World Vision helps improve water and sanitation in Lao

“This stubborn cycle of disease and malnutrition plagues many communities and countries across the globe, and will not be broken without improved access to proper water, sanitation and hygiene.”*

To improve sanitation and access to clean water and reduce the spread of communicable and seasonal diseases, World Vision works closely with the Lao government in 24 districts to help communities. In 2014, more than 1,500 families installed toilets, 197 families received water filters, 15 boreholes were built in four villages, and 46 water-gravity systems was built to bring clean water to 15 villages. It is estimated that more than 10,000 families benefited from the program.

“For the communities that do not have full access to clean water and sanitation, our focus is to mobilize community members to be actively involved in the design and installation of new facilities,” says Amelia Merrick, National Director of World Vision Lao PDR.

World Vision Lao involves women in these decisions, ensuring that the location of new water infrastructure helps reduce the burden on women who are typically responsible for fetching water.

“The most efficient and sustainable programs are when communities play an active part in planning, implementing and managing their own water and sanitation,” says Ms. Merrick. “For example, villages now have trained and functioning water committees who provide continuous maintenance of new water supplies and educate their community of the importance of safe drinking water and adapting hygienic practices.”

World Vision also conducts education campaigns that help communities understand the link between good sanitation and health. This includes teaching people about the importance of washing their hands with soap, cooking with clean water, and using a latrine.

* Garcia, Y., 2013. Stunting: It’s not just about food. WASHAdvocates