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

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last