WaterSHED readies to exit Kingdom after developing local market

Property Invest in Cambodia-WaterSHED – a non-governmental organisation (NGO) focusing on developing a rural market for water, sanitisation and hygiene products and services – announced on Friday that it is leaving Cambodia.

“As a foreign-funded NGO, our plan is to work ourselves out of a job,” Sovattha Neou, executive director for WaterSHED said when it first came to Cambodia.

The NGO has helped generate over $12 million in revenue for rural businesses from the sale of low-cost, sustainable toilets over its 12-year history in the Kingdom.

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Only about 20 percent of rural Cambodians had access to a toilet in 2009, that number has grown to over 74 percent today, in part, due to WaterSHED’s help in facilitating the sale of over 250,000 toilets.

“My time at WaterSHED has really shown me that a local NGO can have the capacity to change a system long term and that the government does see real value in leadership development,” Neou added.

WaterSHED first rose to public consciousness after it was recognised at the inaugural Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenge. It also won USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures competition twice.

The NGO will host an exit ceremony virtually on Monday to commemorate its exit as rural small businesses and local government officials take the reins.