Climate-Resilient Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Scale-Up Program (CR-WASH-SUP)


Water for Women partners with iDE to deliver CR-WASH-SUP — Climate-Resilient Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Scale-Up Program to reach an estimated 19,906* people living in rural areas of Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, and to strengthen socially inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) markets and systems to ensure sustainability beyond the life of this project.


Despite a relatively lower exposure to climate hazards compared to nearby countries, Cambodia’s low adaptive capacity makes it extremely vulnerable. The health of the population is profoundly affected by climate change, which threatens to exacerbate existing health problems while also undermining water and food supplies, infrastructure, and health and social protection systems. More than 25% of the population lives in environments affected by seasonal floods and high groundwater,[1] which bring increased incidence and risk of water-borne diseases, and more than 61% lives in rural floodplain regions and is primarily reliant on agriculture for food security and income,[2] making this population more climate vulnerable.

Houses by a lake region in Cambodia

Village Ta Daok, Kampong Chhnang, is one of the villages iDE is working with in the Tonle Sap lake region of Cambodia, prone to flooding

Climate-related risks to water, sanitation and hygiene


Climate change increases WASH inequities for low-income households, women and girls, and people with disabilities. According to Cambodia’s national census data 2019, Siem Reap’s population of around one million is 49% female, 51% male, and 4% lives with a disability. Across Cambodia, 90% of the poor reside in rural areas. Other risks include:

Floods and major rainfall events make WASH infrastructure more vulnerable to disruption, destruction or abandonment, and exacerbate unsafe sanitation and hygiene practices in rural communities, where 61% of the population has only basic sanitation coverage.[3]

Drought severely impacts communities that are dependent on agriculture for food security and livelihoods.

Climate shocks disrupt WASH markets, further limiting WASH access to marginalised households living in challenging environments.


“I am not scared or shy to be a working woman anymore. I want to give myself a chance to grow as an entrepreneur and advocate for other women to do the same.”

Sanitation business owner


CR-WASH-SUP is being delivered in rural areas of Siem Reap province to improve the health, gender equality and well-being of communities through sustainable and climate-resilient inclusive WASH.

Building on iDE’s Water for Women WASH-SUP2 and Innovation & Impact projects, completed in 2022, this project aims to deliver impact across four key areas from 2023 - 2024:


1. Sustainable and climate-resilient WASH market 

Nineteen iDE-trained sanitation businesses will deliver improved sanitation facilities including Easy Latrines, the All Seasons Upgrade product for high groundwater and clay environments, Alternating Dual Pit that enables households to safely manage their sanitation, and shelters with handwashing. iDE will also provide inclusive capacity-building support to local sanitation entrepreneurs.

Aligned with the government’s goal to reach Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in 2025, iDE will support local authorities to submit 60 village-level ODF claims and maintain ODF, and increase awareness of climate-resilient WASH.


2. Universal, resilient and equitable sanitation access 

iDE and local businesses will develop and sell climate-resilient sanitation products for direct use by 20,000 people, including 3,660 improved latrines (860 in challenging sanitation environments), 320 shelters with handwashing and menstrual hygiene disposal, including 80 disability-inclusive shelters, and 600 on-site faecal sludge management (FSM) products. Innovative financing mechanisms will ensure access by marginalised households in climate-vulnerable areas.


3. Gender, disability and social inclusion 

iDE will address menstrual health and hygiene challenges, improve gender empowerment and participation of women in WASH in private and public sector roles, expand Do No Harm initiatives, and address harmful gender norms through internal and external training and coaching.


4. Evidence, innovation and practice 

iDE will build on sector knowledge and conduct FSM market research, improve climate-resilient product design as well as contribute to WASH/climate knowledge sharing at a local, national and global level.


Critically, targeting change at the systemic level will ensure sustainability of outcomes beyond the life of the project. By catalysing an inclusive and resilient market, encouraging stakeholders to invest in their own sanitation solutions, and building capacity, more than 670,000 people will benefit from WASH behaviour change activities, development and maintenance of ODF status, and increased adaptive capacity of the local public and private sectors.





A smiling sanitation worker outdoors in Cambodia

A visit to Phong Samoeun and this latrine business owner, who produces interlock bricks at his manufacturing site in Srama village, Prey Pnov commune. View more photo updates from Cambodia

This project is an extension of WASH-SUP-2 which was delivered from 2018 - 2022.

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Adapting targeted sanitation subsidies for climate vulnerable households

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In Siem Reap province, areas along the Tonle Sap Lake are highly affected by flash floods and storms. As the climate changes, the severity and volatility of weather patterns are expected to increase, leading to decreased water quality in the dry season, and heavier, more damaging storms in the rainy season. There is also high risk of drought.


A map of Cambodia with the Siem Reap province highlighted

WASH-related climate challenges for this project


  • 55 villages are situated in challenging environments for appropriate and affordable climate-resilient WASH provision, as identified by local public sector.
  • There is lack of knowledge about and access to safe FSM.
  • There is limited climate adaptive capacity from local WASH stakeholders (government, communities, and private sector) in addressing sanitation in challenging environments and safely managed sanitation.
  • There is limited availability of affordable, climate-resilient WASH solutions that are tested and scalable in rural Cambodia.


"I'm so happy to have a toilet to use at home because at my school we have one. I used to ask my parents to build one all the time. Now I’m not scared to defecate at nighttime and don’t feel embarrassed in my neighbourhood.”

Child of a family who bought a toilet from an iDE sales agent 


Over the course of a six-month workshop conducted by SHE Investments and iDE, Sovan deepened her business skills and was coached to bring her family's business visions to life. Pictured here, Ms Romdol Sovan and her husband Mr Chhin Bunsieng stand proudly in front of their family-owned sanitation business and hardware store.




CR-WASH-SUP aims to reach the following beneficiaries by the end of 2024:

Direct beneficiaries: 19,906*

  • women and girls: 10,254 
  • men and boys: 9,653 
  • people with a disability: 1,171 
  • 12% within lowest wealth quintile

Indirect beneficiaries: 673,130*



Australia's development assistance program is investing in Cambodia from 2018 to 2024 to achieve these outcomes. Water for Women is proud to be partnering with iDE.

*Project targets are based on partner Civil Society Organisations (CSO) baseline studies. Project targets are updated periodically in response to changes in context as appropriate. To see our latest progress towards targets, see our progress.


Photos by iDE / Tyler Kozole

[1] Water for Women, Making the Critical Connections between Climate Resilience and Inclusive WASH: Lessons from water for Women, Water for Women and the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Melbourne, 2021.  

[2] USAID, Cambodia: Agriculture and Food Security, United States of America International Development (webpage), n.d., accessed May 2023.

[3] World Health Organization and UNICEF, JMP Household Sanitation data: Cambodia, Rural and urban sanitation service levels in 2020, WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (website), accessed June 2023.


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