CARE announces closure of provincial office after nearly 20 years
8 Sep 2017
Today CARE Cambodia announced the closure of its Koh Kong Field Office. A number of CARE’s key projects in the province have come to an end in the past few months. As CARE’s work will continue through partners there is no longer a need for the organisation to have a physical presence.
CARE has worked in Koh Kong province for almost 20 years, supporting a number of humanitarian and development programs. These initially focused on education, HIV/AIDs, disaster preparedness & response and livelihoods, shifting more recently to prioritise women’s economic empowerment, maternal & child health and women’s voice.
CARE has managed upwards of 20 projects in Koh Kong since 2000, representing cumulative funding of over $27 million dollars. CARE’s work has contributed to some impressive changes within communities. Some of the most recent include:
Many rural farmers have developed reliable, resilient sources of income: CARE has supported women to adapt how they farm their land and raise their livestock to ensure they have successful ways of earning income which can withstand the impacts of climate change, as well as supporting access to water. Women such as Thy found that they were not affected by drought in 2016 as they had adapted how they farm and plan.
Women’s incomes have increased and they can choose to work from home: Nearly 60% of women who joined a recent CARE project now earn more than the minimum wage for garment workers, meaning women such as Khendo not have to face the decision of whether to leave their children and migrate to find work elsewhere.
Households are saving more: Over 2000 women are members of community savings groups set up by CARE. As of August 2017 they collectively had over $336,000 in savings!
Communities are better connected to their local health services: Local health volunteers are better skilled and health centre outreach services have improved, meaning more women are seeking professional care for key health needs such as delivery of their babies.
Health staff skills are continuously improving: Midwives are meeting regularly and have improved their ability to ensure mothers and babies stay healthy.
Communities are empowered to raise their voices to improve local services: CARE and its partners have opened channels of communication for community members to engage with their local authorities to ensure their schools, health centres and other commune services are of a high standard.
Women are empowered to become leaders in their communities: CARE’s training in areas such as health, agriculture and financial skills have improved women’s confidence and enabled women to rise to prominence within their communities. One women who started out as a Village Health Volunteer, trained by CARE over a decade ago, is now the chief of her commune!
CARE’s role in these improvements has been acknowledged by many partners, including the local government departments worked with closely over the years. In 2016, Mrs. Ok Savin, Deputy Director of Animal Health and Production Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said, “I strongly support CARE’s activities promoting and improving women’s lives and status at community level.” Mr. Tov Moeng, Koh Kong Provincial Health Department Director, said, “CARE’s work under the GSK 20% reinvestment initiative has significantly contributed to the development of health sector in Cambodia, particularly in Koh Kong province”.
CARE’s work in the province has been supported by a number of donors, including many years of investment by the Australian Government and, more recently, funding from corporate partners such as Gap, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline. The organisation hopes that the significant impacts of CARE’s work in these areas will continue to be felt in Koh Kong long after the office closes and will continue to be supported by its partners.