History of the Project
Water for Cambodia (WFC) originated in 2002 under the direction of Middletown Rhode Island Rotarian Gunther Hausen. On a visit to Angkor Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap Gunther and his wife Nicole learned of the hundreds of children arriving at the hospital with preventable waterborne diseases due to the lack of clean drinking water. In response to the hospital's urgent request for help, Gunther began the Water for Cambodia project. In addition to providing biosand filters, he understood that teaching literacy was important for the women care givers to achieve improved health and economic conditions for their families.
In February 2006 WFC was officially born with the hiring of the first full-time staff members in Cambodia. By the end of that year a pilot was completed with the installation of 50 biosand filters and 2 literacy classes totalling 50 students. During 2007 and early 2008 the Siem Reap Water Quality Laboratory was established. With the addition of a field test technician and filter installation specialist and funding from Rotary clubs from Edinburgh, Scotland and Lyon, France filter production was increased. By mid 2008 nearly 1100 biosand filters had been built and installed.
In June of 2008 The Rotary Foundation awarded WFC a 3 year, $300,000 3H (health, hunger and humanity) grant allowing the project to increase production of filters to about 2000 per year and add more literacy classes. Since receiving the 3H grant WFC has been able to attract additional Rotary grants and other donor funding developing into the most successful program in Northern Cambodia. Over 20,000 biosand filters have been installed across seven provinces bring clean drinking water and measurably increasing the daily health of thousands of children. Nearly 3,000 students are now literate.