Joining Forces for Clean Drinking Water
The P&G Purifier of Water purification sachets, developed by Procter & Gamble, is a powdered mixture that removes pathogenic microorganisms and suspended matter and then disinfects it, transforming previously contaminated water. One sachet can quickly turn 10 litres of dirty, potentially deadly water into clean, drinkable water. P&G partnered with World Vision for over a decade as part of the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program to deliver the water sachets in areas of unsafe water or for areas affected by natural disasters around the globe.
In Cambodia, World Vision Cambodia chose to pilot the partnership in two communities whose main water source is the Stung Sen river. These communities were chosen because the river is a more polluted water source compared to others (e.g. wells, boreholes). The program has been running since 2010 with an initial 18-month pilot plan benefiting five villages, three schools and two healthcare centres. Coincidentally, in 2011 Cambodia was hit by one of the most devastating floods in over a decade. World Vision Cambodia helped to distribute more than 1 million sachets to more than 3000 families and more than 5000 affected school children.
The results of the pilot were presented to the Department of Rural Water Supply under the Ministry of Rural Development of Cambodia. The presentation detailed the improvement of the water quality after the sachets were used, the acceptance rate of the people using the sachets, as well as how the sachets benefited the flood victims.
Most households in Cambodia are still drinking from unsafe water sources. Hence, the government developed the Household Water Treatment Technology Guidelines together with other NGOs in the water, sanitation and hygiene space for households to consider adopting one of the various solutions to make drinker water safer (e.g. boiling water, biosand filters, UV filters, etc). The government was so impressed with the results of the pilot that P&G Purifier of Water sachets have been introduced into the latest draft of the Guidelines. This inclusion means that the government is officially endorsing the sachets as one of the commercial products a household can adopt to make their drinking water safer.
In this multi-sector partnership, here’s how everyone wins
NGO: World Vision is able to impact the communities it is serving by providing approximately 17,000 villagers, 4,300 school children and 58,000 healthcare patients an effective solution to clean drinking water (by end 2017). In addition, millions of sachets were distributed to at least 70,000 affected victims during major floods from 2011–2013 to ensure they had clean drinking water during the crisis.
Government: The Government of Cambodia is able to provide a viable solution to purify drinking water especially in rural areas that is easily affordable and acceptable by the locals, hence decreasing the occurrence of water-borne diseases.
Corporate: P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program is now a core, long-term pillar of P&G’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts in Cambodia. Above and beyond this, P&G Purifier of Water sachets have become a viable product line in itself, encouraged by the government of the land for its citizens to adopt. This has created a strong partnership between P&G and the government, and a strong platform from a government relations perspective to enable a positive and viable business context.
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