Thursday, October 23, 2014

What about boys? Debunking myths about sexual violence against children in Cambodia

By Martina Tomassini

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 22 October 2014 — No, in Cambodia it does not happen to girls and women only: boys too are victims of sexual violence and we need to protect and help them. This is the crystal clear message that transpires from my conversation with Socheat Nong — a soft-spoken 32 year-old social worker, researcher and trainer who works with First Step Cambodia (FSC),one of the few NGOs in Cambodia focusing on the needs of male victims and survivors of sexual abuse.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A song prompts children to drink safe water

By Anne-Sophie Galli

© UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Anne-Sophie Galli
School director Sun Sihorn (left) sings the arsenic song every morning with her students and teachers.

KAMPONG CHAM, Cambodia, 29 July 2014 – For most Cambodians, drinking water carries many risks. Their water contains bacteria, parasites or arsenic. Sun Sihorn was 17 when she suffered from the risks of unsafe water, fell ill with a high fever and thought she would die. That was in the late 1970s, when Cambodia was under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. “We were forced to work on rice fields all day long”, she says. “There, we drank water directly from ponds and had no time to boil it.” Today, Sun Sihorn is 53 and she is using her near-death experience to teach others about water-related diseases. In Cambodia, diarrhoea is still the second biggest cause of death for children under 5 years old. Most of these deaths can be prevented by drinking treated bottled water or by boiling or filtering water from ponds, rivers, or groundwater wells themselves, to kill bacteria. “Many know about boiling but they think it’s not important or it takes too much time”, says Sun Sihorn.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My favourite part of the training? The poo calculation tool!

By Martina Tomassini

© UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Martina Tomassini
In Damrei Chhlang village, health focal point Theara (23) is learning how to help others
in her community prepare for and respond to floods.
SIEM REAP, Cambodia, 18 September 2014 – In Damrei Chhlang village, Theara, a young lady with a gentle smile and a strong commitment to community engagement, giggles when asked, “what part of the training did you enjoy the most?”. Then, without hesitation, she replies, “The poo calculation tool!”. The importance of using toilets is one of the key components of the training she is completing along with 15 other village health focal points in Siem Reap province.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Village health volunteer educates pregnant women on antenatal care and birth

By Navy Kieng

Kampong Thom, Cambodia, 2 September 2014 – In the remote Cambodian village of Porproak, mothers and pregnant women sit quietly on the ground under a wooden house listening intently at a session organised by village health volunteer, Mrs. Sophy. On a chair in front of the group she holds up pictures and explains what antenatal care services are, and how to prepare for birth. When she asks what the women learned from the session, it is amazing to see her audience enthusiastically engage with each other to provide the answers.

© UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Navy Kieng
Mrs. Sophy, the village health volunteer, explains pregnancy to women in her village.

Porproak is a hard-to-reach village in Kampong Thom province, three kilometres from Protaong health centre and 78 kilometres from the provincial town. Most families in this medium-sized village of 516 people are farmers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Providing safe water and livelihoods in Cambodia

By Anne-Sophie Galli

© UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Anne-Sophie Galli
Song Vannara found a stable daily job: He distributes tanks with clean water to his community.
KANDAL, Cambodia, July 2014 –When Song Vannara was 23 years old, he stopped believing in his future. After repeating many grades at secondary school, he eventually dropped out. His classmates were sometimes ten years younger than him. “I always had to work in sugar cane fields to support my family”, Song Vannara says. “So, I never had time to study.” He thought that, just like his parents and three siblings, he would be a labourer for the rest of his life, struggling to survive on $5 a day.