containing COVID-19

Man wearing mask and holding a poster is raising awareness on COVID-19 inside a dwelling

As each country finds itself at different stages in the pandemic, the COVID-19 situation in Cambodia has improved significantly in the past two months. Nationwide the total number of confirmed cases is 156 (as at July 15, 2020), with the vast majority having been imported from other countries. 


In the past two weeks, 15 new cases were confirmed but all of them were individuals returning from outside Cambodia and were detected at the airport. As the threat of COVID-19 has decreased, restrictions on businesses and daily activities have lightened substantially. 


With support from the Australian Government, through Water for Women, International Development Enterprises (iDE)’s Sanitation Marketing Scale-up Program (SMSU3/WASH-SUP2) is operating nearly at a level of business-as-usual, however, COVID-19-related activities and precautions are still being embedded into all daily activities.


A COVID-19 response is a WASH response


iDE are finding clever ways to leverage their existing sanitation network in COVID-19 response and preparedness. An example of this embedding process can be seen within iDE's household sales presentations and meetings with government officials, all are now conducted with adequate social distancing and begin with a conversation about COVID-19 awareness and prevention. The program intends to continue this format for engagement indefinitely.


Since April, iDE staff have been distributing COVID-19-related informational material, including leaflets, posters, and hand washing promotion, signboards with soap attached in a hanging mesh bag. As of the end of June, across six Cambodian provinces (Kampong Thom, Kandal, Oddar Meanchey, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, and Svay Rieng, the program has managed to:


  • Train all of our 192 field-based staff on COVID-19 prevention, including iDE's policy around following prevention best practices including social distancing, handwashing, mask-wearing and other measures such as
    • how to recognise/avoid disseminating incorrect COVID-19 information online'
    • training of trainers on how to communicate COVID-19 prevention information to our stakeholders at the household, government, and private sector levels


  • Delivered hand washing promotion signboards with soap to 7,073 households and UNICEF-produced information leaflets to 24,267 households

  • Conducted COVID-19 prevention training and facilitated a UNICEF COVID-19 Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice Survey for all 68 of the program’s affiliated latrine business owners

  • Deployed COVID-19 advocacy and prevention training for 163 local government officials at the village and commune level

  • Continued to develop and sell permanent hand washing facilities integrated into latrine shelters

  • Supported the development of a low-cost hand washing device design and sales trial through Water for Women partner Hydrologic, watch more on their COVID-19 response below.


 iDE's Innovation Lab designed this handwashing device and associated behavior change messaging materials as part of a national behavior change campaign called Yey Komru. The Lab's work has been funded largely by the World Bank. iDE's partner, Hydrologic is now selling the handwashing stations, and their Water for Women project has used Yey Komru-branded materials in their COVID-19 response. 


Our partners are well positioned and established across the region to respond to COVID-19, the work iDE is doing in Cambodia is helping the country contain a virus that has wreaked havoc elsewhere. 



Through Partnerships for Recovery, Australia is supporting COVID-19 work across South East Asia to secure our region’s health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times. Through Water for Women, not only are we delivering safe, equitable and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), we are also building, healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. 



Contact Us