Stories of Change

Chhay You, Commune Chief in Ti Pou commune in central Cambodia.

This year, CWS programs in Cambodia reached 21,373 individuals in 83 communities.

A sustainable legacy in Cambodia

It has been more than five years since CWS was actively engaged in community development programs in Ti Pou commune in central Cambodia. Chhay You, the Commune Chief, is now 59. He is proud to continue helping his neighbors and friends as the work each day to secure better lives for themselves and their children.

You was Commune Chief when, starting in 2007, CWS partnered with families from four villages in the commune. In line with our enduring mission in Cambodia, our focus was to foster economic development through support for dignified livelihoods which, in turn, helped families address their food insecurity, including poor nutrition and issues of safe water access, sanitation and hygiene – all of which affected the well-being of all villagers, especially young children.

Several years after our active engagement in Ti Pou ended in 2011, You and the communities where CWS worked are going strong with key positive changes evident daily, including an increase in personal and family sanitation, as villagers now know to use filtered or boiled water drinking wash and, especially before cooking and serving food, to wash their hands with soap.

Recently, as part of our retrospective look at CWS accomplishments in Cambodia, we spoke to You and he told us about the effect of his partnership with CWS, both for him personally and for the community. Through CWS, You was able to join a number of educational workshops. He particularly recalled the one focused on conflict resolution when he said, “From CWS I learned a lot about peaceable conflict resolution. As the Commune Chief, I often know when there is a problem somewhere because people bring their quarrels to me and I can mediate differences and find resolutions. Because of this the people in my community believe in my me and continue to trust and select me to be their leader.”

The commune’s partnership with CWS, especially the teaching and learning, but also the material resources shared, has meant that many families have better lives. Not only are the families themselves more resourced and resourceful because of CWS support, but local government authorities, together with You and other active citizens, now routinely check and repair wells, public latrines and community buildings as well as local roads to sustain the partnership’s good results.