Since it began working with the Ministry of Rural Development in 2005, the NGO Teuk Saat 1001 has built 332 water treatment facilities in 18 target provinces. They now supply O-we brand drinking water at a reasonable price to nearly 700,000 people, with an additional 370,000 primary school students given free access to the water.

The NGO, in cooperation with the ministry, plans to establish an additional 68 water treatment stations, which will supply water that meets French international standards to many more people who are in need, said the Ministry of Environment.

The environment ministry led journalists on a recent tour of a water treatment plant in Siem Reap province’s Trapeang Thom commune, in Prasat Bakong district.

Tit Lisor, water entrepreneur training and recruitment officer for the NGO, explained that the Ngo has signed a memorandum of understanding with the development ministry. The organisation works with provincial rural development departments and local authorities to select sites for water production, usually near primary schools.

He said that once a site is identified, the NGO must examine the condition of the land and possible water sources.

We use two sources for O-we brand drinking water. First, above ground sources like ponds and rivers, and second, groundwater from wells. Before purifying the water, we have to be certain that the source can be used to produce pure water,” he added.

The organisation selects local entrepreneurs to produce the water, while monitoring quality to ensure that the water produced meets international standards.

Soy Sareth, 36, was selected as a water-producing entrepreneur in Trapeang Thom commune two years ago. 

She told the Post on June 17 that she produces around 100 20-litre containers of water per day for people in 10 villages in the commune. Sometimes, her customers order 100 containers a day. Each container is sold for 1,800 riel including delivery, or just 1,500 riel when a customer collects it from her.

“The water is free for students. I also deliver to the school for free. Compared with normal water, it is very different. This water tastes better and does not carry diseases like pond water,” she said. 

The work of the NGO supports the government's policy and vision as well as the UN sustainable development goals, which stipulated that by 2023, 90 per cent of rural people would have access to clean water, and 100 per cent by 2025.

The rural development ministry is implementing a national action plan on water supply and sanitation throughout the Kingdom. The ministry has set a target of 100 percent nationwide water and sanitation coverage by 2030. At present, coverage is at 86.6 per cent.

In late May, ​Teuk Saat 1001 announced the expansion of its “Water in Schools” programme to 17 rural communities in Siem Reap and Battambang provinces by the end of the year.

“Access to safe drinking water is essential for the health and well-being of our children. This programme aims to ensure that every student can focus on their education,” it stated in a social media post. 

Teuk Saat 1001 called for support for its efforts to improve the lives and education of children in rural communities, saying “Together, we can make a difference”.