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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Diverse beneficiaries win motor company grants

Diverse beneficiaries win motor company grants


Po Tieng receives her project cheque from Kevin Whitcraft, managing director of RM Asia Group.

The Ford Motor Company has announced the recipients of its second annual Cambodia

conservation and environmental grants, totalling $40,000.

Funding comes from US-based Ford Foundation ($30,000) and Ford dealer R M Asia Co

($10,000). The grants were awarded to nine projects:

* Reforestation, Po Tieng, $8000: This project in the flood-prone province of Pursat

is aimed at engaging the local community to plant and grow new trees, while protecting

existing trees in order to conserve the national environment and habitat for wild

animals. The fund will be used to purchase seeds, planting and caring for seedlings

in an area covering 100 hectares.

* Culture of the Khmer-Surin People, Michel Tranet, $8000: this project involves

research on the culture of Khmer-Surin people living in the northeast of Thailand

who are in danger of extinction. The project aims to promote conservation of unique

culture, literature, beliefs and traditional ceremonies indigenous to the Khmer-Surin


* Site Mapping and Cultural Dissemination, Phon Cheakosal $4400: the site mapping

project is centered on the Sre Ampil pagoda in Kandal province. The project will

cover the identification and mapping of the location of existing mounds, in order

to document these historical cultural sites for continued research and excavation.

The project also intends to educate the local community about the Khmer history and


* Khmer Heritage Conservation, Kong Sinak, $4500: The Capacity Building Organization

of Handicapped Cambodia (CBOHC) aims to promote Khmer silk weaving industry as a

sustainable source of income. The project will involve the planting and growing of

mulberry trees, raising silk worms, spinning silk threads, and learning design and

weaving skills.

* Sisophon Cultural Heritage Management, Chy Rotha, $7000: This is the second phase

of a project funded by Ford in 2002. Following excavation in the Donnoy, Phom Bantoatboh

and Phom Tadong sites, the additional funding will be used for construction of a

museum to house the artifacts. The museum will also serve as an information and educational

center for the local community.

* Rites of Passage, Sun Chandeb, $1000: this research focuses on the Khmer ceremony

called Chol Mlop, which is the traditional rite of passage for young girls when they

reach puberty. The ritual aspects of this tradition are no longer practiced and may

be disappearing. The grant will fund field studies in rural districts including Prasam,

Sandek, Prayuk villages in Tumnop and Kampong Cham province.

* Biogas to Reduce Environmental Pollution, Hi Nan, $1600: to educate farmers on

the benefits of biogas, obtained from animal excrement. The environmentally sustainable

fuel resource can be used for daily household chores such as cooking. The grants

will be used to construct a biogas collection structure that can be shared by the

whole community.

* Future Light Orphanage, Nuon Phally, $3000: supporting the orphanage's need for

resources, skills training, health education in order to provide better care and

development for its children. Funds will be used to purchase training equipment for

sewing and tailoring, arts and handicraft courses.

* Republishing book on the environment, Betrice Montariol and Hok Sithik, $2500:

this project is to encourage reading among teenagers, particularly the appreciation

of nature and the environment, through the book title "The nature of our country".

The book brings to life the diverse natural environment of Cambodia and talks about

the importance of protection and conservation. The Ford fund will contribute to the

printing of 5,000 copies of the book.

Carol Grakul, district manager for Ford Asia-Pacific direct market operations, said

following the successful 2002 pilot program Ford had received 144 applications for

grants, more than double the previous year.

The head of the grant judging panel, Son Soubert, said the level of interest "demonstrates

that Cambodian people do care strongly about the issue of conservation and preservation

of Khmer culture, heritage and natural environment. These projects submitted should

become a source of inspiration and encouragement to all Khmer citizens. We had a

tough job in deciding the nine winning projects."

The ceremony was attended by Princess Bopha Devi, Minister of Culture and Fine Art;

Mok Mareth, Minister of the Environment; and Charles Ray, the United States Ambassador.



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