Cambodia

Dam the Fish

“I prefer the dam to the fish,” says middle-aged farmer Ton Noun, when asked his opinion on a proposed 400 megawatt dam on Sesan river near his home in northeastern Cambodia. Then he chuckles and asks, “What fish?”

Skateboarding Can Be Empowering

An array of colourful quarter pipes, bank ramps and a fun box come to life as a clutch of Cambodian youngsters do balancing tricks, kick-flips and kick turns. The all-girl session at a skating facility near the Russian Market here is facilitated by 20-year-old Kov Chansangva, popularly known as Tin.

Sometimes, Sex Work is the Least Bad

“We are not saying that all people become sex workers, but you make more money,” Virak Horn, a 32-year-old gay sex worker who works freelance in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, tells IPS. He earns enough to support his family and pay for his college degree.

Some Rice, Served With Rainwater

The quiet Cambodian village of Chouk, set in the beautiful forests of the Cardamom Mountains near the Thai border, seems peaceful. But things are difficult in this largely empty village of simple wooden houses, populated mainly by children and the elderly.

One Recipe for the Homeless

Following the death of his parents when he was just four, Samlain Chey, now 22, found himself living on the streets along the river near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Until he met a social worker from Mith Samlanh.

Cambodian Youth Look for Change

As Cambodia readies for general elections Sunday Jul. 28, the youth, who make up 36 percent of the country have signaled they are eager for ‘change.’

Faulty Voter Rolls Could Undermine Cambodia’s July Elections

With the Cambodian national assembly elections fast approaching on Jul. 28, local and international organisations are expressing concerns about the fairness and transparency of the electoral system.

Dams Threaten Mekong Basin Food Supply

The future of food security in the Mekong region lies at a crossroads, as several development ventures, including the Xayaburi Hydropower Project, threaten to alter fish migration routes, disrupt the flow of sediments and nutrients downstream, and endanger millions whose livelihoods depend on the Mekong River basin's resources.

Cambodia’s Opposition Fights Back

The violence that defined Cambodia during the years of the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979) may have been relegated to the realm of history, but the actions of the ruling party ahead of the Jul. 28 election smack of the dirty politics that once ruled this Southeast Asian country.

New Effort Targets the Leading Killers of Children

PATH, a Seattle-based global health development organisation, is aiming to save two million lives by 2015 by jointly tackling diarrhea and pneumonia, the leading killers of children globally.

Migrant Workers Face Tough Times in Thailand

On the outskirts of the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, a group of twelve migrant families lives in a makeshift camp comprised of houses constructed from scrap metal.

Sugar Playing Catch-Up With Spice

Dotted with rice fields flanked by palm trees, Cambodia’s southeastern province of Kampong Speu is nothing short of picturesque. But behind the idyllic exterior is an on-going struggle to turn this region’s natural beauty into a global attraction and improve the lot of poor local farmers, as the neighbouring beachside Kampot province did just three years ago.

No Rest for Weary Massage Workers

Times are tough in this Southeast Asian nation of 14 million people, where over 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line of a dollar a day. Formal employment is hard to come by and many workers find themselves drifting in the murky waters of the “informal” market, where wages are unregulated and labour laws are seldom honoured.

Land Is Life, and It’s Slipping Away

Nean Narin, a humble man and father of three children, says his family is going hungry. Narin lives in the village of Boeung Kak, situated on the edge of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. For years, he and other villagers relied on the Boeung Kak Lake for fish and plants, which they would eat and sell.

Better to Ride These Bikes Than Make Them

Cambodia’s export business is in the process of changing due to shifts in manufacturing in Asia. A business publication in the country has reported unexpected growth in the “machinery and transport equipment” sector and speculated it was as “probably bicycles.” But when Cambodia jumped into the top ten exporters of bicycles to the EU in 2012, it prompted the European Bicycle Manufacturers’ Association (EBMA) to investigate.

Can Cambodia Trade its Way out of LDC Status?

As one of the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs), Cambodia is afforded the most beneficial trade ranking to the European Union (EU) under the generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) known as the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.

Cambodian Activists Challenge ASEAN Policies

For a brief moment last month, mainstream international media turned the spotlight on Cambodia, one of the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs), as a high-level visit from U.S. President Barack Obama and the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gave this country of 14.3 million people a glamorous edge.

Cambodia’s Hydro Plans Carry Steep Costs

The Cambodian government has committed to the construction of two dams along the Mekong River in order to meet a huge demand for electricity, but environmental groups warn that severe repercussions loom for this strategy.

Disputes Arise Over Cambodia’s Killer Illness

The deaths of dozens of Cambodian children in recent months from an initially undiagnosed disease has highlighted the difficult balancing act between informing the public and potentially provoking panic.

Cambodian Opposition Plans to Wake Up

Cambodia’s fragmented opposition parties are promising to work together, rather than compete against each other for votes in the next election. All it took was another crushing victory at the polls by the country’s ruling party.

U.N. Meet Holds Governments to Account on Women’s Equality

In 2008, delegates meeting for the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) agreed that much greater investments in women and gender equality were a critical – and overlooked – aspect of sustainable development.

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