Mrs. Phan never thought her family could afford a latrine

iDE | Molly Goodwin-Kucinsky from iDE, on 05/08/2016 07:50 AEST

Mrs. Huon Phan never thought her family could afford a latrine. Living with her ten children, two grandchildren and husband, her home is crowded – and their options for relieving themselves were limited.  

Like many of her neighbors in Chrey Muoy Roy village of Kandal province, she and her family practiced open defecation near their home. Sometimes, they had to go further into the jungle -- worrying about venomous insects and snakes.

“There are many people in my family shitting in the same place right behind the house,” she said. “Our land is small, so sometimes we walked over shit. It was difficult at night and in the rain, too.”

The smell made her feel shameful when fellow villagers visited the family, and her family’s health suffered. “It gave us headaches and the kids got sick because they played with it,” she said.

The family does not have much money. Every day, Mrs. Phan gets up early to prepare and sell Khmer noodle and porridge. Her husband is a brick maker for a nearby factory. They also raise and sell calves.

“It is hard because I have 10 children,” she said “I sold all my rice farming land and cows for their marriage, disease treatment and food.”

However, last month Mrs. Phan was introduced to one of iDE’s sanitation teachers. For families like Mrs. Phan, iDE is piloting a smart subsidy project in Kandal province -- offering targeted subsidies to reduce the purchase price for customers who are government identified as ID Poor I or ID Poor II. Customers pay the difference between the full purchase price (225,000 Riels) and the subsidy amount to the local latrine business owner, who then delivers a latrine set which includes the latrine substructure, and digging and installation services.

Last month, Mrs. Phan’s family agreed to buy a latrine through the smart subsidy program.

“I was surprised when my daughter contributed 50,000 Riels to buy a toilet. I never heard that any of my children planned to buy it before because it was not affordable,” she said. “My husband started to build the shelter three days later. Now my family and neighbors use it every day.”

She is excited to she the change in her family’s health and no longer feels shame when relieving herself. “I am happy seeing my husband and kids use it. I hope everyone in this village has a latrine.”