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EU donates election equipment

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In addition to its annual 30 million euro donation to the government, the EU donated some $180,000 worth of secondhand equipment used by election observers to Cambodian NGOs

HENG CHIVOAN

EC Charge D’Affaires Rafael Dochao Moreno hands over EU equipment at a ceremony Wednesday.

The European Union  donated equipment used by the recent EU election observer team valued at over US$180,000 to 17 Cambodian NGOs at a presentation ceremony at the Cambodiana Hotel Wednesday.

The donation, which included secondhand laptop computers, mobile telephones and office furniture, was presented to NGOs active in a wide range of areas, from childcare to rural development.

"It gives me great fulfillment to support Cambodian's NGOs," said Rafael Dochao Moreno, charge d'affaires at the delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia.

He added that the main role of NGOs is to inform Cambodian citizens of their rights and duties, to represent the vulnerable groups, and to further the economic and democratic development of Cambodia.

Moreno said that the EU has been a big supporter of Cambodian civil society and that this is not the EU's first donation to local NGOs.

"No other international institution, no other country, gives as much to civil society groups, to Cambodian NGO groups. There will be many other donations. We're not lending money to the government; it's given to the people," Moreno said.

The EU is providing support not only in the fields of good governance and human rights, but also in the education and health sectors and sees its support for local organisations as a means of helping the most isolated sections of Cambodia's population, Moreno said.

"The best way to fight [poverty] is to work with handicapped people and in rural areas where there are many victims of land-grabbing. We're also working to stop discrimination against women and children, to help the most marginalised."

Besides the money donated to the NGOs, the EU supports the Cambodian government and its ministries by donating around 30 million euros annually.

"If you compare the size of what the EU gives to the Cambodian government with what we're giving here, this doesn't seem like much," Moreno said.

"But this small amount is important to the 17 NGOs because even if they get just two, three, five computers, they can do a lot with them."

Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of NGO Forum, said that all the equipment donated by the EU is important and will help the organisations' work go more smoothly.

Prom Kim Chhang, executive director of the Happy Children Organization in Battambang, said that he is grateful to the EU for the donation. 

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