The flood of 2011 destroyed many areas of Battambang province . Three communes we work in, Roka, Anlongvil and Kompong Preah, were particularly hard hit. Roads were crippled by high waters and thick, slippery mud. Rice crops were ruined. Chickens drowned. Homes were mired in dirty water. Thousands of families lost their homes and their livelihoods. Some chose to flee illegally to Thailand in the hopes of a better existence.
Map of Cambodia
PKO knew the region and empathized with the challenges so many families faced. We came together with three other NGOS (CAN WE NAME THEM????) and designed a program to address the immediate problems of the flood affected families and what we could do to prevent this disaster in the future. Our efforts focused on three communes in the Sangke district of Battambang and in Pursat and Banteay Meanchey provinces, where the other NGOs had worked. In January 2012 we created the Post Flood Project to help almost 3,000 families. Our goal was to keep families in their communities rather than having them move to Thailand. This is how we made it happen:
Livelihoods: PKO distributed rice seeds (short term and longer term rice seeds) to the targeted families. Each family received 200kg of rice seeds as well as training on rice plantation in their own rice field. We worked with the government agricultural office to ensure families received the seeds as quickly as possible and to assure families the seeds were a gift and not a loan.
Sanitation & Hygiene: Our team used the internationally recognized PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation) and CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) materials to instill healthy practices such as hand-washing, clean food preparation, using individual serving spoons, separating toilet areas from living space and separating animals from humans. We included other health related information about healthy eating, salt reduction, the effects of alcohol and smoking and contraception. Our training also included the construction of new toilets. Each training involved 50 household heads from each village over a five day period spread over two to four weeks.
Infrastructure: To help prevent a flood in the future two ponds sized 40m x 50m x 4m were dug and 2 safe grounds sized 40m x 50m x 4m each were set up and prepared. Additionally, 10 primary schools that were damaged by the flood were repaired.