Phoark Yea, 45, is the local veterinarian of Samuth Krom village, Lumphat district. Before being introduced to the project, Building Indigenous Community Voice for Natural Resource Management in Northern Cambodia, Yea rarely joined any activities in the village and spent the majority of his time either at work or at home with his family.
Phoark Yea, center in a red T-shirt, participates in a village meeting
One day, Yea was invited to join his village’s listening and dialogue group. Normally, Yea would have declined the offer—as he had little interest in activities within his village. However, Yea was intrigued and decided to join because he wanted to hear what the radio broadcasts were about. After listening to the program, Yea found the information to be extremely useful.
“The radio program taught me how to protect the community forest through land registration. I learned that if our land is registered, no one has the right to grab it. I did not know about the importance of land registration before listening to the program, “ said Yea.
Through the radio program, Yea learned about the consequences of forest degradation. For the first time, Yea began to think more about the value of his community’s forest and what would happen if it disappeared.
“Before joining the listening and dialogue group, I never participated in the forest patrolling team because I only cared about my work and family. After joining the group and discussing the key issues with other members of my community, I now understand how important the forest is. If the forest is degraded, it affects all the people in our community including my own family. There will be a lot of difficulties. Without the forest, we won’t have wood to build houses—and there will be no resin, vine and honey,” said Yea.
Yea became passionate about protecting the forest and started to take time out of his busy schedule to join the community’s forest patrolling team.
“I joined the patrolling team because I don’t want our community forest to disappear and suffer from illegal logging. I’ve joined the patrols several times now and I will keep joining. The forest is our livelihood, “ concluded Yea.
Yea actively shares the information and messages he has learned from the radio program with other members of his local community—and is encouraging other community members to join the patrolling team.
Activity during patrolling in the community forest