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Australia backs small business projects

The Australian Embassy has demonstrated its continued commitment to small-scale community

development projects in Cambodia.

A grant of $27,000 was announced on February 9 to support community development projects

under its Direct Aid Program (DAP). Karen Lanyon Deputy Head of Mission said the

Embassy encourages NGOs and community groups to approach the embassy about what they

need and take advantage of the programs.

NGOs and community groups can apply for a grant under DAP for amounts up to $6000

to support activities over a 12 month period. Activities in which the beneficiaries

and/or NGO make a significant contribution in terms of labour, material and funds

will be particularly well received.

Lanyon is enthusiastic about the potential of these programs to give disadvantaged

people options to build a better future. "Because they are small scale, flexible

and focused we can make a real difference to communities around the country, especially

communities at risk," she said. "It's all about giving people alternatives

and empowerment."

DAP funding has helped a variety of communities at risk, including providing safe

drinking water in Takeo, assistance to trafficked children in Battambang, vocational

training for women and teenagers on the streets of Kampong Speu and Kandal and assistance

to AIDS treatment centres and Hospitals in Phnom Penh and Kep.

The embassy has already funded 11 community development projects worth $60,000 during

2003-04 under DAP and plans to continue small-scale grants in 2004-05. Although the

grants make a big difference to small communities, they represent just a tiny portion

of the $US44.4 million Australian aid budget in Cambodia.

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