Young Bamboos: First-ever in Stung Treng

By Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, Country Director of Plan International Cambodia

A Cambodian saying puts it quite well that Tompang Snong Reusey, meaning bamboo-shoots or young bamboos grow up to be bamboos. The question is how to ensure that Cambodia’s young bamboos are healthy and ready to be strong bamboos in the future.

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Despite all the hard work by the Royal Government of Cambodia as well as development partners, there are still young bamboos or small children left behind, being threatened by lack of early childhood care and development services – not appropriately equipped to be the next strong bamboos or leadership of next generation of the nation.

According to the latest available national figures, about 64% of children aged 5 are going or having access to preschool, while only 28% and 20% of children aged 4 and 3 respectively are.

For Stung Treng province, based on the provincial statistics, about 41% of children under the age of six are having access to the early childhood care and development services, and more than half of them are girls.

As underscored in the document, Thalabarivat and Siem Pang districts, at which Plan International is targeting, are among the districts with least access to the services. About 16% between three and under-six years old are going to state and community preschools supported by UNICEF and Global Partnership for Education. The remaining 83% do not receive proper care and stimulation learning, indispensable for them to reach their development potential.

Access to proper care and stimulation learning is a primary right of children – the young bamboos!

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Thanks to the good cooperation with the government counterpart at all levels, continuing trust and support from donors, intimate partnership with local experts, and commitment of staff, Plan International is currently supporting 520 community and state-preschools and classrooms in three target provinces, namely Siem Reap, Tboung Khmum and Ratanak Kiri.

Most of the interventions are integrated with nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene so that the preschool-aged children are healthy, well concentrating and productive at the preschools. To our pride, over 1,500 parents are not only supporting the service at the preschools and stimulating learning at home, but also taking ownership with local authorities to sustain the work.

The Young Bamboo project being launched recently is made possible by the funding assistance from Engelhardt. Lasting for three years, until June 2020, the project will be implemented by Plan International Cambodia and partner organisation Wathanakpheap.

The intervention will promote integrated Early Childhood Care and Development service among the most vulnerable children, particularly indigenous ethnic minority, the poorest, most marginalised and those with disability in 20 deprived villages in Thalabarivat and Siem Pang districts of Stung Treng province.

Strengthening the service is key to achieving at least seven of the Sustainable Development Goals on poverty, hunger, health (including child mortality), education, gender, water and sanitation, and inequality. It thereby sits in a priority agenda of the Royal Government of Cambodia as well as the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports.

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Globally, Plan International has been existing for more than 80 years and is now operating in 71 countries. Fifteen years old in Cambodia, Plan International is implementing its third five-year country strategic plan running until 2021. Centering on our vision to strive for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls, our priority areas are early childhood care and development, child protection, water sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and basic education (including technical vocational education and training).

Without continuing strong cooperation with the government counterpart, donors, communities and partners, our journey would not have come this long.

 

(Photos taken by Ms. Ath Chhun Muoy)

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Plan International Cambodia on WASH

by Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, Country Director of Plan International Cambodia

Lack of access to quality water, sanitation and hygiene is largely a rural problem in many countries, not only Cambodia. Potentially, remote rural areas are the most vulnerable to the issues.

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Few months back, one out of twelve students at a primary school in O’Chum, a new target district of Plan International Cambodia in Ratanak Kiri province, claimed to have a latrine at home. The rest hesitantly told that they wanted one. Despite this, all of the students are learning to use the WASH facilities at their school and of course practicing hand-washing, thanks to continuous guidance by the teachers. The fact that they were enjoying with the facilities at school is a factor that drives my optimism of our endeavor to promote rural water, sanitation and hygiene.

Promoting sustainable clean water and sanitation access and hygienic practice is not only about ensuring availability and affordability of the equipment and materials to construct or rehabilitate the facilities, but also about striving to get the community convinced and to act on it for a justifiable reason. This needs logical and contextualized justification and a lot of hard work.

Every year, globally, millions of people die from diseases caused by inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. Other than pneumonia, diarrhea is the main cause of death in children under age 5. Studies show that defecating in the toilet and hygienic practice as simple as proper and consistent hand-washing during critical times have saved most lives.

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Open defecation free, moreover, are a prerequisite for clean, healthy household and living environments. They are also essential to safeguard environmental quality more broadly, especially the quality of water resources. Sanitation and hygiene facilities save people’s time. That is, they do not lose time to illnesses, caring for the sick and seeking somewhere private and safe to defecate.

With this in mind, Plan International Cambodia since the rollout of our third five-year Country Strategic Plan 2016-2021, have achieved open defecation free (ODF) in 800 villages in current twelve target provinces through the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) approach. Over 130 wells, 65 water purifying systems and 700 latrines and group hand washing facilities have been constructed, installed and rehabilitated at school.

Specifically for the remote northeastern region, we have been implementing water, sanitation and hygiene projects in 72 villages in three districts in Ratanak Kiri province and 40 villages in 2 districts in Stung Treng province. As a result, we have achieved open defecation free status in 25 villages, around 100 new WASH facilities have been constructed and rehabilitated in these target villages, including at schools. As planned, we will scale up WASH projects to 170 villages in these two provinces in the next three years.

Leaving no one behind is the theme for the United Nations new development agenda, so-called sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Effort to promote lasting access to sanitation and hygiene is vital in determining successful delivery of Sustainable Development Goal 6 “Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

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Let me take this opportunity to express my profound thanks to the Royal Government of Cambodia as well as the Ministry and Departments of Rural Development, donors, concerned local authorities, partners, and the communities themselves for all the good cooperation and support. Our achievements have continued to build firm foundation for improving the health and well-being of Cambodia’s most vulnerable. Indeed, water, sanitation and hygiene access is a fundamental right of humans as well as children.

Our journey is going on. Nevertheless, we need more inclusive engagement of especially the voiceless and vulnerable, including the hard-to-reach-group, in our programme cycle so that they can contribute to further enhance the quality of our intervention.

There is a moral, civil, political and economic need to bring adequate quality water, sanitation and proper hygiene to Cambodian population!

Poor sanitation cripples national development: workers and farmers produce less, live shorter lives, save and invest less, and more worryingly are less able to send their children to school. As more-than-80-years-old child right organization that thrives for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls, adequate sanitation and hygiene for all, in particular those in remote areas like Ratanak Kiri and Stung Treng remain in our scope of priority.

I strongly believe that with more inclusive, community-led approach, top-down and bottom up approach, we will significantly contribute to the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to reach its goal of ensuring 100% of Cambodians with access to improved sanitation across the country by 2025.

 

 

Children Deserve No Fear

by Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, Country Director of Plan International Cambodia

Hearing reports, statements, and social media posts going on for weeks now, we feel a sincere accountability to urge all stakeholders particularly those who have purposefully and inadvertently engaged in putting the children at stake to stop it. We all love our children. More importantly, investment in children is the most secured investment to the future for all.

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As a child rights organisation, Plan International Cambodia welcomes the move to crackdown masterminds behind child beggars and to discourage groundless and ill-willed circulation of child abduction cases on social media to formulate fearful social phenomena and confusion.

Through close cooperation among state and non-sate players especially since the October 1992 ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC), Cambodia has developed and adopted various support entities, procedures, legislative frameworks and laws.

To name a few, Cambodia now has national plan of action for child development, child protection policy in schools, national council for children, a national child protection commission, commune committees for women and children, a technical working group on child protection, as well as child protection hotlines.

Although these are in place, we need strong will and good collaboration from those concerned, ranging from general public to the enforcers, teachers, community members, parents and children themselves.

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When child safeguard and protection mechanisms and policies are developed to be functional, children feel at home everywhere and they become a central part of social security.

Meanwhile, not only passing on to children and their families the right kind of information about what to do when they feel insecure, but also ensuring that it reaches the vulnerable ones builds their confidence and peace.

Every child abuse as well as abduction case stands as a threat both for now and in the future of Cambodia and the globe. But for far too long that many have accepted this as ordinary social matter, let alone those intentionally use children as means for their commercial gains who deserve appropriate legal action.

While, perfect cooperation by everyone, everywhere to ensure child emotional and physical safety may not seem feasible. Nevertheless, everyone and everywhere should exercise their best common sense in order to avoid worsening cases, thus creating an atmosphere that empowers children to realise their potential.

Instead of holding unfortunate cases of child violation – sometimes wrongfully – to ransom for individual or group’s benefit, it’s more advantageous for one to stand up and place such issue on their top agenda with realistic initiatives to better address them.

Children as minors deserve no fear, but a friendly and protective environment for them to learn, lead, decide and thrive so as to become the next strong and productive ‘bamboos’.

 

 

 

 

កុមារ​មិនគួរ​ប្រឈមនឹង​ការភ័យ​ខ្លាចឡើយ

 

អត្ថបទដោយ យេន យេប ក្លែនរេនស៊ីង្គ នាយកប្រចាំប្រទេស​ អង្គការភ្លែនអន្តរជាតិកម្ពុជា​

ក្រោយពីទទួលបានព័ត៌មានតាមរយៈរបាយការណ៍ សេចក្តី​ថ្លែងការណ៍ និង​ការ​បង្ហោះក្នុងបណ្តាញ​ផ្សព្វ​ផ្សាយ​ព័ត៌មានសង្គម​អស់រយៈពេល​ជាច្រើន​សប្តាហ៍កន្លងមក យើង​យល់ថា យើងទាំងអស់គ្នាគួរ​តែ​មាន​ការ​ទទួល​ខុសត្រូវ​ខ្ពស់​ក្នុងការជំរុញ​​អ្នកពាក់ព័ន្ធទាំងអស់បញ្ឈប់នូវសកម្មភាពនានាដែលធ្វើឲ្យកុមារ​​ប្រឈមនឹង​គ្រោះថ្នាក់ ជា​ពិសេស ​អ្នកដែល​ចូលរួម​ដោយចេតនា និង​អចេតនា។ ​យើង​ទាំងអស់គ្នា​ស្រឡាញ់​កុមារ​របស់យើងគ្រប់រូប។ សំខាន់ជាងនេះទៅទៀត​ ការ​វិនិយោគ​លើកុមារ​គឺជា​ការ​វិនិយោគ​មួយប្រកបដោយសុវត្ថិភាពខ្ពស់បំផុត​ចំពោះ​អនាគត​សម្រាប់​មនុស្សគ្រប់រូប។

Kidway 6

ក្នុងនាមជា​អង្គការ​សិទ្ធិកុមារ អង្គការ​ភ្លែនអន្តរជាតិកម្ពុជា​សូមស្វាគមន៍ចំពោះវិធានការ​​បង្រ្កាប​មេខ្លោង​ដែលនៅពីក្រោយការ​ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​កុមារក្លាយជាកុមា​រសុំទាន និងមិនលើកទឹកចិត្ត ​ចំពោះការ​​ផ្សព្វផ្សាយ​ដោយ​គ្មានមូលដ្ឋាន និង​ចេតនាអាក្រក់​ស្តីពីករណី​ចាប់ពង្រាត់កុមារនៅ​ក្នុងបណ្តាញផ្សព្វផ្សាយ​ព័ត៌មានសង្គមក្នុងគោល​បំណង​បង្កភាពភ័យខ្លាច​ និងការ​ភ័ន្ត​ច្រឡំក្នុងសង្គម។

តាមរយៈកិច្ចសហប្រតិបត្តិការ​យ៉ាង​ជិតស្និទ្ធិ​រវាងស្ថាប័ន​រដ្ឋាភិបាល និងស្ថាប័នមិនមែន   ​រដ្ឋាភិបាល ​ជាពិសេស ​ចាប់តាំង​ពី​ការ​ផ្តល់​សច្ចាប័ន​អនុសញ្ញា​ស្តីពី​សិទ្ធិ​កុមារ​របស់​អង្គការ​សហប្រជាជាតិ​នៅ​ឆ្នាំ ១៩៩២ (UN-CRC) កម្ពុជា​បាន​បង្កើត និង​អនុវត្ត​ការ​​គាំទ្រ នីតិវិធី ក្របខណ្ឌ​គតិយុត្តិ និង​ច្បាប់​ផ្សេងៗជាច្រើន។

ក្នុងចំណោមនីតិវិធី ក្របខណ្ឌ​គតិយុត្តិ និង​ច្បាប់ ទាំងនោះ កម្ពុជា​មានបង្កើត​ជា​ស្រេច​នូវ​ផែនការ​សកម្មភាព​ជាតិ​សម្រាប់ការ​អភិវឌ្ឍ​​របស់​កុមារ​ គោលនយោបាយកិច្ចការពារ​កុមារ​នៅ​តាមសាលារៀន ក្រុមប្រឹក្សា​ជាតិកម្ពុជា​ដើម្បីកុមារ គណៈកម្ម​ការ​ជាតិការពារ​កុមារ​ គណៈកម្មាធិការ​ឃុំទទួលបន្ទុកកិច្ចការ​នារី និង​កុមារ ក្រុមការងារ​បច្ចេកទេស​ទទួលបន្ទុកកិច្ចការពារ​កុមារ និង​ខ្សែទូរស័ព្ទ​ពិសេស​សម្រាប់កិច្ច​ការពារកុមារ។

ទោះបីជាសកម្មភាពទាំងនេះបាននឹងកំពុងអនុវត្តក៏ដោយ ក៏​យើង​នៅតែ​ត្រូវការ​ឆន្ទៈ     មុះមុត និង​កិច្ចសហការ​ល្អប្រសើរ​ពី​អ្នកពាក់ព័ន្ធ ចាប់​ពី​សាធារណៈជន​រហូតដល់​អ្នកពង្រឹង​ការអនុវត្ត​ច្បាប់​ គ្រូបង្រៀន ប្រជាជនរស់នៅក្នុងសហគមន៍ មាតាបិតា និង​កុមារផ្ទាល់។

នៅពេលដែល​គោលនយោបាយ និងយន្តការ​ ការពារនិង​ធានាសុវត្ថិភាព​កុមារ ​ត្រូវ​បាន​បង្កើត​ឡើង​ដើម្បី​ដាក់​ឲ្យ​អនុវត្ត​ កុមារ​នឹងយល់ថា​ ពួកគេ​មានសុវត្ថិភាព​គ្រប់ទីកន្លែង ហើយ​ពួកគេ​នឹង​ក្លាយ​ជា​ផ្នែក​ដ៏សំខាន់​នៃ​សន្តិសុខសង្គម។

ទន្ទឹមនឹងនេះ ព័ត៌មានត្រឹមត្រូវស្តីពីអសន្តិសុខ មិនត្រឹមតែត្រូវបាន​ផ្តល់​ដល់កុមារ និង​ក្រុមគ្រួសារ​របស់​ពួកគេ​ប៉ុណ្ណោះទេ ប៉ុន្តែ​យើងក៏ត្រូវ​ធានាផងដែរ​ថា ព័ត៌មាន​ទាំងនោះ​បាន​ផ្សព្វផ្សាយដល់​កុមារងាយរងគ្រោះ និង​បង្កើត​ទំនុកចិត្ត និង​សន្តិភាព​សម្រាប់​ពួកគេ។

រាល់ករណី​រំលោភបំពាន និងចាប់ពង្រាត់កុមារ​គឺជាការគំរាមកំហែង​ទាំងពេល​បច្ចុប្បន្ន និង​នៅថ្ងៃអនាគត​សម្រាប់​កម្ពុជា និង​សកលលោកទាំងមូល។​ បញ្ហាដែលកើតមានឡើងជា​យូរ​ណាស់​មកហើយនេះ ​បានធ្វើឲ្យមនុស្សជាច្រើន​​ទទួលយក​ហេតុការណ៍នេះ​ថាជា​បញ្ហា   ធម្មតាក្នុង​សង្គម​ ចំណុចនេះ យើងមិនបានគិតនៅឡើយចំពោះ​អ្នកដែល​មានចេតនា​ប្រើប្រាស់កុមារ​ជា​មធ្យោបាយ​ដើម្បីទាញយកផលប្រយោជន៍​សម្រាប់អាជីវកម្មរបស់ខ្លួន អ្នកទាំងនោះ​សមតែ​ប្រឈមនឹងវិធានការផ្លូវច្បាប់។

ប៉ុន្តែ​កិច្ចសហការ​ប្រតិបត្តិការដ៏ល្អ​ឥតខ្ចោះ​រវាង​មនុស្សគ្រប់រូបនៅគ្រប់ទីកន្លែង​ ដើម្បី​ធានាសុវត្ថិភាព​ផ្លូវចិត្ត និងផ្លូវកាយ​របស់​កុមារ​ប្រហែលជា​មិនអាច​ទៅរួច​នោះទេ។ យ៉ា​ងនេះក្តី មនុស្សគ្រប់រូបនៅគ្រប់ទីកន្លែង​គួរ​ប្រើប្រាស់សុភវិនិច្ឆ័យ​ដ៏​ល្អបំផុត​របស់ខ្លួន​ ដើម្បី​បញ្ចៀស​ការធ្វើឲ្យករណី​កាន់តែ​អាក្រក់​ តាមរយៈ​ការ​បង្កើត​បរិយាកាស​​ផ្តល់សិទ្ធិអំណាច​ដល់​កុមារដែលអាចសម្រេច​បានសក្តានុពល​របស់ខ្លួន។

ជំនួសឲ្យការ​ប្រព្រឹត្តការ​រំលោភបំពាន​លើ​កុមារ​ ដែល​ពេលខ្លះ​ជាប្រការ​ខុសឆ្គងដើម្បី​ទទួល​បាន​ប្រយោជន៍សម្រាប់​បុគ្គល​ ឬ ក្រុមណាមួយ ដូច្នេះពួកគេ​គួរ​រួមគ្នា​ដើម្បី​ដាក់បញ្ចូល​បញ្ហា​ទាំងនេះ​ទៅក្នុង​របៀប​វារៈនៃការពិភាក្សារបស់ខ្លួន ​ដោយបង្កើតនូវគំនិតផ្តួចផ្តើមជាក់     ស្តែងដើម្បី​ផ្តល់ដំណោះស្រាយ​ល្អប្រសើរ។

កុមារ​ដែលជា​អនីតិជន​មិនគួរ​ប្រឈមនឹង​ការភ័យខ្លាច​ឡើយ ប៉ុន្តែ​កុមារ​គួរ​ទទួលបាន​បរិយាកាស​ល្អប្រសើរ​ដែលការពារពួកគេដើម្បីអាច រៀនសូត្រ ដឹកនាំ សម្រេ​ចចិត្ត និងអភិវឌ្ឍ​​ក្លាយ​ជា “ទំពាំងស្នង​ឫស្សី” ​ដ៏​រឹងមាំ និង​ប្រកប​ដោយផលិតភាព​។

Remote School Equipped to Change Lives

by Mom Chantara Soleil

With a new school building of six classrooms, many of 400 primary school goers at remote Lung Khung primary school in Bokeo district of the northeastern province will no longer have to sit in home-made plastic-tent classes at the house of the village leader for their lessons.

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The new building was opened yesterday along with two-room library, protected well and latrine, made possible by the cooperation among Provincial Department of Education, Plan International and Ockenden Cambodia with the funding support from Educate a Child through Aid et Action.

“Students, parents and the local authorities, please maximize the use of these facilities. For our children here, study hard so that your parents and community are proud of you,” addressed Education, Youth and Sport Under Secretary of State H.E. Heang Sine who presided over the inauguration to some 200 participants.

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According to the Director of Rattanakiri Provincial Department of Education Ms. Chan Kham Khoeu, the province has now a total of 367 school buildings with 1,204 classrooms – including the one being opened.

The performance in all levels of education, she added, is increasing noticeably. Almost 88% of the students (or 981 students, of them 466 are female) passed their lower secondary school final exam and 77% (or 642 students, of them 291 are female) successfully finished their higher secondary school final exam.

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Mr. Pann Savath who is in charge of the project highlighted that it also intends to bring back the dropouts to school in order to build human resource in the community home mainly to Tumpoun ethnic minority group.

Net, a 13-year-old daughter of Tumpoun farmer parents with 8 kids, was among other children who attended the inauguration. She dropped out for 2016-2017, but said she will continue her grade 4 next academic year as she anticipates less crowded and less noisy class.

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To encourage the local school goers, H.E. Heang Sine added that the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport is working on a policy to promote local teacher candidates, rather than mobilizing candidates from one area to another.

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The complete set of school facilities opened will not only be able to accommodate over 600 students during next academic year

Plan International Cambodia’s Take to Leave None Behind

by Mom Chantara Soleil

The 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals promises to leave no one behind – a foundation on which the country strategic plan 2016-2021 of child-focused NGO Plan International Cambodia, launched lately under the auspices of Minister of Education Youth and Sport H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, is built on.

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“I am glad that the strategy of Plan International Cambodia for the next five years will actively engage in 11 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are also the commitments of the Royal Government of Cambodia,” addressed H.E. Hang Chuon Naron to almost 200 senior representatives of relevant government bodies, embassies, funding agencies, corporate sector, and like-minded organizations.

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Happening on the International Day of the Girl (October 11), the five-year program kick-start also urged for collective effort to use systematic data to make girls and women more visible so that they are not left behind, especially in decision making role.

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According to Plan International Cambodia’s Country Director Mr. Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, globally millions of girls and women will continue to be invisible and excluded in 2030 unless we have more gender-sensitive data to inform the decisions and investments that can transform their lives.

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“Counting the Invisible – using data to transform the lives of girls and women by 2030 – is Plan International’s global call for 2016, striving for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls,” he added.

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The Royal Government of Cambodia has made significant and strategic move by promoting women’s political representation.

Based on the latest figures available, the number of women as members of National Assembly is 20 percent and as ministers, secretaries of state, and under-secretaries of state is 11, 21 and 18 percent, respectively. The number of women elected as members of capital/provincial, city/district/Khan councils is 13.2 percent and of commune/Sangkat councils is 18 percent.

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Increasing women’s political representation will consequently allow the issues of girls and women at all levels to be better heard and addressed.

H.E. Hang Chuon Naron highlighted that the supporting role of NGOs in the development of Cambodia, including the effort to promote gender equality is welcomed and it is indeed a priority of the government.

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Plan International Cambodia started its operation in the kingdom in 2002. Centering on children’s best interest, our interventions in 17 provinces have directly benefited over 600,000 children and almost 80,000 families across Cambodia.

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The work of the child focused community development organization is covering about two third of Cambodia. Looking into the lens of gender equality among children and youth, the intervention is running in close partnership with concerned government institutions and local NGOs, particularly in the area of early childhood care and development; basic education and vocational training; child protection; water, sanitation and hygiene; and nutrition.

First Indigenous Village with Open Defecation Free

by Mom Chantara Soleil

Standing out among its peers, one indigenous village, Nay in the northeastern Ratanak Kiri province lately declared open defecation free, officially recognized by joint technical teams of local authority and Plan International Cambodia.

Faster awareness of poor sanitation’s consequences, project ownership, good cooperation and adoption of low-cost facilities acceptable by all are keys behind the success.

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Sanitation contributes remarkably to child nutrition as well as their physical growth and cognitive development.

According to the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2014, in Cambodia more than 32% of children under five years old are stunted, 24% underweight, and 10% wasted.

Remote indigenous population especially in the northeast of Cambodia are more vulnerable and constitute significantly to the said health incidence figure.

Situated over 65 kilometers from provincial town Banlung, Nay – home to Ka Chok indigenous group, Nay was among more than 70 other targeted villages funded by Plan International offices in Sweden and United States of America, and UNICEF.

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According to official in charge of the project Mr. Yin Samay, the first phase of promoting latrine use and personal hygiene among indigenous population in Ratanak Kiri will run until 2017 in three remote districts, namely Andong Meas, Veun Sai and O Chum.

Given less access to sanitation supplies, different norms and cultures, and its isolation – added the official – it takes as long as eight months to achieve complete open defection free in one village.