Mrs. Ping Chamroeun, 26, is a member of the Prov ethnic community in Ratanakiri province. Before the project, Building Indigenous Community Voice for Natural Resource Management in Northern Cambodia, —funded by Oxfam America—Chamroeun did not know how to share the stories of her local community with the wider public. Chamroeun wanted to raise awareness about the natural resource management experiences and challenges facing her community, but felt powerless to make a difference.
However, this all changed after Chamroeun received training to be a Community Reporter and Facebook Page Administrator. By learning important skills such as how to use a Zoom H1 recorder, conduct interviews, write news articles and use Facebook; Chamroeun is now equipped with the tools to spread the experiences and concerns of her local community members.

“Before the training, I never knew how to use a recorder and did not feel confident interviewing members of my community about the pressing environmental issues that we currently face. After the training, I became much more confident and was able to use my recorder to conduct many interviews with my community about topics such as the protection of our rivers and the use of non-timber forest products.”

“In addition, before the project, I didn’t know how to use Facebook as a tool to raise public awareness,” Chamroeun continued. “After the training, I now know how important Facebook is. We can use it to post and share information from our communities to the outside world. I really feel that this will help find solutions to the problems that my community is facing.”

Chamroeun (right) conducts an interview with a member of her local community

Following the training, Chamroeun has authored dozens of posts on the project’s Facebook page: IndigenousVoice.for.NaturalResources and has contributed news items to the project’s bi-weekly radio series, Our Community, Our Natural Resources. The news items cover a wide range of topics including the importance of river conservation, local concerns about the Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam, and the importance of patrolling to suppress illegal fishing and forest law violence.

Chamroeun regularly joins her local community patrol team in order to collect information for news items. During one patrol, she witnessed a group of people from outside her community entering the protected forest to collect wood. The community patrol team approached the group and successfully persuaded them to stop collecting further wood in the protected area. In addition, Chamroeun also witnessed fallen trees during the community patrols that were illegally logged. Chamroeun captured photos of these events and documented these stories—in order to share with the wider public.
In addition, Chamroeun also interacts regularly with the project’s listening and dialogue group facilitators. After the groups meet to listen to the project’s bi-weekly radio broadcasts, Chamroeun works to capture the listening and dialogue group members’ discussions about the radio topics and spread their discussions and opinions by creating news items for future radio broadcasts and the Facebook page.

In recognition of Chamroeun’s achievements, Chamroeun was invited to appear as a guest speaker on a local FM station in Ratanakiri. Many community members had heard and/or read Chamroeun’s news items and the radio station asked Chamroeun to talk further about the impact of the Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam on communities residing along the river.

Chamroeun is passionate about protecting the natural resources in her community and spreading information—especially information related to the experiences of indigenous women. Despite her many family obligations as a wife and mother, Chamroeun is a dedicated Community Reporter and Facebook Page Administrator because she is determined to protect her community’s resources and help her community lead a better life.

Chamroeun (center) during a guest appearance on a local FM station

“Even though I have a small baby at home, I try to capture as many news items for the radio program and Facebook page as possible. My community relies on natural resources for our livelihood. If this is taken away, my community will really struggle—especially the women who are responsible for finding food and water for the family. I want our forests and rivers to be protected. I don’t want members of my community to have to migrate in order to make a living. By sharing my community’s story through my work as a Facebook Administrator and Community Reporter, I can help raise awareness and make my community a better place,” Chamroeun concluded.