Villagers in Cao Bang traditionally raise and keep animals under the floor of their houses and have no toilet in or close to their houses. Human and animal waste is therefore discharged directly into the environment causing major health risks such as diarrhoea, malnutrition, skin diseases, respiratory and gynaecological diseases. This is of particular concern for children.

There is also poor access to safe water due to reliance on natural wells that only provide water during the rainy season and river and stream water that is often contaminated. As well, existing water and sanitation facilities in schools are inadequate. Children often have no choice but to drink unsafe water at school, and will go to the toilet in the fields rather than using the school’s toilets because of their poor condition.

ChildFund is working with communities to improve these conditions, with goals being an increase in access to clean water, and ensuring homes and schools have laterines.