Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN gives volleyball NGO thumbs up

UN gives volleyball NGO thumbs up

UN gives volleyball NGO thumbs up

The United Nations has recognized the efforts of a local NGO using sport to integrate

landmine survivors back into society.

The Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled) or CNVLD, the country's only

professional sports program, earned "best practice" status after a worldwide

review in 2005, the International Year of Sport.

"More than anything, it shows that Cambodia can provide solutions to burning

international issues like the consequences of landmines and past civil conflict,"

said CNVLD General Secretary Chris Minko. "That is the unique power of sport."

Seventy percent of CNVLD athletes are landmine amputees, while others are victims

of polio or traffic accidents. To avoid encouraging dependency, athletes are given

subsidies on training and transport instead of salaries.

"Sport is a means to improve one's personal life and well-being," said

Minko. "When that happens, the athlete's self-esteem is restored enough to get

out there and find work. Over 60 percent of our athletes are now employed."

UN Development Programme Cambodia spokesperson Dain Bolwell said his organization's

report on the International Year of Sport highlighted the importance of sport in

reaching the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to reduce worldwide poverty

by 2015.

"In Cambodia, CNVLD is a wonderful and inspiring example of how this can be

done," he said.

Since its inception in 1999, the league has evolved into a 16-club nationwide training

and competition program with an elite team currently ranked fourth in the world.

It has also spawned a female wheelchair-racing league.

The volleyball league is now entirely managed by Cambodians, and Minko says too few

foreign organizations are following that example, with 60 percent of foreign aid

being spent outside Cambodia on "technical support."

"I think INGOs have to look at themselves and ask why they haven't localized

after being here, in some cases, for 15 years. The reality is that many of them feed

off Cambodia's poverty; it is their marketing angle, their capital base."

This week, CNVLD will sign a memorandum of understanding with the government, which

will enable the construction of more provincial disabled sports facilities and help

secure Cambodia's reputation as the ASEAN center for disabled sports development

programs.

"Cambodia is the logical home for disabilities sports within the ASEAN region

because it has the highest ratio of disabled people in the world," Minko said.

The memorandum will also give CNVLD the right to tour the exhibition To be Deter-mined

- At Arms Length internationally in 2007.

The exhibition, to be launched in Canada, uses essays, photographs and installations

to show how Cambodia is coping with landmine and rehabilitation issues. Featuring

new work by photographer Al Rockoff, it will tour countries that have known civil

conflict, like Ireland and Kosovo.

By working closer with the government, Minko hopes CVNLD'S practices can rub off

on Cambodia's "corruption-plagued able-bodied sports system."

"CVNLD has received international recognition as a role model for cost efficiency,

transparency and impact with disabled people," he said. "I will recommend

the government link with international sports governing bodies and start to implement

international standards."

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’