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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The impact of clean water in Cambodia

Last year, volunteer photographer Mackenzie Sheppard documented the experience of one family in rural Cambodia who received a clean water well from HOPE International Development Agency.

His series on the Toek family (shown above) is particularly interesting because it graphically illustrates the impact that clean water can have on household food supply.

In thinking about clean water (and its absence) we often consider freedom from disease to be the greatest benefit - but the health impacts of water are much more significant than even that.

Take a look at the Toek family's harvest in both rainy and dry seasons prior to receiving a well (shown below - rainy season and dry season respectively).

Then compare that to their post-well harvest (shown below).

Five years ago, without a nearby source of protected water, they raised four baskets of vegetables a month.

Now, with a well, they have forty baskets left after feeding themselves. This is produce that they can sell. With the proceeds from their garden, they are able to afford clothing, schooling, medicine, and a whole host of other services that were unavailable to them as chronically poor people.

It's an interesting depiction of the impact that clean water can have on a family-many thanks to Mackenzie for the use of these images.

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