Australia Awards Cambodia
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Senior Water Resources Management Specialist, World Bank Group

Course: Master of Integrated Water Management

University: University of Queensland

Graduation: 2013

Virak Chan is a Senior Water Resource Management Specialist at the World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice based in Cambodia. He has been working on several water projects in Southeast Asia countries including Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. He has over 10 years of experiences in water supply and sanitation and water resources management in the Mekong region. He is currently a Team Leader of two projects – the Mekong Integrated Water Resource Management and the Cambodia Water Security Improvement Projects.

In the last 15 years, Virak’s areas of expertise are water supply, sanitation, and hygiene, water security, climate change, flood management and river basin management. He has involved in several cutting edges throughout his career including research and development, capacity development, private sector development, livelihood enhancement and policy development.

Virak is also a founder of Center for Sustainable Water (CSW), a non-profit organization, building capacity of new generation to become Cambodian water leaders contributing to sustainable water management, pioneering innovative solutions, and addressing uncertainties in water management in Cambodia. Virak was the pioneer of the World Water Day event in Cambodia. He has organized the celebration of this International Day since 2015. Virak also founded a water dialogue placeholder known as ‘Water Corner’ where water professionals exchange experiences and water related stories. In addition, he is engaged in different events as guest speakers sharing water stories and issues to different stakeholders. In 2014-2015, Virak was also a Committee Member of Australian Alumni Association of Cambodia (AAA-C) and also an International Water Centre (IWC) Alumni Ambassador for the Mekong countries. Virak has a strong passion to learn and engage with diverse people working in different fields, he has been an active mentor providing advice and guidance to youths and even colleagues on personal and professional development.

Virak has earned three Master’s Degrees in Integrated Water Management (IWRM) at University of Queensland in Australia, in Business Administration (MBA) and in Development Management at Norton University.

What he did during COVID19: ​Although this COVID 19 crisis is forcing everyone apart and limiting us to socialise and get together, we try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus while we are still finding ways to come together—to show our appreciation for those helping our communities, to keep in touch with families wherever they may be, and to help the poorest and most vulnerable.

Working from home for almost two months, Virak Chan, Water Resources Management Specialist at the World Bank and Australian Award Scholarship Alumni who graduated in the field of water resources management from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, shared experience of his personal and organisational activities to respond to coronavirus.

Supporting the Government of Cambodia to help communities in Improving handwashing behavior, food hygiene, and safe water practices. Newly developed Sanitation and Hygiene Behavior Change Campaign ( produced materials for handwashing and hygiene promotional materials and portable handwashing stations with soap. Proven behavior change techniques can help increase the frequency and improve the practice of critical hygiene behaviors to raise awareness on protection of the coronavirus by promoting handwashing with soaps among children. With the BCC campaign, Virak has joint forces with the Ministry of Rural Development and other development agencies to spread information and raise awareness since early spread of the virus to communities.

Join HacketonCOVID Crisis with IMPACT HUB as a mentor. Virak contributed his time to join 48-hour turnaround HacketonCOVID Crisis hosted by IMPACT HUB as a mentor. He mentored two teams to explore online education program for toddlers called KeeDu and another emerging solution known as Warrior 100+30 prototyping low-cost and Do It Yourself (DIY) water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) products for vulnerable groups who face high risks of COVID19 infection such as the urban poor, street vendors, and remote communities.

Stay active and keep sharing and learning. Despite working from home, Virak made it possible to participate in several webinars and virtual knowledge sharing events to explore emerging ideas or innovations to stop the spread of COVID19. He also took part in sharing his personal and organisational experiences with different partners, research fellows, and youths on how they are responding to the pandemic. ​ “At a time when movement is so restricted, we must focus on whatever we can do to support people in need and be active in joining forces to protect our people and communities at these extraordinary times”, said Virak. Recently, Virak initiated and will launch a new WaterBinar (online platform) to run a series of water related topics to share and discuss about research findings, solutions to stop the spread of COVID19, and collective insights to respond to post COVID19 recovery.

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