East Meets West Helps Dreams Come True for Over 4,000 Students

"Here, drinking water straight from the tap is a utopian dream, just like 'Beam me up, Scotty' is to many Americans."
- Christine Krieg, Photographer / Project observer

Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia, where the majority of the population lives without electricity, basic sanitation, and running water.

Preah Bat Soramarith High School, a 3.5 hour ride north of the capital city Phnom Penh, is connected to the electricity grid. However, government orders mandate a daily power outage every afternoon for the entire town, as the country’s demand is higher than the supply. What is not in short supply, however, is the sun...

Working from the Ground Up

East Meets West conceived of building the first solar powered water sanitation tower in Cambodia. The electricity generated from the solar panels would power both the pump for the water source (ground water from a 28 meter deep well) as well as the sanitation system.

Three girls from the secondary school draw fresh water from the tap thanks to a pump powered by the sun, a system integrated into their school curriculum.

The first step in the implementation phase was building support within the community and local government in order to ensure successful installment and sustainability of the water and sanitation project. East Meets West gained full support from both the Provincial Education Department and Soramarith Secondary School. The school director committed to maintaining the water and sanitation system in the school after completion by East Meets West.

Making it Happen

The solar panels were installed first. The tower was built with a capacity of 5,000 liters per day and serves the 4,000 students and 175 teachers at this school at a cost of $12,000. To ensure adoption and usage, pipes were laid at strategic spots on the school campus to deliver the clean water straight to the tap. To top it all off, the water is provided free to the students and teachers. For the community, this is indeed a dream come true. This project represents the first time since the civil war the community has had a sufficient and stable source of safe drinking water. This project represents the first time since the civil war the community has had a sufficient and stable source of safe drinking water. It was Blue Planet Network’s and East Meets West’s first project partnership in Cambodia.

"This project represents the first time since the civil war the community has had a sufficient and stable source of safe drinking water."

Sustaining Impact

Students spread the word about the importance of safe drinking water practices and basic hygiene (with Vice Director Oeur Meng Chong).

With the support of the school Director, the Water School Committee trained the staff in the operation and maintenance of the water filtration unit in the school on a day-by-day basis. Teachers and students help to maintain the water system in the school – a very important way to control the quality of the water supply in the school.

Blue Planet Network: Together, We Can Solve the Water Crisis

BPN’s online platform helped East Meets West’s innovative plan address potential risks thanks to expert peers who reviewed the project. During and after implementation, the platform also gave the project a place to call home where the success of the project and any needs that arose after implementation could be tracked and addressed in the open. Working together. That’s what BPN is all about.