Purpose of Research & Development
Apart from conducting Health Screenings and Health Education, Project Sothea also constantly seeks to ensure sustainability in our impact on the community.
Since 2012, we have launched several sub-projects with the aim of bettering living conditions. An essential component of our development plans is self-sustainability, where we seek to cultivate independence and empower our beneficiaries to be able to renew their own supplies of these necessities. In recent years, we have begun looking into partnering with local organisations, such as non-governmental organisations, to better reintegrate villagers into the local health system and ensuring that the villagers receive long-term care for chronic diseases. We are also exploring means in which we can implement self-sufficient health education programmes within the villages and village schools.
Since 2016, we have increased our efforts in measuring the health and disease trends in the villages, including mapping the villages to analyse geographical variations in healthcare access, and gathering biometrics of the villagers health-related needs.
Past and Current Initiatives
Water and Sanitation Project (from 2012)
Clean water has a strong correlation with standard of living. In 2012, we started a pilot project with Hyflux’s Free Flow 60 water filter, with the hope of reducing the incidence of diarrhoea and stomachaches. In 2013, we resorted to Super Tunsai Ceramic Water Purifier (CWP), a different water filter due to feedback from the villagers. We gave out 365 individual CWPs to each household in Kamping Puoy.
Villagers will set aside USD$1 a month and would have saved enough to purchase a filter of their own by 2015, when the original water filter reaches its usage limit. We also set up two major water tanks in the orphanage and a temple in the village, which we will be maintaining over the coming years. In 2014, CWPs were also distributed to the villagers in Sra Kaew, with the same savings plan set in motion.
“If you want to improve the general health of a rural community, give them easily accessible clean water.”
- Dr Tan Lai Yong, inspiring doctor who runs a village doctor training program in rural Yunnan
2012 marked the start of our pilot project where we worked with the World Toilet Organisation – Sanishop and introduced Sanishop toilets to 10 households in Kamping Puay. Sanishop is a form of social enterprise, which will provide work opportunities (by the selling of toilets) and sanitation to our beneficiaries (through proper disposal of waste). Based on the efficacy of the toilet project we might consider building communal toilets for the benefit of the larger community in future.
As of today, Project Sothea has installed two communal water tanks to provide our beneficiaries with an alternative water source to well water or collecting water from rivers or ponds. One of the water filters has been installed at Peaceful Children’s Home II, and the other was installed in a central location within the village of Kamping Puoy.
Lightbulb Project (from 2014)
Lighting is an essential component of our daily lives, and it is no different for the rural villagers. Traditionally, our beneficiaries have resorted to the use of kerosene lamps to light their quarters in the night, and this has posed as a very real hazard in their homes. In light of this, Project Sothea has introduced the use of solar lamps to the village so that the villagers can have a safe source of light especially at night. The self-sustainability of this project will be similar to that of the water filter project described above.
Future Proposed Ideas
We aim to filter and analyse the data accumulated in the previous 3 years (since 2014). This is to sieve out the trends in the characteristics of our project, for example, the demographic of the villages we screen, the types of prevalent ailments and level of success of our efforts. In the following trips to come, Research is responsible for analysing and continuously updating such data and information of the villagers. This would allow us to measure the effectiveness of our project and chart the progress of our project.
The establishment of local partnerships forms the groundwork for the sustainability of our project. We will be focusing on several fields and partners, namely village schools, local NGOs, Cambodian universities and local medical partners. As mentioned previously, some of our existing partners include the Khmer Foundation for Justice, Peace and Development; the International University (IU) Phnom Penh and IU Battambang; and Handa Medical Centre. In the next few years, we will be exploring new partnerships and furthering existing ones.