2017 Let's Read
From June 1, 2015 to April 24, 2017
Target: To engage with district and local authorities and relevant stakeholders in Tram Kak district (a rural district of Cambodia with 144,032 inhabitants) to establish the first library and educational resource center in the district, raise awareness to improve sanitation and set up 9 toilets in 5 selected villages, and increase public understanding for prevention of traffic accidents.
Target avg age
Sustainable Development Goal
Education and Economic Empowerment
Let’s Read project has the goal of enhancing well-being of citizens in one rural district of Cambodia populated by 144,032 inhabitants, and is particularly focused on mobilization of local authorities and stakeholders for a sustained and long-term improvement of literacy and quality of primary education (primary objective), enhancement of health and sanitation (secondary objective), prevention of sexual violence against girls (secondary objective) and reduction of mortality caused by traffic accidents (secondary objective).
“Let’s Read” is a multi-sectorial project led by JCI Chaktomuk Chapter which aims to promote long-term sustainable development in one target rural area of Cambodia: Tram Kak district. Our focus is to address some of the basic needs in our target area and to engage with local authorities, as well as with other stakeholders and citizens, to ensure that our project addresses the most important development challenges in the target area and provides a long-term solution to those.
While our main focus was on cooperating with local authorities and stakeholders for the establishment of the first educational resource center for the whole Tram Kak district, we also undertook some additional activities, such as setting up of 9 toilets for improved sanitation and prevention of sexual assaults against girls, and undertaking awareness raising events for better health, sanitation and prevention of traffic accidents. We engaged with a number of district and commune authorities -including district officials from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports-, teachers, children and their parents, and ordinary citizens, to ensure that our project’s deliverables are sustained and have impact over a long-term period which goes beyond the timeframe of our project implementation.
According to latest data from the World Bank, the poverty rate in Cambodia in 2014 was 13.5 percent. About 90 percent of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty were only able to do so by a small margin, thus around 4.5 million people are near-poor.
Education remains an important challenge and development priority for Cambodia. The World Bank also indicates that, while net enrollment in primary education increased from 82 percent in 1997 to 97 percent in 2016, at lower secondary completion rates at 43 percent in 2013 are significantly below the average for lower middle-income countries. 79 percent of Cambodia’s population (12.3 million people) do not have access to piped water supply and 58 percent (9.3 million people) do not have access to improved sanitation (2015).
According to the Violence against Children National Survey (Unicef 2014), 5 percent of Cambodian girls have suffered from sexual abuse prior to age 18. Girls who experience sexual abuse are more likely to commit suicide and suffer from other health issues (depression, STDs infection, alcohol and drugs abuse, etc.). Modern toilets which are differentiated by sex and built close to girls’ households contribute to reduce the risk of suffering sexual assaults.
Traffic accidents are one of the leading cause of death in Cambodia. In 2015, traffic accidents killed 2,265 people and injured more than 15,000, 40 percent of whom were seriously injured, according to the Cambodia's Institute for Road Safety.
Our project focus was on addressing the above problems in one target rural area: Tram Kak district (144,032 inhabitants), which is one of the most impoverished districts of the 10 districts of Takeo province (844,906 inhabitants). Cambodia’s total population is estimated at 15,762,370 (Ministry of Planning, 2016).
Our project was sponsored by 15 private companies and supported by three international JCI chapters: JCI United Penang (Malaysia), JCI Medical Team (Japan) and JCI Seadegou (South Korea).
The following milestones were achieved by “Let’s Read”:
• Agreement with and endorsement by district officials from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, commune authorities, directors and teachers from 3 schools, was formalized with JCI-Chaktomouk to establish the educational center in Tram-Kak-district and ensure its maintenance and use by citizens and students.
• The first ever library and educational center in Tram-Kak-district was established and fully equipped with 765 books and furniture
• School-material-packages were distributed to teachers from 3-primary-schools and 1,000 students from poverty families. Each package for students included writing books,color pencils, 2 soaps, toothpaste and a set of pencil case.Study package for each teacher included books and clothes.
• 9 toilets were built in 5 villages to improve sanitation and prevent sexual assaults against girls.
• 2-public-events were organized in Tram Kak district by 38-JCI-members and volunteers with local authorities and hundreds of citizens (including teachers, students and parents) to promote about importance of literacy, basic health habit. JCI National President joined one of the events.
• 200-helmets were disseminated to citizens and teachers.
• First-aid kits were provided to 3-primary-schools.
• Journalists from 6 national newspapers and TV channels were invited to the 2-events in Tram-Kak-disctrict. This news articles about “Let’s Read” project which were published by the media later on. Media were also invited to other fundraising events (“Cowboy Night”) in Phnom Penh.
• Facebook page for project was created were uploaded picture and news onto social media channels (Facebook) of JCI-Cambodia.
• 40-JCI-volunteers were engaged. These volunteers didn't only invested their time and energy, but also committed to be part of JCI Cambodia and support other projects in future.
• Meeting with the UN-Resident-Coordinator in Cambodia (Ms. Claire) to explain her and her team about “Let’s Read”and the other 3 projects of JCI-Chaktomuk.
In order to promote more sustainability and long-term impact, we would need to work closer with district and local authorities and build their capacities so they are more empowered and competent to negotiate an increase of national and provincial budget which is allocated to cover the needs of the citizens living in the target district. However, we have identified this as a priority for 2018 so the “Let’s Read” project will be able to strengthen and build capacities of local authorities further.