Education in Cambodia
During the rule of the Khmer Rouge, lasting from 1975-1979, education in Cambodia experienced a dramatic setback as schools were destroyed and teachers and educators were executed. In the aftermath of this destructive period, Cambodia attempted to rebuild its education system. But today, only about half of school-age children are enrolled.

Cambodian History

The Khmer Rouge, led by Marxist politician Pol Pot, came into power in 1975, when their army took hold of Cambodia’s capital and overthrew the former government. This time in history became known as “Year Zero,” a term derived from the new calendar set in place during the French Revolution. The regime became known for its repressive actions, paranoid ideology, and most importantly, widespread, systematic cruelty.

With the agenda of pursuing an agrarian ideal, the Khmer Rouge led the Cambodian genocide, expelling foreigners, minorities and anyone who resisted the government. The execution grounds — where over a million victims were killed and buried — were called the “killing fields,” and many who toiled in the farms also died from starvation or being overworked.

Intellectuals were seen as dissidents and often specifically targeted, and schools were frequently closed. Children were viewed as blank slates who could easily be manipulated to adhere to Khmer Rouge ideology. After the Khmer Rouge were driven out of Cambodia, the model of education in Cambodia had to be completely recreated from scratch, and schools very slowly began to reemerge in society.

Non-Profit Organizations in Cambodia

Non-profit organizations have helped to support the growth of Cambodia’s children by offering opportunities for education. The organization Tassel acknowledges that the country is still recovering from the trauma of the Khmer Rouge and faces setbacks such as poverty and the challenge of rebuilding itself socially.

Tassel offers children in rural areas free English language education, giving them the skills to read textbooks and sustain jobs later in life. Tassel operates in accordance with its values of compassion and quality, as well as with its volunteer-based structure. The program strives to lift Cambodia out of a darkened past when teachers were persecuted, in hopes of reconstructing the school system.

Programs such as Aziza’s Place, a non-profit learning and development center, enhance the development of underprivileged children in Phnom Penh. Founded in 2007, the organization holds tutoring sessions to support students who have missed school, helping them to gain footing in public schools. Aziza’s Place also provides English language lessons and computer classes, where children can learn to use Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.

In addition, children have the opportunity to study the arts and participate in sports. Other programs such as Tuk Tuk for Children strive to bring children in rural Cambodia education, sanitation and entertainment. Tuk Tuk recognizes that many youngsters have to work to support their families, a reality that can interfere with their academic and social growth.

The organization hosts Tuk Tuk Theatre, which brings children fun activities and informal education on topics such as geography, yoga and sanitation. The group also created Tuk Tuk Mobile Library, a system that circulates books through six different preschools.

Education in Cambodia

The efforts of non-profits such as Tassel, Aziza’s Place and Tuk Tuk for Children have helped to restore vibrancy to the lives of children and provide them with educational opportunities. Cambodia is a country grappling with a harsh history, brought about by the destructive rule of the Khmer Rouge.

Under this regime, the education system was toppled, intellectuals were executed and schools were wiped out. Since this period, the nation has rebuilt its education system entirely from scratch. Organizations that support education in Cambodia have helped to offer the country a new direction in its children’s growth and, hopefully, a brighter future.

– Shira Laucharoen
Photo: Flickr

Cambodian genocideIn 1975, the Khmer Rouge gained control of the Cambodian government with the intent to transform Cambodia into a communist state. As a result, millions of civilians were evacuated from the cities into labor camps where an estimated 1.7 million died from starvation, torture, abuse and execution.

For four years, the Khmer Rouge under the control of former Prime Minister Pol Pot wreaked havoc in Cambodia, creating one of the most devastating mass killings in global history. While the atrocities today are widely known, there are still many facts about the Cambodian genocide that the general public does not know.

Important Facts About the Cambodian Genocide

  1. Unlike other genocides in which specific ethnic groups are targeted for execution, the Cambodian genocide had no exceptions and would single out doctors, teachers, minorities, people with an education, children and even babies.
  2. Pol Pot wanted the nation to revert to a self-sufficient way of living where money had no influence in society. This led to the forced evacuation of cities into the rural communities for a “fresh start.”
  3. Among the near two million dead were an estimated 100,000 Cham Muslims and 20,000 Vietnamese.
  4. While some facts about the Cambodian genocide gained international recognition, it lacked an international investigation due to the United States’ recent loss in the Vietnam War and the hesitance to become involved in the region again.
  5. In the years following the calamity, Cambodia began opening up to the international community again with survivors sharing their stories and recollections. With horrific facts about the Cambodian genocide coming to light, Hollywood created the movie “The Killing Fields” based off of victims’ firsthand experiences. This film brought worldwide attention to what was, just a few years earlier, internationally neglected.
  6. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, otherwise known as the ECCC, was established in 1997 with the assistance of the United Nations. The purpose of the tribunal was to try the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge for the mass crimes committed during the genocide.
  7. Pol Pot faced a show trial in 1997 where he was sentenced to house arrest. He died just less than a year later, never facing a real trial for his crimes and leaving millions of affected people without the chance to bring him to justice.
  8. Victims were allowed to actively participate in the trial proceedings as complainants and civil parties, giving them the satisfaction of justice being enforced. The amount of victims present during each case varied from 94 to 4,128.
  9. Throughout the trials, three offenders were convicted and four were charged for allegations pertaining to crimes against humanity, homicide, violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code, breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and genocide.
  10. The closing statements for the final case lasted nine days in June 2017 and the final judgment is expected to be presented in 2018.

The Cambodian genocide itself may have only lasted four years but the effects from it will continue to last for years, decades and even centuries. The Cambodian people will continue to rebuild their nation and their own lives, working toward a better, more peaceful future.

– Samantha Harward
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Cambodia
The Cambodian government sees education as a key to achieving its long-term vision for the country. It is focused on political stability, long-term economic growth, sustainable development, improved living standards and reduced poverty. It has identified girls’ education in Cambodia in particular as an important step in reaching these goals.

Gender Disparities Still an Obstacle in Cambodia

Although Cambodia has made strides in offering equal access to education for boys and girls, the country still suffers from a substantial gender disparity. Because of this, girls’ education in Cambodia is both lacking and unjust. If a Cambodian girl has aspirations of getting an advanced education or entering the workforce, her dream will more than likely be crushed due to the poverty, corruption, cultural norms and lack of schools in rural areas in Cambodia.

Data collected by various international organizations and the Cambodian Ministry of Education shows that boys and girls in Cambodia start primary education at equal rates. However, reports show that the dropout rate for female students increases with each grade. Although the gender gap is continuing to narrow, the gross enrollment rate decreases for female students in both the lower and upper secondary levels.

What Prevents Cambodian Girls from Attending School?

Girls’ education in Cambodia is compromised because of widespread poverty; Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. According to the Asian Development Bank, 72 percent of the population lives on less than $3 per day. Children living in rural areas are more than likely from poor families; therefore, they will struggle to obtain an education. Poverty is interlinked with the issue of girls’ education in Cambodia, as many poor parents will prioritize their son’s education over their daughter’s.

Cultural norms in Cambodia confine many of these girls to a life full of domestic duties, such as housework, cooking and caring for children. With the corruption and poverty that Cambodia faces today, as well as the gender disparities and lack of schools in rural areas, Cambodian girls still do not have the same opportunities as Cambodian boys.

The Good News Regarding Girls’ Education in Cambodia

Fortunately, there are many organizations who have taken notice of the inequalities in girls’ education in Cambodia and are creating opportunities for these girls. A program called OPTIONS, run by World Education with financial support from UNICEF and the U.S. Department of Labor, provides scholarships that enable girls who are at risk of dropping out to remain in school. In poor areas of Cambodia such as Prey Veng, where many families are forced to migrate due to persistent floods and droughts, the scholarships also help prevent girls from being trafficked or sexually exploited.

To address the needs of undereducated girls, the program offers girls in grades five and six weekly skills classes on a wide range of topics, such as trafficking, reproductive health, sexual abuse and vocational awareness. Girls between the ages of eight and 12 who are out of school can attend courses that aid them in reintegrating in the formal system after one year. For girls over the age of 12, the offerings include basic and functional literacy courses and apprenticeships with local employers.

World Bank Project Ensures Rural Girls Can Access Schools

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $100 million in financing for two Cambodian projects in April 2017. Both projects will contribute to improving the quality of secondary schools and making rural roads better connected and resistant to severe weather impacts.

The first project, the Secondary Education Improvement Project, is a five-year project for lower secondary schools. The project has many different goals, including strengthening school management, improving the qualifications of teachers and school directors, and providing better school facilities by renovating 100 schools and building 30 new ones. This alone is expected to impact more than 16,000 students, 2,200 teachers, 310 school directors and deputy directors and 1,500 school staff members.

The second project, the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project, will refine and improve the connectivity of rural communities, which are isolated from mainstream development due to poor road conditions. This project will rehabilitate about 150 miles of rural roads in six provinces and will benefit about 3.5 million residents.

“Improving rural roads is central to poverty reduction in Cambodia, since 79 percent of the population and 91 percent of the poor live in rural areas,” said Inguna Dobraja, the World Bank’s Country Manager for Cambodia. “Better and weather resilient roads will help students go to school, families visit health centers and farmers from across Cambodia bring their products to markets.”

Although it is an unfortunate reality that many hopes for girls’ education in Cambodia are destroyed and unfulfilled due to cultural norms, poverty and gender disparities, the gap between boys and girls in education is continuing to narrow, and organizations such as UNICEF and the World Bank are working to bring about a future where more Cambodian girls will receive a quality education.

– Angelina Gillispie
Photo: Flickr

Facts Pertaining to Poverty in CambodiaMany individuals are unaware of the circumstances in third world countries, Cambodia in particular. The more time people take to familiarize themselves with the culture and community, the more incentive they have to engage in a culturally competent method of understanding the world around them and facts pertaining to poverty in Cambodia.

Living in Rural Areas

Ninety percent of Cambodia’s 4.8 million poor people live in rural areas. Most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood, but 12 percent of them are landless.”

With the majority of the population relying on cultivation in the area, many people need extra assistance getting the necessary resources for their families. There are a plethora of aspects that need to be taken into consideration when looking for land including landmines, nearest roads and types of facilities in the area.

Exploiting Natural Resources

“Between 2000 and 2012, [Cambodia] lost more than 7 percent of its forest cover, the fifth fastest rate in the world.”

Deforestation and illegal farming practices are part of the reason why the forest cover has been depleting and is one of the facts pertaining to poverty in Cambodia. Increased protection and conservation efforts would lessen deforestation. It would also provide more natural resources to the public, contributing to a wide array of support for poverty-stricken individuals.

Surviving on Minimal Income

“Average annual income is $2.60 per day, with a third of the population living on less than $1 per day. It is one of the poorest countries in the world.”

There are many factors that play a role in Cambodia being one of the poorest countries in the world. Cambodia does not have a stable economy and the majority of people who do work, are paid under the table. This could mean they are paid illegally or through a third party that supplies them with cash for hard labor.

Decreasing Maternal Mortality

“The maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births decreased from 472 in 2005 to 170 in 2014.”

The death of a pregnant woman can be the result of many aspects during childbirth. Cambodia’s dramatic decline in its maternal mortality rate proves that the country is on the right track toward becoming more sanitary. This also shows Cambodia is implementing better health systems to possibly eradicate the issue of mothers dying while giving birth.

Lacking in Education

“More than 50 percent of the population is 25 years old or younger. Most of them don’t receive education higher than the secondary level. This results in a lack of experienced workers and talent who can help with the country’s development.”

Cambodia has recently seen an increase in tourism and the money the government receives from external activities needs to be used to better the education system. A higher quality school system would not only help the development of the country prosper, but also advance job positions for certain individuals. A lack of education is one of the facts about poverty pertaining to Cambodia that could be improved and help make money more accessible, leading to higher incomes throughout the country.

– Matthew McGee

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in CambodiaIn recent years, cooperation between financial institutions and the Credit Bureau of Cambodia (CBC) has made credit access in Cambodia easier. Currently, 49.9 percent of individuals in Cambodia have access to credit. Credit coverage in Cambodia covers 5,059,897 individuals, and in 2017, the country came in seventh in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” ranking under “Getting Credit,” a category which measures credit information sharing and legal rights of borrowers and lenders.

“We are very proud our activities have allowed Cambodia to improve its position in the World Bank’s ranking, particularly when it comes to securing credit,” stated Oeur Sothearoath, the CBC’s CEO. The CBC is Cambodia’s leading provider of credit information, analytical solutions and credit reporting services to banks, microfinance institutes, leasing companies, credit operators and consumers in Cambodia. It provides the tools needed to analyze and reduce credit risks and, even more so, increase transparency in providing credit.

The deputy governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), Neav Chanthana, has also agreed that the work of the CBC has allowed borrowers more extensive and faster access to credit, noting that the new World Bank rating has already been able to attract new investors into the country. She further applauded the CBC, stating how its achievements reflect the development of the country’s financial infrastructure, with improvements to the credit information system being vital for customers and the financial sector.

The NBC, along with the Association of Banks in Cambodia, the Cambodian Micro-finance Association and the International Finance Corporation, all have been strong supporters of the establishment of the CBC. The CBC, in response to the demands of the National Bank, plans to run a fair, transparent and well-managed credit market which would support economic growth in Cambodia.

Credit access in Cambodia has continued to improve since programs launched in 2010, making credit for agribusinesses more accessible. Cambodia’s agribusiness sector plays an essential role in aiding the country’s economic growth, poverty reduction and job creation. This financial program has been a collaborative effort between the Royal Government of Cambodia, the International Finance Corporation and the International Development Association.

By guaranteeing that 50 percent of the loans extended by participating banks and microfinance institutions extend to this sector, the program aims to mitigate the default risk banks face when lending to Cambodian agribusinesses. This improved access to finance for agribusinesses has provided strong support to the country’s economy, with agriculture accounting for one-third of the country’s GDP and employing around 70 percent of the population.

Further data is provided by the World Bank with its Credit Information Index which measures the scope, access and quality of credit information available through public registries and private bureaus. The index includes a variety of indicators whose values indicate the amount of credit information available.

The “strength of legal rights index,” on a scale from zero to 12, measures the degree to which collateral and bankruptcy laws protect borrower and lender rights, and “credit bureau coverage” indicates the number of individuals and firms listed by a private credit bureau with information on their borrowing history. The country scored 10 and 49.9 percent.

Credit access in Cambodia over the past few years has increased in strength and size. With continued improvements being made in credit access, positive changes should continue to be seen in Cambodia’s businesses.

– Ashley Quigley

Photo: Flickr

U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Cambodia
In light of recent political events and President Trump’s “America First” agenda, many politicians are considering cutting spending on U.S. foreign aid. However, there are a number of ways that the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Cambodia, making foreign aid a wise investment. United States foreign aid to Cambodia is a very complex issue and must be treated as such.

The United States, by providing aid to foreign countries, fosters stability, revitalization and cooperation all over the world. Many countries compete to gain diplomatic and political influence around the globe through foreign aid spending. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Cambodia include fighting global warming and preventing the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. Not only are these efforts morally good, they protect United States citizens from epidemics and disasters while stabilizing the economies and governmental relations of many countries around the globe.

Cambodia has been ravaged by wars, corruption and poverty in recent years. United States foreign aid has been effective at stabilizing the country, and since economic conditions have normalized, the United States has become the largest purchaser of Cambodian exports in the world. In 2017, the United States spent $88.52 million in Cambodia on foreign aid for health, education, economic growth, security, environmental protection and governance. Through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), many improvements have been made in Cambodia through the disbursement of foreign aid.

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Cambodia have manifested in preventing the spread of diseases, reducing crime and fostering economic development. An example of a program run by USAID in Cambodia is the ASSIST Project, in which the United States provides funding and advisors from health-related professions, ensuring that business models and medical practices are effective.

USAID also funds other programs such as the Country Development Cooperation Strategy to utilize resources that provide education and resources for a more efficient democracy in Cambodia. By promoting a stable government, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Cambodia by reducing the risk of war or other conflicts that could involve the U.S. military or put American citizens in danger.

U.S. foreign aid also helps build schools for children to learn other languages, increase government involvement and promote human rights and civil liberties in Cambodia. Cambodians have also seen improvements in their health services, a reduction in preventable deaths and a rise in literacy rates as a result of U.S. foreign aid. Because of these improvements, Cambodians are better able to participate in the economy, which allows U.S.-Cambodian trade to continue to grow.

In conclusion, while foreign aid may seem like an unnecessary expense in modern times, it may be one of the most needed expenses our government has today. The people of Cambodia not only rely upon the United States for foreign aid, but reward the U.S. with cooperation and trade in return. For the people of Cambodia and many other countries around the world, U.S. foreign aid is an investment on which they depend on and one which the United States cannot afford to overlook.

– Dalton Westfall

Photo: Flickr

HIVAIDS Rates in Cambodia Are Dropping Down to Virtual Elimination
In 2005, the HIV/AIDS death rates in Cambodia were ranked at number 5, and by 2016 dropped down to rank 24. This decrease totaled 71 percent, and Cambodia is now part of the United States Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) as well as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).

HIV/AIDS rates in Cambodia have dropped so low that the country is one of few countries titled with being incredibly successful at reversing this epidemic.

AHF

AHF works to provide health treatments and care at the local communities for HIV and AIDS. AHF also offers numerous free services such as testing, education, condoms, ARV’s, OI drugs and even some transportation. As of January 2017, AHF is working with more than 50 percent of people in Cambodia who live with HIV.

This success has been astounding, according to AHF, because of “firm political commitment, focused and appropriate strategic planning, sound management, broad-based stakeholder partnerships, and effective implementation based on standardized operating procedures.”

PEPFAR

PEPFAR is a USAID program focused on transforming the global response to HIV and AIDS. Currently, PEPFAR is working in over 50 countries helping more than 13.3 million people. This program has further contributed to the successful drop of HIV/AIDS rates in Cambodia.

However, in Cambodia, PEPFAR works closely with four specific provinces most in need of aid: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Since Cambodia has had such a high success rate, PEPFAR is now focusing heavily on sustainable financing for its government over a two-year period. This effort began in 2017 and works to strengthen national systems in discovering new cases, and prevent new cases of HIV from spreading.

PEPFAR is also working hard to achieve fewer than 300 new HIV infections in Cambodia annually by 2025; if accomplished, this feat will be considered a virtual elimination of the disease.

Various Successes

Constant efforts from both AHF and PEPFAR have resulted in massive drop rates of the HIV/AIDS rates in Cambodia. For instance, 2.2 million babies are now born HIV-free, even when their mothers are HIV positive. PEPFAR is also helping more than 6.4 million orphans, vulnerable children and their caretakers.

According to AHF, the rate of HIV/AIDS from ages 15-49 declined all the way down to 0.6 percent in 2015, and will continue to decrease to the hopeful virtual elimination by 2025. This elimination is contributed heavily to the 2016-2020 plan by the Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STI Prevention and Control in the Health Sector in Cambodia.

Potential for Progress

Over the past 25 years, Cambodia had made immense progress in reducing the HIV/AIDS rates. Every year since has resulted in a continuation of this decrease to virtual elimination. Even now, in 2018, Cambodia may be considered a success story for both PEPFAR and ATH.

Both of these organizations work tremendously well to help HIV/AIDS rates in Cambodia drop and continue to decline every day.

– Amber Duffus

Photo: Flickr

reducing poverty through agricultureA growing population and the increased demand for food are burning problems in the present day. Many scientists, organizations, individuals and political bodies are coming forward to find solutions to this problem. Feeding so many mouths is not a simple task, but research and hard work are making the impossible at least feasible.

These are some methodical and sustainable ways of reducing poverty through agriculture and farming, especially in places with unfavorable climates, degraded soil and poor socioeconomic conditions.

 

Reforestation Through Cash Crops in Guatemala

Although Guatemala’s name means “a land of endless trees,” 80 percent of them were destroyed within a decade due to cattle breeding, corn farming, illegal settlements and destructive logging practices.

In order to restore the land to its previous condition, an organization named Livelihoods Funds, along with the government of Guatemala, took the initiative in reforestation by planting four million trees of various species over an area of 4,000 hectares.

The trees are mostly cash crops like rubber, coffee, patchouli, cocoa, mahogany, laurel, cedar and citrus plants. This helps the local community with reducing poverty through agriculture, boosting economic development and prevents climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Reducing Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa

Hunger, malnutrition and stunting prove detrimental to the economic advancement of any country. The Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) came up with the initiative of helping individual farm families of Africa through nutrition-sensitive agricultural development.

Their aim is to provide technical assistance and a knowledge base for increasing food security with improved nutrition. Currently, their work is concentrated in sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

 

Alternative Food Production in Kenya

Kenya suffers from inadequate rainfall, which affects the production of maize, the primary staple crop of most smallholder farmers. The result is that a vast population suffers from hunger and starvation.

One Acre Fund is helping the Kenyan government with reducing poverty through agriculture by planting drought-resistant crops like millet and sorghum, which act as a source of food and income during times of inadequate rainfall. The organization also trains farmers in sustainable planting techniques and fertilizer usage.

 

Integrated Pest Management Techniques in Honduras

CropLife International, along with the United States Agency for International Development, is helping the people of Honduras with integrated pest management techniques. With the help of field officials, they train the farmers in good agricultural practices.

The pest management helps protect the crops and increases their quality and productivity, fetching better incomes for the farmers while improving their livelihoods. It is a powerful example of fighting extreme poverty.

 

Bio-fortification in Rwanda

In Rwanda, an organization named HarvestPlus has introduced a nutritious variety of beans through bio-fortification, a process of increasing vitamins and minerals in plants through biotechnology. The beans are rich in iron and also have the capacity to resist viruses. They are suitable for extreme climates, producing a higher yield and thus increasing the incomes of farmers.

 

Fish Farming in Cambodia

The Feed the Future project in Cambodia is helping hatcheries raise good quality young fish known as fingerlings. The project provides cost-effective and simple technology to manage the clarity, nutrients and water quality of ponds. As a result of this technology, the growth rate and average weight of fingerlings has increased. helping individual hatcheries thrive.

The above methodologies are mainly applied in sub-Saharan and Latin American countries where there are extreme temperatures, drought and unsuitable soil. But these models can also be implemented in other parts of the world to increase the productivity of crops and meet the growing demand for food and simultaneously reducing the poverty of farmers.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Pixabay

sustainable agriculture in CambodiaFrom 2004-2012, Cambodia experienced a spurt of economic growth due in large part to an increase in rice production. During that time period, the country’s agricultural gross product increased by 8.7 percent.

But since 2012, the growth in agriculture has slowed. In 2013-14, agricultural gross product fell below 2 percent. Much of the past growth came from the expansion of cultivated lands, but this expansion may have reached its limits. In order for Cambodia to continue to grow its economy and support those who rely on agriculture, sustainable agriculture in Cambodia will become increasingly important to the country’s future.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is assisting Cambodia’s agriculture sector through the Feed the Future program. The program has trained over 193,000 farmers in new technologies. This has led to an increase in income among those in the farming industry as well as a 30 percent decrease in the number of underweight children in Cambodia.

USAID is continuing its work in Cambodia and has laid out its goals and expected results for the future. These expectations include continuing to help farmers increase sales and working with the private sector to grow and leverage investments in horticulture.

In September 2016, Kansas State University partnered with the USAID Feed the Future program to launch the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN). The center seeks to increase sustainable agriculture in Cambodia with a combination of private sector innovation, public sector improvement and training in sustainable agriculture techniques. These goals are accomplished in part by innovation labs and technology parks that highlight new technologies and strategies.

Another project funded by the partnership between USAID and CE SAIN is being run by Penn State University and focuses on the northern part of Cambodia. This program will work directly with 250 women in the agricultural industry. It will teach the women new farming techniques as well as how to successfully deal with climate change.

Rick Bates, a horticulture professor at Penn State, said that the program’s goal is “growing more food, on existing land, using fewer resources and in an ecologically friendly manner”. This sums up why sustainable agriculture in Cambodia is such a vital part of the country’s future. When the expansion of cultivated lands is no longer an option, new and innovative technologies can help farmers grow crops more efficiently on the land that is available.

– Aaron Childree

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to cambodia
During the 1970s, Cambodia went from one of the most thriving economies in Southeast Asia to one of the poorest countries in the world. Although overthrown by 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime had already done damage to the economy by cutting access to education, eradicating free markets and stifling individuality. The country was haunted further by the mass genocide and government corruption carried out by the regime, leading to a need for restructuring for almost an entire decade following the devastation.

As of 2014, Cambodia has been recognized as being one of the best performers with respect to reducing its poverty rate. Both citizens and developed countries have contributed humanitarian aid to Cambodia, which has helped address poverty rates in the country.

In 2016, 80 U.S. troops were sent to Cambodia by the humanitarian aid group, Pacific Angel. This is the fourth Pacific Angel mission held in Cambodia since its 2007 establishment. This mission focuses on the rural province of Kampot, providing aid through healthcare, school supplies and civil-engineering projects.

Another leading contributor of humanitarian aid to Cambodia is Australia, remaining one of the most significant bilateral grant-based donors. Australia’s provision of official development assistance from 2015-2016 to Cambodia was AUD $92 million. The three main objectives of Australia’s aid are: providing better health and education, improving access to infrastructure and increasing agricultural productivity.

Through each sector, a focus on women’s empowerment, disability, governance and inclusive participation will be implemented. Australia’s target is to drive growth in the economy through working with private sectors, as well as to achieve aid for trade by 2020.

As a result of the aid provided by Australia from 2015-2016, 500,000 Cambodians in rural areas received greater access to jobs, food and higher incomes while creating higher investments. Cambodians also received more access to land and experienced increases in crop production. Over 9,950 women and their families received counseling, shelter and legal aid. Rehabilitation was provided to over 31,000 disabled citizens through a strongly executed disability-precise program.

Caritas, a nonprofit organization, also provides humanitarian aid to Cambodia which benefits young people dealing with disabilities. While assisting individuals in the job market and supporting their inclusion in society, Caritas also aims to also address local poverty in Cambodia.

Cambodia has come a long way from the late 1990s and is slowly regaining success in its economy. Though poverty has not been completely eliminated, with the help of humanitarian aid Cambodia is sure to see the poverty rate continue to decrease each year.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr