Roeum Socheat, a Cambodian farmer who volunteered with the Voluntary Service Overseas won the “Volunteer Impact Award 2019” in London, UK, last week for his work with around 200 farmers as a community volunteer in Battambang.
The award was presented to him at a ceremony held last Tuesday by international NGO Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) in London. He was one of the five winners out of 20 finalists chosen from over 100 nominations across 25 developing countries. He won in “The Livelihood Volunteer Award” category.
VSO said Socheat was involved in the Improving Market Access for the Poor (IMA4P) project, where he worked directly with around 200 farmers in his Raing Kesei commune, in Battambang’s Sangke district.
VSO Cambodia staff member Sovanvatey Khuon said Socheat was the voice of VSO in the community to support logistical project arrangements and he also delivered the “train the trainer” session.
He started his volunteer work with VSO in mid-2017 and had become instrumental in enabling the two cornerstone initiatives of IMA4P project success which included the sustainable rice platform contract farming.
In the awards announcement, VSO said Socheat had built trust and forged relationships between farmers, agricultural cooperatives and millers, and had ensured each party understands the others’ priorities and challenges.
“As a farmer himself, he helped demonstrate the value of sustainable rice platform by applying his technical understanding to his land, helping to build the community’s confidence around its adoption,” VSO said.
VSO CEO Dr Philip Goodwin said at the awards ceremony that the Volunteer Impact Awards served as a yearly reminder of the power of putting people at the centre.
“I hope, as we come together tonight to celebrate these volunteers’ incredible achievements, you find their stories as inspiring as I have done. It truly shows what we can achieve when we work together,” he said.
Socheat told The Post on Monday that with the support of VSO, he had gained knowledge of rice production with the focus on safety and sustainability, and selling products between farmers and rice millers.
“I am happy to receive this international award in London. It encourages me to continue my work and proves that I have helped to improve the community,” he said.