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Rural sanitation bond named finalist in international awards

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The Cambodia Rural Sanitation Development Impact Bond (DIB) has been named a finalist in the Impact Investing category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards. SUPPLIED

Rural sanitation bond named finalist in international awards

The Cambodia Rural Sanitation Development Impact Bond (DIB) was selected as a finalist in the Impact Investing category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, US Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a May 10 press release.

According to USAID, World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programmes and centres on “social good”, aiming to promote finished products and “brave concepts” that improve the world around us.

Announced on May 4, the awards “honour businesses, policies, projects and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation when it comes to solving health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality”, the agency said.

“The DIB aims to develop market-based solutions that will contribute to universal sanitation coverage in six provinces – Svay Rieng, Kandal, Prey Veng, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and Oddar Meanchey – reducing stunting among children and preventing the spread of disease and contamination of drinking water,” it said, adding that it partners with the Stone Family Foundation and NGO iDE in the bond.

“To date, the DIB has helped over 500 villages eliminate open defecation, leading to healthier households and cleaner communities for over 88,000 people.

“The Stone Family Foundation, acting as the impact investor, is providing the upfront investment required to achieve sanitation outcomes, which will be delivered through the third phase of iDE’s Sanitation Marketing Scale Up programme,” it added.

Stone Family Foundation director for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Paul Gunstensen said: “As the investor, our hope at the Stone Family Foundation is that the DIB serves as an example of how long-term finance and support can address the critical challenge of universal sanitation, and demonstrates it is possible to use impact investment to enable both high social impact and financial return.”

USAID added that it will provide up to nearly $10 million in funding to the Stone Family Foundation, “but only where results – open defecation-free villages – are achieved”.

USAID Cambodia mission director Veena Reddy said: “This new results-based financing approach to improving rural sanitation demonstrates our commitment to supporting Cambodia’s health and nutrition improvement targets.

“This DIB is USAID’s third and an example of our leadership in collaboration, co-design and innovative financing to achieve sustainable development results,” she said.

According to USAID: “The DIB model allows iDE and the Stone Family Foundation to learn, adjust and innovate in order to achieve the goal of 1,600 open defecation free villages while reaching the most vulnerable households.”

Lizz Ellis, CEO of iDE, noted that DIB’s outcomes focus offers flexibility for the NGO to adapt its programme to the changing context of the intricate and perpetually evolving market ecosystem.

“This flexibility is important in ensuring that all people benefit from the drive towards total sanitation,” she said.

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