Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Staff at Somaly Mam partner decries cuts

Staff at Somaly Mam partner decries cuts

Staff at Somaly Mam partner decries cuts

Facing a budget roughly halved by the Somaly Mam Foundation’s decision last month to terminate its funding, employees of Cambodian NGO Agir Pour Les Femmes en Situation Precaire (AFESIP) have released an open letter publicly condemning the move.

In a statement published on Friday but only widely circulated yesterday, 20 Phnom Penh-based employees of what SMF only recently described as their “closest partner on the ground”, suggest that SMF donors consider rerouting funds directly to AFESIP Cambodia.

AFESIP was founded in 1996 by Mam, who has been forced to step down from her foundation amid a growing scandal.

“[The] staff of AFESIP Cambodia would like to condemn their irresponsible and inhuman decision to cut down fund[ing] managed by SMF management and [the] Board of Directors in the United States and would like [SMF executive director] Gina [Reiss-Wilchins] to reconsider [this] mistaken decision,” the letter reads.

Reiss-Wilchins informed the organisation on June 12 that all funding from SMF was to be terminated immediately, according to a statement posted to AFESIP’s website on Wednesday by executive director Chhoeurth Sao.

“We don’t even know if we’re going to be paid our salary this month,” said Uong Chheng yesterday, an AFESIP program director, adding that the group cares for some 170 children.

AFESIP received $2.2 million in funding from SMF between 2007 and 2012. Over half of AFESIP’s reported grant income in 2012 was allocated by the SMF.

Mam’s resignation from SMF last month came days after Newsweek published an article alleging that key parts of her story had been fabricated.

Last week, Stephanie Lorenzo, CEO for anti-trafficking NGO Project Futures, which has fiscally supported AFESIP for the past five years, also announced she will be meeting with the organisation to discuss their relationship “moving forward”.

“We’re worried about the women and children living in our centres. What will happen to them if all the money disappears?” Uong said.

The SMF did not respond to requests for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the

  • Royal Group's Koh Rong luxury hotel officially opens

    The Royal Sands Koh Rong hotel on Monday marked its official launch as the first luxury resort on Cambodia’s most visited island. Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the inauguration of the hotel, which has been open since December, and features rooms priced at