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Mad Monkey HostelsClean Water Project

Mad Monkey HostelsClean Water Project

Mad Monkey HostelsClean Water Project


The number of families that can be supported by one well


The average life expectancy, at birth, in Cambodia (lower in rural areas)



The percentage of children in Cambodia that are underweight at age 5


The average distance a family must walk, each way, to collect clean water in rural Cambodia


The number of hours each child loses each week collecting water, instead of studying or playing


The expected life expectancy of a water well



The percentage of deaths of children under 5 in Cambodia that are caused by unclean water



The percentage of rural Cambodians living without access to clean drinking water

Why Is Clean Water Important?

As humans we need water to live, and we specifically need clean water to drink and cook with. Too many people around the world do not, however, have access to clean water sources to feed and bathe themselves and their families. This sad reality hits close to home for the Mad Monkey team in Cambodia, where we’ve personally witnessed the lack of water and sanitation in rural areas not far from our hostels. Figures estimate that today 50%-60% of rural Cambodians do not have access to clean drinking water, and 20% of deaths of children under 5 in Cambodia are due to waterborne illnesses. Unclean water is the country’s largest killer of children under 5.

The negative impacts of unclean water are many and far-reaching. Unclean water can carry diseases that are devastating in themselves, especially for children. The social and economic impacts of the struggle for clean water are also considerable. If the nearest water source is far away, children must walk as far as necessary (sometimes many kilometres) each day to collect the water their family needs to survive. This task is a considerable burden, and it also prevents those children from attending school. There’s also no guarantee that said water source is safe and sanitary. If a member of the family falls ill as a result of something in the water, the family is in many cases forced to go into debt to cover the costs of medical care. This leaves no money in the family to pay for their children’s schooling, and the children often have to start working (often underage) in order to help pay off the debt. Even if the medical treatment is successful, the cycle is likely to be repeated soon enough as long as the family is relying on the same unclean water source.

It’s amazing what a massive impact something as simple as water can have on a community. The lack of clean drinking water is one of the root causes of the cycle of poverty in Cambodia. By funding clean water systems, you can help break that cycle.
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About Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable Children

Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable ChildrenCBAVC is a Cambodian non-governmental, non-profit organization established by a group of Cambodian Buddhist Monks from Wat Polangka, Siem Reap in 2012. The group’s aim is to improve access to education and health services for the most vulnerable children, women, and disabled people in society. It’s possible to quickly donate to CBAVC to fund a water well by transferring funds to their bank account. 
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About the Trailblazer Foundation

Mad Monkey works with Trailblazer Foundation to build water wells in rural areas around Siem Reap, Cambodia. We have chosen Trailblazer Foundation as our primary partner in our Clean Water Project because it is a thorough, accountable, and sustainable organization. Our partnership was forged over several meetings and discussions, in which it became clear that we share the same values and the same passion for helping Cambodians to access clean water and all the benefits it brings.

Trailblazer Foundation is an NGO dedicated to sustainable community development in rural Cambodia. They run projects in the areas of health, food security, education, and economic development. The organization began in 2004 with the intention of building a school, but it soon became clear to the founders that clean water was, in fact, the root cause of most of the community problems they encountered. They pivoted to a focus on clean water projects as the basis for all other initiatives. The projects that Trailblazer Foundation funds are implemented by the entirely Cambodian Trailblazer Angkor team. This ensures that projects are undertaken with a sensitivity to the local culture and that all economic stimulus is kept within Cambodia

Trailblazer Foundation chooses their projects based on an annual local government assessment of village needs. They are one of only a handful of NGOs invited to this annual meeting. Through this bottom-up process, the villages themselves identify their needs. Their requests, in turn, direct Trailblazer Foundation’s annual activities. When you donate a water well through Trailblazer, you can be confident that it is being built in an area where it is greatly needed and will be valued and used to full advantage by the local families.

To learn more about our trusted partner, please visit the Trailblazer Foundation website.
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Water Wells vs. Water Filters

Our Mad Monkey Clean Water Project is focused on raising funds for water wells. These wells, however, are just one part of the solution when it comes to getting safe and clean water to Cambodian villages.

A water well is drilled deep in the ground in close proximity to a village home, so that nearby families can draw up fresh ground water with a hand pump. The well water is cleaner than water from the still-water reserves that dot the countryside, making it safe for use in agriculture and bathing, but it is not suitable for drinking and cooking until it has been further treated. The water from the wells is still very high in iron and can still on occasion contain some bacteria.

A water filter is a point-of-use filtration device that removes harmful materials from ground water. Once water has passed through the filter, it is safe to consume. Bio-sand water filters reduce viral contamination by 90%, bacterial contamination by 90-99% and protozoan parasites by more 99% – alleviating the human suffering of sickness, death, lost employment, and the hardship of losing loved ones as a result of drinking contaminated water.

Bio-sand water filters eliminate the need to boil water – after filtration the water is immediately safe to drink. Filters are easy to use and save villagers’ time, money, and firewood/gas. They ultimately improve their overall health and environment. To further ensure success of the project, bio-sand water filter recipients receive training in their indigenous language, Khmer, regarding the proper use, maintenance and storage techniques, along with basic hygiene and sanitation practices.

Ideally, water wells and water filters are installed together to provide a family with a full range of safe water for daily use.Trailblazer Foundation also installs water filters in the communities where they are active. Mad Monkey raises funds for water filters through weekly events at our Siem Reap hostel. A single water filter costs $80. You can contribute to a water filter by attending the Mad Monkey Siem Reap pub crawl, or you can donate one yourself on the ‘Donate’ section of the Trailblazer Website.
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Other Ways to Help

We understand that while most will be moved by the need for clean water in rural Cambodia, not everyone can or will choose to contribute through Mad Monkey’s Clean Water Project. While we have set ourselves the goal of facilitating funding for 500 water wells as motivation, what we want most is for every family and individual in Cambodia to have access to clean water – by any means.

There are many great organizations active in Cambodia and the Siem Reap area dedicated to implementing clean water sources. Each has a unique approach and offers different avenues for getting involved. We would encourage you to look into each of the organizations below, and choose a contribution that is right for you.

  • Water Aid Cambodia – this global organization develops innovative programs to build up a cadre of professionals in Cambodia with the skills needed to reach universal access to sanitation and safe water in this generation. They’ve created some awesome public awareness campaigns in partnership with Epic Arts, another one of our community partners.
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