PURSAT, Cambodia – Ouen Chomroeun, 54, has been building and selling toilets since she was 17. In 2011, she teamed up with the charity WaterSHED and since then she has marketed and sold hundreds of toilets in Cambodian villages with the help of her two female employees.
Cambodia has the lowest figures for toilet access in the region. UNICEF estimates that 10,000 people die annually due to poor hygiene practices and lack of sanitation.
Although toilet supply chains are often male-dominated, currently around 200 women in Cambodia operate as small-scale toilet entrepreneurs, according to WaterSHED’s figures. They not only sell, market and install toilets, but also talk to their communities about the importance of sanitation and hygiene, changing and saving lives as they gain financial independence.