Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian comedian takes rural sanitation to the Kingdom's TVs

Cambodian comedian takes rural sanitation to the Kingdom's TVs

Cambodian comedian takes rural sanitation to the Kingdom's TVs

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081223_05_2.jpg

TV personality Chab Chean has been chosen as the government's spokesperson in a push to promote sanitation throughout the countryside

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Comedian Chab Chean, shown here in a file photo, will promote rural sanitation.

THE government is hoping a little toilet humour will go a long ways in bringing its pro-sanitation message to the countryside, where millions live without access to running water and the nearest rice field often passes for the bathroom.

Well-known television personality and comedian Chab Chean has been enlisted as the Kingdom's  pointman on hygiene to work with the government on this particular aspect of rural health, officials said last week.

"He is a star who knows a lot about sanitation," Chea Samnang, director of the Department of Rural Health at the Ministry of Rural Development, told the Post.

Only about 16 percent of rural Cambodians have access to toilets, according to the World Bank-sponsored Water and Sanitation Program.

In some parts of the country, that figure can drop below five percent.

Diseases caused by poor sanitation  account for more than 10,000 deaths each year, the program said in a recently-released report.

Old habits

"In the village, old habits die hard, so many Cambodian people prefer not to use toilets.

But Chab Chean has done a good job changing that mindset and getting people interested in proper sanitation," said Rural Development Minister Chea Sophara during a national sanitation workshop last week.

[local comedian chab chean] is a star who knows a lot about sanitation.

"Many people in the countryside come around when they see Chab Chean educating them about the program, which is different from being told by local authorities," he said.

Chea Samnang said that the comedian's previous experience makes him the perfect face of rural development.

"As a local TV comedian and presenter, Chab Chean has been considered an excellent model in encouraging Cambodian people to cooperate with local authorities so that they know how to live in a clean environment and how to use toilets," he said.

"We have many methods of encouraging people in the countryside to help spread knowledge about rural sanitation. We show them through our jokes so that they are interested and happy, and they will never get bored," Chab Chean said. 

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