Cambodia water, sanitation, and hygiene scale-up program 2.0 (WASH-SUP2) 

Water for Women partners with International Development Enterprises (iDE) to deliver WASH-SUP2 – Cambodia water, sanitation and hygiene scale up program to reach an estimated 944,840 people in six provinces of Cambodia.


Private sector delivery is Cambodia’s primary strategy to reach Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) by 2025.  The Government has a role in sector coordination, while development partners have supported WASH delivery, including through mobilising the private sector.  Further, Cambodia has been undergoing decentralisation reforms whereby planning and budgetary authority for service delivery rests with commune and district governance structures.

Research indicates that the remaining first latrine market in the targeted project areas is made up of:

  • poor households,
  • those in challenging environments (such as high groundwater or flood-prone areas),
  • migrant workers, sharing latrines and
  • people with disabilities.

Evidence suggests that by reducing the cost of standard pit latrines through offering targeted subsidies, uptake can be increased among poor households, while there is strong willingness-to-pay for product innovations, especially disability-inclusive products.

Cambodia has one of the world’s highest rates of disabilities per capita.  In addition, the number of elderly in Cambodia is increasing rapidly and expected to triple within a few decades.  Accessible sanitation provision is especially challenging in rural areas where there are very few affordable options available for purchase. 

In relation to waste management, in rural Cambodia there are no commonly available, affordable, sanitary services for emptying pit latrines when they become full.  Water scarcity, extreme flooding, and deforestation are intensifying and will have a disproportionate impact on the rural poor.

Poor people can, and do, pay for toilets

Building momentum toward open defecation free status in Cambodia


Water for Women partners with International Development Enterprises to deliver WASH-SUP2 – Cambodia water, sanitation and hygiene scale up program to reach communities in six provinces of Cambodia, an estimated 944,840* people.

The six provinces of Cambodia where the project will be implemented are Svay Rieng, Kandal, Prey Veng, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and Oddar Meanchey.

Regional map of Cambodia

By developing connections between latrine suppliers and Provincial Departments of Rural Development (PDRD) and commune and village authorities, the project will ensure that market actors and local government entities coordinate efforts towards the mutual goal of inclusive WASH delivery.

Women are a critical component of the WASH supply chain.  Most latrine suppliers are family-run businesses and 80% involve a female partner.  Women play a managerial or decision-making role in 55% of latrine businesses, including 12% of all enterprises that are run with a woman in an executive role.


"The Water for Woman grant will enable iDE to adapt its Sanitation Marketing intervention to ensure that the most vulnerable population segments gain access to improved sanitation in order to achieve the universal access target set by the Cambodian Government's National Action Plan by 2025. Moreover, the grant will enable iDE to address the SDG imperative of "safely managed" toilets by bringing to scale a market-based Faecal Sludge Management solution adapted to the Cambodian environment."

- Michel Dauguet, Director, iDE Global WASH Cambodia 


WASH-SUP2 takes a gender and socially inclusive approach that is both targeted and mainstreamed. 

  • iDE uses Human-Centred Design to identify the unique barriers and challenges facing each group, recognising that vulnerable populations are not homogeneous.
  • Simultaneously, iDE mainstreams inclusion by using the market to scale solutions that are embedded in the supply, demand, and enabling environment rather than targeting one household, community, or even district at a time.
  • iDE facilitates the sale of improved latrines and other complementary products like toilet shelters and Alternating Dual Pit upgrades primarily through direct sales.
  • As the market matures, iDE will deepen the engagement with local government to focus on identifying and reaching the most vulnerable through a combination of targeted subsidies, product innovations, and supplier-led financing.

WASH-SUP2 mitigates climate change through carbon credit sales from the sale of ceramic water filters, which will offset approximately 360,000 tCO2e during the next four and a half years.  iDE is also launching new products designed to address specific climate change challenges.


This project has four key outcomes: 

Outcome 1: Thriving Market System

  • Sales of water filters (Hydrologic)
  • Sales of latrines (through local latrine business operators) 

Outcome 2: Inclusive Market Access

  • Research and development, demonstrating proof of concept, training/coaching actors to produce and sell WASH solutions, and facilitating targeted subsidies and enterprise insurance to reach the most vulnerable. 

Outcome 3: Women’s Economic Empowerment

  • Continuously identifying and promoting ways to better engage women in sales, and a strong gender focus in recruitment of staff and change agents.
  • Skills-building and compensation structures taking into account women’s need to balance employment with household labour and the roles played in WASH businesses. 

Outcome 4: Innovation and Evidence

  • Combining human centred design with rigorous data to rapidly prototype products, services, and business models that are inclusive, sustainable, and scalable. Partnering with the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney to develop and pilot a multi-dimensional index to measure attributable impacts of WASH on gender equality. 

WASH-SUP2 aims to reach the following targets by 2022;

  • 37,500 Toilets installed (9,375 poor households targeted)
  • 2,800 Shelters with handwashing
  • 185 People with Disabilities (PWD) Households targeted
  • 15,000 alternating dual pit upgrades
  • 150,000 ceramic water filters delivered
  • 100 latrine business owners involved 


Innovation and Impact


In 2021, this project was awarded an Innovation and Impact grant to further strengthen the use of new evidence, innovation and practice in sustainable and inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and, in doing so, contribute to improved learning and practice globally.


Led by iDE, in partnership with Causal Design, this Innovation and Impact project aims to ensure that no one is left behind in accessing safely managed sanitation in the WASH-SUP2 project areas - home to some of Cambodia’s most at-risk communities from climate change - by adapting to contextual, environmental and climate-related challenges.


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 A water and WASH response is a COVID-19 response


In 2020, the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene was underscored as the globe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from Australia's Partnerships for Recovery, our partners pivoted their projects and worked collaboratively to support countries in their COVID-19 responses and to embed COVID-19 preparedness into their WASH projects.

In Cambodia, two Water for Women Fund CSO partners, Thrive Networks / East Meets West and iDE adapted their existing projects to deliver COVID-19 responses to benefit up to 81,940 people.

iDE's immediate response involved the distribution of 15,000 Handwashing Kits (including hand soap sourced through local businesses, providing vital income and opportunities, a soap holder, and UNICEF/USAID information leaflets) directly to households benefiting up to 72,000 people. Other NGOs and government partners have since used suppliers supported by iDE. Over the longer term iDE have been working with local partners including last-mile sales agents, village mobilisers and the Commune Councils for Women and Children (CCWC) to invest further in COVID-19 responses by scaling up their existing latrine subsidies program, allowing poor households direct access to hygienic waste disposal, which is expected to reach an additional 12,000 households.

Australia continues to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities across the Indo-Pacific region to secure our region's health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times.

An unprecedented crisis requires a coordinated response. Through our water resources management and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects, we are not only delivering safe, equitable and sustainable water and WASH, we are also building healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. We're supporting individuals, communities and countries to endure, and recover from, the COVID-19 crisis as well as build resilience to future extreme events and natural disasters. 



water for women logo

iDE logo in red

Photo by iDE / Tyler Kozole

*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.

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