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
* 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
* 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.