Hot Cambodia, a social view of the Tropics

The current intention to explain why tropical countries are poorer than those countries in the temperate zone could touch a big variety of proposals, some of them of arguable position. For example, Jeffrey D. Sachs exposes that tropical regions have low agricultural productivity and the burden of tropical diseases:

“As Sachs sees it, tropical regions face two related major ecological handicaps: low agricultural productivity and a high burden of disease. Tropical soils are typically depleted by the effects of heavy rainfall, for example, and tropical crops are beset by pests and parasites that thrive in hot climates without winter frosts. Similarly, warm climates favor the transmission of many tropical diseases that are borne by insects and bacteria.” (Bloomberg, 2001)

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Poverty misconceptions

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

Visitors from developed countries can get impressed by the simplicity of the Cambodian rural families. Such impression can lead to confusions of what is poverty and it is often profit by certain individuals for the embezzlement of funds. Donors have the duty to guarantee that their funds will reach the real needs of vulnerable people and thus it is important to learn the meaning of concepts like poverty, as well as to improve the methods to fight it in an authentic effective way. To measure the social impact of any project is as much as important as planning.  Continue reading

Bill Gates breaking myths on poverty

The annual letter of the Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation is an excellent start for this year in our commitment to reduce poverty in a country like Cambodia through the means of education. In “3 Myths that Block Progress for the Poor”, Gates explains how some preconceptions reduce the capacity of supporting poor communities to overcome poverty. The first myth is that poor countries remain poor, the second is that foreign aid is a big waste and the last one is that saving lives leads to overpopulation.

Read more in Don Bosco Kep.

How to become a volunteer in Cambodia


Volunteers are not paidThere are many people interested in becoming a volunteer. Frankly, there are also many misconceptions about volunteering. You can find online guides of how to become a volunteer. There also well established and big organizations offering such opportunity in a very systematic process like the United Nations or middle organizations. I will not build here an online guide, but I will share my experience of years in a country like Cambodia, so famous for its several humanitarian organizations and volunteers. Continue reading

Free training opportunities for young people in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh. The KOMISO Vocational Training Center invites people from poor communities in Phnom Penh or Cambodia to join free skill courses in modern sewing, hair salon, hair cutting and motorbike repairing in its headquarters in the Banla Saet village, Khmuonh commune, Sen Sok district in Phnom Penh. Courses last between five and six months, from Monday to Friday (7:30 – 11:30; 13:00 – 17:00). The students have also six hours of moral lessons and two hours of business ethics and planning every week. The institution supports also the transport of students living in three nearby villages, New Andong and Sen Sok mainly. A house near the school was rented as a male residence for students, while offering the three meals for KOMISO students. Continue reading


This article of opinion by KJK, author of ‘All About Cambodia‘, a perspective of the current problem on land expropiations in Cambodia.

I posted a story in August 2009 about a little village at the junction of Hanoi Road and State Road 5A. (‘Where is all the outrage?) At that time the residents of that village, nothing more than an assembly of wooden shacks in a deplorable state, had to pay $100 per family to get their name on the Sangkat list for relocation. All families on the list made them eligible for a plot of land somewhere else as part of compensation for the loss of their current dwellings. A developer who saw some merit in the location at the junction of two major roads had obviously bought the land. The way this little settlement looks now it is probably a boon for the residents to be relocated. The only thing that bothers me personally is that they haven’t been informed of the new location. Continue reading…

Young journalism in Cambodia

At the end of November I had the visit of EFE’s reporter Laura Villadiego, who came to know my project of social communication and journalism in the Don Bosco Technical School of Sihanoukville. She wrote an article about the experience, underlining the fact that journalism is taught in a country that has been criticized for events that put the freedom of press under risk. At the same time, it is an experience directed to young people from underprivileged communities.
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