Thousands of people across three Cambodian villages can now live safer, healthier lives following the deployment of new water purifying technology as part of the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s UAE-driven humanitarian initiative, 20by2020.
After the most recent installation of solar powered light systems in vulnerable communities in Egypt and Jordan, the initiative has progressed with five water fountains, benefiting the 4,400 residents of the Chhnok Trou, Kampong Phrah and Ses Salab villages.
Due to the instalment of the water ultra-filtration solution, organised by the 20by2020 initiative, the village communities, along with the Chhnok Trou school and clinic, have access to clean and safe water for the first time. Not only does this gives residents an option for avoiding many of the waterborne diseases and other health issues stemming from dirty water, it will offer new opportunities for better hygiene, an essential requirement given the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Over time it is intended that this access will improve the outlooks for residents through better hydration and the prevention of illness, which has been statistically proven to have significant, positive effects on the overall health and wellbeing of communities alongside individual growth and development.
20by2020’s support has seen yet another community benefit from life-saving technology. In Cambodia, the solution deployed has been developed by Safe Water Cube, a French company that was a Zayed Sustainability Prize finalist in 2019 under the Water Category. The technology deployment in Cambodia makes surface water drinkable (river, pond) by removing viruses and bacteria that cause diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and hepatitis, from up to 1,000 litres of water per hour with no energy or maintenance required, and no chemicals used.
Commenting on the activation in Cambodia, H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said: “This innovative water purification technology will positively impact the health and wellbeing of many people in rural Cambodia. Through the 20by2020 initiative, we are leveraging the sustainable solutions of Zayed Sustainability Prize winners and finalists to successfully impact countless lives around the world.”
H.E Al Jaber added “By streamlining efforts with the 20by2020 partners to achieve a more sustainable world, we can extend the impact of the inspiring humanitarian and international development vision of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, while reinforcing the country’s role in humanitarian aid and progress towards sustainability.”
Delivering this positive and impactful work across the world is the main objective of 20by2020, a UAE initiative led by the Zayed Sustainability Prize in partnership with Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mubadala Petroleum, Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence and Masdar.
H.E. Mr. Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology and Chairman of the Tonle Sap Authority of the Royal Government of Cambodia stated: “We welcome the 20by2020 initiative whose contribution meets one of the strategic objectives of the Tonle Sap Authority to improve access to safe drinking water in the remote areas around the Tonle Sap Great Lake.”
H.E. Mr. Lim Kean Hor added, “On behalf of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Zayed Sustainability Prize, in addition to the 20by2020 partners for providing these innovative solutions.”
Access to safe drinking water is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations adopted by 193 countries. In Cambodia especially, the provision of clean drinking water remains a major challenge; more than 3 million people lack access to safe water and 6 million lack access to improved sanitation. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that inadequate sanitation, water, and hand washing facilities in the country are a barrier to children attending school and performing well, especially girls.
Similarly, Cambodian health care facilities are often reported as having insufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene amenities, with only 50% reported by the National Institute of Public Health as always having sufficient water for their needs. The latest 20by2020 deployment is the first step in providing a new dawn for the villages of Chhnok Trou, Kampong Phrah and Ses Salab.
As part of the initiative’s first phase, a total of six deployments have been rolled out to date, including energy, health, water, and food-related solutions in Cambodia, Egypt, Jordan, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda. 20by2020 also plans to deploy additional solutions before the end of the year; with the scheduling dependent on individual country-specific conditions in light of the global pandemic. Upcoming technology deployments include water and energy-related projects in Bangladesh, Madagascar, Costa Rica and Indonesia.
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