Over 300 families in four provinces – Siem Reap, Takeo, Kampot and Kep – have received free access to clean water through the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme of a local conglomerate.
With more than 10 subsidiaries operating in Cambodia covering key sectors and providing employment to more than 2,500 people, Soma Group has contributed to social responsibility by setting up a committee to carry out social works called the Soma Initiative, or CSR Programme.
The initiative covers three key areas that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – education, environment and health.
Choeng Touch, secretary-general and chairman of the Secretariat of the Soma Initiative Committee, told The Post on June 22 that in August 2020, it received nearly $30,000 from generous people to help pay for water connection services for more than 300 families in Cambodia’s provinces.
“The Soma initiative has provided clean water to 325 families, including 100 in Takeo, 125 in Siem Reap, 50 in Kampot and 50 in Kep province. It was after negotiating with water treatment enterprises in the local areas where these people live,” he said.
Touch said that in addition to connecting families to clean water by hooking them up to utility networks, the Soma initiative also provided clean water to rural people who did not have access to it by providing three pumping wells to nearly 60 families in Nang Khylek commune’s Chi Miet village, Koh Nhek district’s Nong Ta Peam village and Nong Buor village of Mondulkiri province.
“After this clean water project, we are studying the creation of a community in Siem Reap with a small industrial enterprise for the community. We help them establish a traditional business making prahok [fish paste] in their community and do business in their community without migration to reduce poverty,” he said.
Nuon Sareth, 64, resident of Angkorl commune’s Ampeng village of Kep province’s Damnak Changaur district, said the clean water network reached her village a long time ago but due to the lack of ability to pay for water her family continued to buy it for more than 25,000 riel per week, and sometimes had to carry water from a nearby source.
“When the clean water was connected to my house, I was very happy. The organisation came to give me water because our spouses are old and we are living with grandchildren and had no money to connect clean water to our house.
“My husband no longer has to tire himself out carrying water from far away and we do not run out of money to buy water,” she said.