By Mom Chantara Soleil and Teip Seiha
Over 1,700 small children, of them 49% are girls, from ethnic minority groups in the north-eastern Ratanak Kiri province of Cambodia will benefit from improved preschool access and governance through early childhood development project kick-started yesterday.
Co-financed by the European Union and Plan in Germany, the three-year project will be implemented through cooperation among Plan in Cambodia, partners and the Provincial Office of Education, in two of the nine districts of Ratanak Kiri, namely Andong Meas and Ta Veaeng, where early childhood development is most deprived.
“This is the second assistance from the European Union through Plan to promote early childhood development in our province. The project will lay foundation for future human resource development from our ethnic minority communities. It is not easy to handle the work, but Plan has succeeded so far,” said H.E. Ly Vin, Deputy Provincial Governor when chairing the launch of the project at Ratanak Kiri.
Before, about 11% of small children in the province had access to preschools, against a national average of 33%.
As of now, according to the Chief of Early Childhood Development Department Mr. Prak Kosal, the number of children ages from 3 to 5 going to school preschool is increasing remarkably – 61.39% of the five-year-old, 29% of the four-year-old and 16% of the 3-year-old are enjoying preschool access in the province.
“An assessment by Plan indicates that good governance among community people, local authorities and civil society organizations plays an important role to ensure effectiveness and sustainability of early childhood development. And it is a cornerstone of this project,” said Ratanak Kiri Programme Unit Manager of Plan.
In total, the investment in the project running from Mar. 2015 to Feb. 2018 is about US$751,000.