Child protection group Friends International last week scooped a gold award at the World Tourism Awards in the category of “Best Responsible Tourism” for a project that aims to counter child abuse through awareness campaigns and a 24-hour abuse emergency hotline.
Executive Director Sebastien Marot said that Friends was “delighted” to have received the award for its ChildSafe Movement project, which it established in 2005.
“It’s a testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment to protecting children shown by the ChildSafe team,” Marot said.
Last year ChildSafe provided outreach services to 9,753 children and young people and reunited 220 separated children with their families.
Friends’ award came as part of a double whammy, with environmental non-profit Sam Veasna Centre (SVC) also garnering gold in the “Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation” category.
SVC encourages communities to abandon harmful hunting practices by offering training in eco-tourism in return for community members signing no-hunting agreements.
Ross Sinclair – country director of Wildlife Conservation Society, a partner organisation to SVC since its inception 15 years ago – said eco-tourism projects such as SVC have contributed to the preservation of one million hectares of Cambodian habitats.