Our team in Cambodia is continuing our integrated community development work in a new project called Promoting Better Lives. This will be a two-year project that will support 67 communities in Battambang and Preah Vihear provinces in central and northwest Cambodia. Though this project is not specifically designed as a disaster response project, it has already supported distribution of emergency supplies like rice, noodles and small loans to more than 200 families affected by flooding in Battambang. As a holistic program that will primarily focus on nutrition for mothers and children and helping farmers increase their yield and connect to local markets to sell their goods for extra income, the project – like all CWS community-based development work – includes humanitarian response.
To kick off the project, our team hosted two workshops last month: one in each province, which more than 100 people joined. This great turnout was diverse, including teachers, health center staff, local government and partner organizations along with community members. Together, all of these groups will be part of making the Promoting Better Lives project happen.
Both workshops were led by Deputy Provincial Governors. In Preah Vihear, we were also honored to have H.E. Hab Omaly, Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Rural Development, attend and present closing remarks. (As a reminder, CWS is proud to work closely with the Ministry of Rural Development.)
These two meetings were valuable opportunities to address a diverse group of our partners at once. As such, in my remarks, I focused on the need to work together in strong partnerships. From my decades of experience in initiatives like Promoting Better Lives, I know that when local governments, NGOs and community leaders are on the same page and operating with the same goals in mind, we can accomplish great things. Both Deputy Governors also encouraged all organizations working in the region to work together and share program achievements and challenges with one another.
The MRD Undersecretary of State put it best: “To achieve Cambodia’s Sustainable Development Goals, all sectors need to work together and support one another despite a variety of challenges.”
It is possible for Cambodians to achieve better lives for themselves, but we have to work together to make it happen. Our team is proud to take this next step!
Isaree Khreusirikul is the CWS Country Representative for Cambodia.