Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Volunteers crucial to health delivery in remote Cambodian provinces

By Pauline Yongeun Ahn

© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Martina Tomassini
Pel Nean (26 years old, pictured with her baby) is a Village Health Support Group volunteer in the remote Koh Nhek district of Mondulkiri province, northeast Cambodia.

MONDULKIRI, Cambodia, 24 February 2015  In counselling women during and after pregnancy, village health support group volunteer Pel Nean plays a vital role in bridging the knowledge, resource, and transport gaps in the community, and in connecting the community with the health system.

When a mother in the remote Poutert village in Mondulkiri province had long passed her expected delivery date, it was Nean that she called, and who took her to the health centre for a check-up. The mother gave birth to a healthy son after an induced birth.  Mothers living in sparsely populated villages as these feel that without Nean they would not have had the proper knowledge, nor the resources, to get to the health centre.

“In this remote village of Mondulkiri Province, it strains me to go from one house to the next on my motorbike, trying to convince mothers to simply ask for medical help. Things have improved, though. More mothers now know how to recognize danger signs and seek my help for referrals,” says Nean.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Accelerated learning for a second chance to education

By Anna Nordenrot

© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Anna Nordenrot
14-year-old Chan Sambath (second row, left) and her classmates during class in Tuol Skor School in Thnal Dach village, Kampong Speu province. The textbooks used are part of the Accelerated Learning Programme and provided by UNICEF. 

KAMPONG SPEU, Cambodia, 17 April 2015 – On a secluded dirt road, surrounded by mountains and rice fields, lies Tuol Skor School in Thnal Dach Village, Preah Khe Commune. It is the dry season and wherever you go, so does the dust. You can almost taste it in the air. The schoolyard is empty, all the students are in class. If it were not for the sound of children loudly repeating after their teachers, as though they were competing to see who can speak the loudest, one would think there is not much happening here.

The students are all paying close attention to the teachers and following their instructions; nothing seems out of the ordinary. But Tuol Skor School is, in fact, extraordinary: since 2008, it has offered overage students who have dropped out of school, or started late, a chance to catch up with their peers through the Accelerated Learning Programme. Designed to help overage students complete two years of education in just one year, this programme is developed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and assisted by UNICEF to ensure that vulnerable children can receive quality education.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Smart technology, smarter wells

EU funds UNICEF/Cambodian Government partnership to map wells with smartphones to enable access to critical information during emergencies

By Martina Tomassini

© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Martina Tomassini
Ly Khun tracks a well with smart technology in Prek Changkran Kram village, Prey Veng province.

PREY VENG, Cambodia, 9 April 2015 – Build an app to collect information on wells in a user-friendly way; train 80 district officials to use it; send the officials to five provinces across Cambodia to map key wells with a smartphone or tablet; and you have a cutting-edge web-based well assessment system to help save lives next time a flood hits.

The Water Point Mobile Data Collection System is a mobile well-mapping project jointly promoted by the European Union, UNICEF and the Cambodian Government to strengthen preparedness and build resilience in flood-prone areas. When floods occur, knowing which wells require assistance in a timely manner is critical. If data is aggregated in an easy-to-update well-monitoring system, authorities can make informed and timely decisions regarding relief and assistance. With an efficient data system, locating and identifying a well that needs repairing, and consequently the people who have lost access to water, is only a click away.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Children leading the way in mine risk education in Cambodia

by Chhaya Plong

© UNICEF/2014/Chhaya Plong
Vanna Sreymom, 17, (right) and her peer give a mine risk education lesson to students at Grand 4 in Chisang Primary School, Battambang province.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 4 April 2015 – My country, Cambodia, endured a long conflict in the recent past. Although the war has ended, we are still living with its consequences.

One of them is represented by landmines and other explosive weapons, which still litter our land decades after the violence ended. In 2013, 111 people were victims of these weapons, 23 of them children. As my country rebuilds itself, we are working to clear these weapons, keep our people safe, and provide assistance to those who have been affected by these explosives. UNICEF supports these efforts by implementing school mine risk education programmes; training teachers and government workers on how to help prevent incidents; providing learning materials; and helping local organizations to assist victims with disabilities.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Triggering disgust to save lives

By Anne-Sophie Galli
“Do you want to eat your neighbour’s poo?” Children participating in a ‘triggering session’ are disgusted to hear how their food and drink can be contaminated as a result of open-defecation.
© Ministry of Rural Development/2010   
KAMPONG THOM, Cambodia, 25 March 2015 – “Do you want to eat your neighbour’s poo?” asks UNICEF WASH Specialist and facilitator, Heng Santepheap to a group of community members. Everyone looks at him in stunned silence as he puts a plate of rice on the floor next to a pile of human faeces. Soon flies are swarming around the food and faeces, flitting between the two. Nearby, a chicken steps into another pile of poo and then steps into a house. “This is what happens every day”, says Santepheap. “And it won’t stop unless everyone works together.” The villagers then find their voices and start chattering all at once, commenting on what they have seen.