A group of US and Cambodian Scholars from Pennsylvania State University have created the multidisciplinary project, “Women in Agriculture Network (WAgN): Cambodia” to teach Cambodian women farmers how to change their farming techniques for more beneficial outcomes. The project places particular value on native Cambodian plants that thrive throughout the year, even during wet- and dry-season food gaps. WAgN also analyses Cambodian women’s roles in agriculture, and the notion that the “feminization” of agriculture does not coincide with an improved quality of life for Cambodian women. Researchers at WAgN believe that their project has the potential to augment the societal status of Combodian women and improve their quality of life. Photo Credit: Penn State
Growing up in the Ratanakiri province of northern Cambodia, Veit Phumi spent her childhood living amongst the lush forests and biodiversity native to her region. However, the dispersal of Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) to rubber tree and palm oil companies by the Cambodian government has threatened the vitality of these old-growth forests, in which 95% of local people depend upon. In response to the unequitable reallocation of 80,000 hectares of Phumni’s hometown’s land, Phumni and other community members have founded the O’Koki Community Protected Area. Now a Community Protected Area (CPA), the area has now been recognized with a decree from the Cambodian Ministry of Environment and operates as a community-led protection agency. Photo Credit: Savann Oeurm/Oxfam
Phorn Sopheak is an environmental activist and member of Northern Rural Development (NRD) and Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN), a grassroot movement to protect Prey Lang Forest in Cambodia. Sopheak started working with her parents in the field at very young age and observed the illegal deforestation and logging in her area, as well as the chemical factories which dumped waste into the river and killed many species of fishes. After raising her voice against illegal loggers, she was brutally slashed in the foot with ax in an act of intimidation. Following the attack, Phorn Sopheak declared that the attack only made her stronger to fight for environment. She was awarded with UN Equator Prize at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015 for her efforts to protect her regions ecosystems, and spread knowledge via the Women On Air radio program. Photo Credit: Savann Oeurm / Oxfam America
Men tend to dominate membership in community forest stewardship meetings in the Kratie Province of Cambodia - but women are slowly challenging the traditional social order. Ms. Khuon Doeurn has supported women in her community to join forest stewardship committees and engage in community decision-making processes. More and more women are using their Indigenous knowledge and skills to protect community forests. Photo credit: RECOFTC-Cambodia
Women leaders of the Kouy Indigenous people in Cambodia, who depend on their forests for their livelihoods collecting and selling tree resin, are taking action to protect their land against illegal logging. In the process, they have upset traditional gender roles and expanded women’s decision-making power. Photo credit: Asia Indigenous People’s Pact
Yorm Bopha and Tim Sakmony, are the latest targets of the Cambodian authorities’ attempt to intimidate Cambodia’s human rights defenders and social activists. Bopha and Sakmony, have protested against forced evictions in Phnom Penh and were both arrested in 2012 on false accusations. Both women have been detained before their trial, which is unwarranted under Cambodian law. In view of the Cambodian authorities’ established record of abuse of the law and misuse of the courts to prosecute social activists and human rights defenders for their legitimate exercise of basic human rights. international organizations have stated that the legal actions against Bopha and Sakmony are motivated by their involvement in protests and campaigns on behalf of the land and housing rights of the Boeung Kak and Borei Keila communities.