Logging deals cancelled

September 10th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Six economic land concessionaires in Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces have had their contracts to supply the government with wood to build housing for soldiers and their families cancelled.

In 2011, after the conflict with Thailand over the Preah Vihear temple, the government encouraged the families of soldiers to settle in the two provinces, and it has since allocated land to them under its social land concession scheme. …

May Titthara

Wealthy residents protest lake reclamation

July 8th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

About 30 residents of a planned community on the eastern outskirts of Phnom Penh gathered around the picturesque lake that forms the center of their neighborhood Monday to prevent its developer, a former opposition lawmaker, from reclaiming the land to construct condos.

The residents, many of whom are dual citizens who left the country prior to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and have returned to retire, said they blocked a truck from delivering sand to fill in the tree-lined lake that stretches between the houses of Borey Prek Eng. …

Khuon Narim and Alex Willemyns

Hun Sen to visit China next week

May 14th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead Cambodian delegation to attend the 4th Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CIAC) in China next week, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. …

The delegation companying Hun Sen will include Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Rural Development Minister Chea Sophara, and other members of the Royal Government of Cambodia. …

On the sideline of the conference, Hun Sen will meet with Xi Jinping to discuss bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and China, and to exchange views on issue of common interests. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Latrine numbers up

March 14th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The number of Cambodian rural households with access to latrines increased from 23 to 33 per cent in 2013, a Ministry of Rural Development report released yesterday says.

Chreay Pom, director of the ministry’s rural health care department, said that last year, the ministry constructed about 1,800 facilities in six provinces: Battambang, Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot, Svay Reing and Takeo. …

Last year, sanitation funding from the Asian Development Bank and the national budget totalled $679,000, Pom added. …

Sen David

Clean water access ‘improves’

March 13th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia is making steady headway towards its goal of providing universal clean-water access.

“The 2013 population census shows that the percentage of people who now have clean water sources has climbed to 49 per cent. We will be able to achieve the 2015 Millennium Development Goal [of 50 per cent],” Chreay Pom, director of the Department of Rural Health Care, said yesterday during the Ministry of Rural Development’s annual report launch.

In 2013, 450,000 rural residents, or just under four per cent of the population, were newly able to access a clean drinking supply. …

Last year, the national budget allocated almost 3.7 billion riel ($927,000) to the campaign, building hundreds of new wells, 41 reservoirs and 60 new water treatment plants. In addition to the government funding, Asia Development Bank contributed almost $679,000 for an array of projects supporting the clean-water initiative. …

Phak Seangly

A man’s world

September 2nd, 2013 , Southeast Asia Globe

Straining under the weight of bricks, buckets and metal bars, a faceless army carry their loads from trucks to a massive building site on Penh Penh’s Diamond Island. Hidden beneath wide-brimmed hats and kramas masking their faces from dust and the sun, the battalion of construction workers is turning this stretch of reclaimed land into a concrete paradise on the city’s southern ‘riviera’. …

“Of the 700 people working here, 300 are women,” said Neang, a 21-year-old woman who has been constructing the building’s drainage unit for a couple of years. “We prepare the cement and carry the materials on the ground floor. In my team, we dig holes. There are only ten women who paint ceilings or cement bricks with men.” …

Their work is vital to the island’s development, according to Lim, the site manager. The women are responsible for tying together ribbed bars and making reinforced concrete slabs to bolster the dams that protect the buildings from the eddies of the Mekong and Bassac rivers.

“Women probably represent up to 40% of the private construction sector workforce,” said Van Thol, vice-president of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUC). “I say ‘probably’ because there are no solid data on the issue. Most do not have contracts and are seasonal workers. But 30% to 40% seems a fair estimate.” …

This is a leap forward for women, who seven years ago represented 20% of the workforce in construction-related industries. Yet while these women represent feminine capability, it may be too early to celebrate them as Cambodia’s ‘Rosie the Riveter’. On-site, these women are delegated lowly tasks such as cement preparation, steel fixing and brick transportation. They are also asked to cook and clean. …

A massive shortage of workers in the sector means that women can find work relatively easily on construction sites. …

“Many subcontractors are happy to hire for the single reason that they are cheaper than men,” BWTUC’s Van Thol said. “Wage discrimination against women is illegal, but it is a harsh reality on the vast majority of construction sites in Cambodia.” …

Frédéric Janssens

Toilets, trucks on agenda

March 6th, 2013 , The Phnom Penh Post

The government announced new plans for developing both transportation and rural sanitation at the annual meeting of the Ministry of Rural Development at the Chaktomuk Conference Hall in Phnom Penh yesterday.

According to officials at the event, the ministry will be completing by year’s end a sub-decree laying out penalties for overloaded vehicles – seen by some as a source of added stress on Cambodia’s already pockmarked highways – and will also take measures to increase the number of modern latrines in rural areas over the next 12 years. …

Phak Seangly

Rural areas gain clean water

November 12th, 2012 , The Phnom Penh Post

An NGO has plans to supply clean water to 60 rural provinces between 2013 and 2016 in an effort to increase access to water and meet the demand of their citizens.

Chai Lo, the founder and country director of 1001 Fontaines, said at the opening of its headquarters last week that since  the beginning of the project in 2005, the organisation had installed 62 treatment stations to provide clean water in a number of Cambodian provinces.

The supply of clean water has been distributed to tens of thousands of people in several provinces. …

Rann Reuy

Come floods or high waters, most MFIs continue to loan

September 11th, 2012 , The Phnom Penh Post

After experiencing decades of floods, Cambodia’s microfinance institutions say they no longer have problems disbursing loans during the rainy season, according to the head of Cambodia’s Microfinance Association (CMA).

A survey issued early this year by a coterie of international aid organisations, including Oxfam, Care, PACT and CRS, showed that about 400 households were affected by the floods last year. It said before the flood, nearly two-thirds of the families took some debt from microfinance institutions and unofficial lenders.

Because of flooding, about 48 per cent of families took an additional loan worth an average of approximately US$635. …

During the closing of the annual meeting of the Ministry of Rural Development, Prime Minister Hun Sen called for all Cambodia’s MFIs to help the victims.

May Kunmakara, P. 8

Project aims to build latrines in rural areas

August 20th, 2012 , The Phnom Penh Post

A new US$10.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund a three-year project by international development NGO East Meets West (EMW) to improve sanitation and hygiene among the poor in rural Cambodia and Vietnam.

According to EMW, the program seeks to combat the negative effects of open defecation and poor hygiene by financing the construction of latrines and hand-washing devices and by offering community-based hygiene education.

The need for such a program is dire in a country where about 80 per cent of households have no sanitation facilities, leading to thousands of deaths each year, EMW said in a statement. …

Partners for the project in Cambodia include the Cambodian Women for Peace and Development, Kampot Province’s Department of Rural Development and the Ministry of Rural Development. …

Sen David, P. 4

Rural areas plagued by shortage of toilets

November 8th, 2011 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Ministry of Rural Development yesterday called for increased investment to expand access to sanitation facilities in rural Cambodia as well as more awareness about the link between low rates of access to toilets and high rates of communicable disease.

Cambodia ranked at the bottom of the region in terms of access to toilets, and this was especially acute in rural areas, ministry officials said yesterday, ahead of National Sanitation Day on Sunday…

Mom Kunthear, p.5