photo credit: Christine Redmond
Faced with the consequences of climate change, which are violently hitting the most vulnerable populations, especially the fishing communities in Cambodia, Aide et Action is developing programs to enable everyone to adapt through quality education.
"Living from fishing has become extremely difficult in the last three years. I used to be able to earn up to 25 dollars a day, now if I earn 10 to 12 dollars, it's a very good day. There are days when I earn nothing. I would love to change my job, to have a small business, but without money it is impossible. I didn't go to school and I wanted my children to have access to school. But our financial situation is dramatic. After finishing school every day, my eldest son goes around the streets collecting empty cans to sell to earn a little money for school, but it is not enough anymore. Now there are many children doing this, so there is less to sell. says Kin Bun, 37, a fisherman in Koh Kchorng village, Cambodia. The effects of climate change are already here: they are multiplying the impacts on food production or fish stocks and causing a significant decline in livelihoods. The most vulnerable families, who depend on these natural resources for their survival, are forced to adopt coping strategies and reduce or eliminate spending on education and health.
Adapting to survive
"Because of the seasonal nature of fishing, my husband and I spend half the year fishing and the other half harvesting salt. But the recent unpredictable rains have put a damper on the salt harvest, interrupting what should have been a dry spell. My husband has been forced to find work in construction. He works on the construction sites all day and we are no longer able to take our daughter to school. explains Kun Roat from Koh Kong province. Faced with these threats, Aide et Action has decided to contribute to the Programme for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Fisheries Sector (CAPFISH)A European Union-funded initiative to improve the management of Cambodia's capture fisheries and the development of fishing communities.
Two flagship programmes to support fishermen
As part of this initiative, we are currently running two programmes:
– The Consortium for Sustainable Alternatives and Voice for Equitable Development (CO-SAVED) In the coastal provinces of Kep, Koh Kong, Sihanoukville and Kampot, CO-SAVED is committed to improving the socio-economic development of Cambodians who rely heavily on fishing as their main source of income. During the Over the next four years, CO-SAVED will support 36,910 fishermen such as Kin, Bunnaret and Roat and 41,568 school children to improve their quality of life. We will work with local authorities, civil society organisations and private sector representatives to increase access to educational opportunities and provide funding opportunities for decent, productive and dignified work for fishermen through ecotourism, agri-business, fish processing, inclusive livelihoods and other small and medium enterprise initiatives.
– Fisher Folks Making Circular Economy Work For The Western Tonle Sap Lake (FOSTER) The Tonle Sap Lake is one of the world's four major fisheries production areas and contributes to the majority of Cambodia's freshwater fish production, but it is subject to climate change, overexploitation and deforestation, all of which impact on the quality of life (poverty, education, health) of the fishing communities living in the area. The project, led by Oxfam Cambodia, supports the economic empowerment of community fishermen by offering them the opportunity to diversify their livelihoods through entrepreneurship. Aide et Action joins the project to improve school retention and performance of the most vulnerable children through school feeding programs, improved transportation and scholarships for marginalized girls and boys at risk of dropping out.