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News on Youth Volunteer Network for Positive Change in Community

Promoting the Role of Youth in Development and

Community’s Resources Conservation
Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CVS) together with Youth Resources
Development Program (YRDP), American Friends Service Committee (ISLP/AFSC),
Fishery Action Coalition Team (FACT), and Fisheries Administration of Prash Sihanouk
province, NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) and Banteay Brey community
organized a training program and a educational field trip on the “Role of Youth in
Development and Community’s Resources Conservation”. Starting on June 12-16,
2010, the trip took active youth from different provinces, universities and the
community in CVS’s Phnom Penh office, to Banteay Brey fishery community in the
Andoung Tmor Commune, Prey Nup District, as well as Prash Sihanouk province. The
program was made possible with cooperation from working together, these
organizations provided opportunities for youths to learn and gain real experience in
social work within a local community that would strengthen their social knowledge
skills, critical thinking ability, and provide chances for the youth to analyze their own
personalities in efforts to become better leaders for their communities.
Notable personnel attending the Mangrove transplanting event on the
morning of June 15 were Mr. Doung Sam Ath, Chief of Administrative Fishery Official
of Sihanouk province, Mr. Pen Somony, Executive Director of CVS, Deputy Prey Nup
District Governor, Commune Chief, Representatives of Civil Society in Sihanouk
province, monks, key members of the Prey Nup district, and youth volunteers from all
around Cambodia, bringing the total number of participants to around 135 persons.

Mangrove transplanting celebration, awareness and handing mangroves to youth volunteers

As Spoken by: Mr. Doung Sam Ath, Chief Official of the Fishery Administration
of Sihanouk province:
“The youth participants in this event were actively aware of their
responsibilities to strengthen and empower the local and costal communities, and for
better management in the fishing industries to provide more sustainability for the
future generations that depend on these resources. Mangrove transplanting, today, is
one of the main mechanisms that the youth volunteer networks utilize in order to
contribute their personal resources and energy for improving the livelihood of the
community, environmental protection, and understanding the community’s natural
resources management. More importantly, mangroves are very important for
addressing tourism as well as environmental protection of marine resources that the
people and animals need for support daily life. Hereby, the community youth and
News on Youth Volunteer Network for Positive Change in Community
other local stakeholders are educated and instructed in ways of managing community
resources along with resource sustainability.”

Moreover, Mr. Vann No, Chief of Andoung Tmor Commune, mentions that
youth capacity building via educational field trips focuses on the understanding about
the benefits of planting mangroves, working skills, and experience exchange gained
through voluntary action while contributing to the improvement of the local
community’s livelihood. Improvement and awareness about the preservation of
natural resources and mangrove transplanting has been raised by the Fishery Flooded
Forest Protection Community. They claim that extensive damage has been done to the
flooded (mangrove) forest in the area and that there is now a need to involve crisis
management plans in dealing with the mangrove supply. This is result of illegal fishing
in the area, as well as extensive actions in the past by people and companies cutting
the mangroves in order to produce charcoal and firewood. The Forestry
Administration and communities are currently trying to deal with this big problem, as
a reduced number of mangroves also mean reduced amounts of fish in the water.
Transplanting and awareness of these resource issues are keys in the mangrove’s
conservation. CVS and the other acting NGO’s in this event aim to help to reduce the
effects of this problem by utilizing and educating the youth in efforts to establish a
group of people interested in preserving the mangroves, as well as seeing the
problems of the communities eased.

In addition, Mr. Pen Somony, Executive Director of CVS, confirmed that the
activities are very important for the youth in how it helps them learn about the local
community’s methods for resource protection and use. Within many of these
communities, the mangroves are an important and invaluable resource for them,
especially for their future wellbeing. The participating youths are showing their
commitment and contribution and time via their volunteer work with mangrove
transplanting. Also, these actions show the youth’s understanding and desire to
participate in resource conservation on behalf of the community. This shows their
ability to accept high amounts of responsibility which have reflecting about in actions
such as environmental protection, community development, and concern for marine
habitat natural resources. Moreover, this activity will be a new model for local
community youth activist in the area to follow. Hopefully, the youth can take up the
message that we are trying to demonstrate here in that “volunteers for mangroves, as
mangroves are for all of us”.

Youth volunteers transplanting mangroves in community’s protected area

News on Youth Volunteer Network for Positive Change in Community
Therefore, via the learning opportunities and real-world experience in social
work that was provided to the youth and other participants, new knowledge was
spread that will hopefully lead to positive developments within the local communities
and about natural and fishery resources. With understanding of these issues, youth can
strengthen and build up their capacity in their ability to with host organization and
communities as well as communication skills in sharing their ideas and knowledge
gained from such activities. At the same time, these activities are demonstrating about
the roles that youth and local community people must take in their community’s
development and resources conservation. From this, a new social model of care and
concern for the community through youth brainstorming can be used to create higher
levels of understanding on important social issues.

These activities are very important for Cambodian society on a whole, as it

provides contributions and developments in critical thinking, analysis skills, and real
practice in social order, all in efforts to improve communities’ livelihood, resource
protection, and youth motivation.

Texted by Mr. Som Monorum, CVS’s Program Officer &

Mr. Travis Brooks Sloan, Texas State University, USA