The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 11 organisations involving $12.7 million in funding to improve the social affairs, social welfare, child welfare, anti-trafficking and disability work in Cambodia.

Ministry spokesman Touch Channy said the funds for the organisations would be in place until 2022 to assist the ministry’s core operations.

“This agreement focuses on the work of social welfare, child welfare, anti-trafficking and disability work across the Kingdom. The agreement with these organisations will also contribute to the work of our ministry on the development of government policy,” he said.

To date, apart from the 11 organisations, the ministry is also working with 134 other organisations, he noted.

“The 134 organisations, which have a budget of about $150 million, have supported the target work that the Ministry of Social Affairs is responsible for and contributed to helping society alongside the government and in line with its policies,” he said.

Channy said such agreements are crucial to improving the social affairs sectors in Cambodia.

He said all partner organisations must abide by the terms and conditions and only work on societal issues and not politics.

If the ministry discovers an organisation has failed to comply with the terms of the agreement by doing political work instead of the societal work, it will immediately terminate the agreement, he said.

The executive director of Damnok Toek, Sam Sovannarith, said his organisation would use $950,000 through the agreement from the EU and Unicef to implement projects in Banteay Meanchey, Kep and Prey Veng provinces to support child trafficking victims, children with disabilities, and abandoned and poor children.

“We will provide care and support services to victims by providing them with education and living arrangements until they graduate or gain vocational skills. Once they are over 18, we will reintegrate them into their communities,” he said.

Sovannarith said that Damnok Toek is currently caring for about 1,000 children in the three provinces.