A playful, portable sink to boost handwashing hygiene in Cambodia

2015-07-06 13:43

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangkok - A small plastic box decorated with smiling frogs and a bright green logo, Labobo looks like a toy, but it could help prevent thousands of people from getting sick with diarrhoea and other diseases.

The portable plastic sink aims to encourage regular handwashing, in particular after using a toilet and before preparing food, which has been proven to prevent the spread of disease.

Labobo has just launched in Cambodia, which ranks lowest in Southeast Asia in terms of access to sanitation.

"Handwashing is an enormous opportunity to improve health because it's such a cheap and effective solution," said Geoff Revell, regional programme manager at WaterSHED, a charity working on improving water and sanitation in Southeast Asia.

With 38 deaths per 1 000 live births, Cambodia has the second highest under-five mortality rate in the region, after Myanmar, according to World Bank data.

Regular handwashing can help prevent nearly half the world's cases of diarrhoea, which kills nearly 800 000 children every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Labobo - a play on the French word for sink, "lavabo" - sells at $15 per unit and dispenses up to 15 litres of water through a low-flow spout and can be placed at a height easily reachable for children.

It is the brainchild of WaterSHED, one of a growing number of charities that focus on selling appealing sanitation products to consumers, rather than handing out buckets or latrines.

"If you give people a bucket and a piece of soap, more often than not you will find the bucket ends up being used for something else," Revell told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"But if they spend some money on a product they like and actually want to own, it's much more likely that they will keep using it and form a healthy habit of washing their hands regularly."

Labobo was designed with the input of families in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, where WaterSHED has already sold 10 000 units in a year through its social business.

Despite awareness-raising campaigns, regular handwashing is a challenge in Cambodia, where 60% of the rural population still defecate in the open and only 44% are able to wash their hands with soap and water, according to the WHO.

Read more on:    cambodia  |  thailand

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.