Over the course of the 5th school year of 2016 and 2017 at the Liger Learning Center, I have participated in a lot of projects and events that I think have made an impact to Cambodia. Most importantly, these experiences have been very incredible very comprehensive and especially it has affected other people beyond just myself. To have the agency to be able to make changes happen, it is honored and proud; and very significant as a person of change agent characteristics.
On the first seven weeks project on a course of learning called Exploration, I worked with a group of 12 students on the topic of Iron Deficiency the main health issue in Cambodia under the type of anemia. It’s very interesting to learn why is this the main health issue in Cambodia, specifically in the rural area. Globally, 3.5 billion people suffer
from iron deficiency anemia. In fact, it is the most common micronutrient issue in the world. First of all, the cause of Iron Deficiency is that you don’t have enough iron in your body. The human body needs iron because iron produces red blood cells that carry healthy oxygen. If a person doesn’t have enough iron, it means they are not healthy enough. The human need to consume red meat, leafy greens and all those food that contains a lot of iron, in order to maintain healthily. The condition predominantly affects women and children, especially those living in poverty. Women are more likely to have the iron deficiency because women have monthly loss of iron due to their period and they feel dizzy and weak. For years, relief agencies have been struggling to find simple and cost-effective solutions to the iron deficiency economic and human challenge. Luckily there is a solution to this problem which is The Lucky Iron Fish (LIF) an organization found by Gavin Armstrong. Lucky Iron Fish is a simple solution to the complex iron deficiency anemia problem. This product is made of iron ingot cast in the shape of a fish and is clinically shown to safely reduce iron deficiency anemia. In Cambodia, the little fish is already making a big impact. So in this seven-week course project, we are collaborating with LIF organization to have a deeper study into this topic but also helping to spread out the words and educated people about this health issue. We spend over a fair amount of time to research and understanding the science the issue with help from Davuth Ham, Lucky Iron Fish, Manager in Cambodia. After researching, we went on a field trip to Siem Reap with Davuth in the purpose to give workshops to villages people and children in school about this topic. We create a performance and presentations and we present to them in Khmer in such way that they can understand. We also got to distribute the little iron fish to those people and hopefully, they will use the fish daily to sustain their health. By creating and simulating this workshop, it has already been a part of changes to Cambodia because we have educated and encourage them to take care of their health and the words will spread from people to people, generations to generations. In another part of changes, this topic was to be presented in the STEM Festival, the biggest STEM event in Cambodia. It was mostly displayed to students from Cambodia who attend the festival and it was very affected for them to realize that iron deficiency is one of the main health problems in Cambodia and that we the young cohort can try to help to prevent it.
The global climate has constantly been changing over the period of time. Evidence shows that human activities are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The atmosphere is trapping heat and warming the earth. The land is warming faster than the ocean. To slow or eliminate this rapid change, greenhouse emissions must be reduced. This is another seven-week project, Exploration that I involved in it and our main topic is about Climate Change specifically in Cambodia. The 10 of the students in the group, including myself were introduced to a concept which is Carbon Footprint. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide a person releases due to their individual action. After that, our group was split into a mini-grouping of three groups working on a small different project. Those projects were based on international website program that every school and students from around the world can participate. The three projects were International Students Carbon Footprint Challenge (ISCFC), Project Polar Bear Competition and lastly Green School Project. I was a part of ISCFC project but everyone in the group understands each project goals and objectives. So the goal of the ISCFC project is to calculate each individual student’s carbon footprint and then we compare our data to other students around the world and interacted with them by the website program. As we all had calculated our own carbon footprint using the International Student Carbon Footprint calculator, we can see that the range of it is between 4,000 kg to 9,000 kg and the average is around 6,000kg, which is way higher than the average in our country, it is around 1,000 kg. Compare to other countries like United State and China, our average is lower since we’re living in a developing country. While interacting with other students from all around the world, we were discussing rationale on why our carbon footprint are divergent. We analyze that, in some developed regions, most of the people travel a lot and for some developing regions, most people can’t afford to travel. To sum it all up, we can say that traveling using plane had caused a huge amount of carbon emission. For Project Polar Bear Competition, my fellow classmates have been working on a solution to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and so they have come up with an idea which is Focused on Food Waste. This group was responsible for calculating the amount of food that our school wasted every day. They try to separate meat, vegetable, and carbohydrates then weighed them, and find the amount carbon dioxide release in the production of this food. They then made two videos to educate Cambodian people not to waste food under the title of CO2 Emissions and Food Waste Message. The messages in these two video are very educational and people in Cambodia should be aware of it. These are what called changes, we have raised awareness so people can understand what we’re trying to accomplish. For the third group which is the Green School Project, the three students have worked really hard on their Green School experiment. In this green school team, they’re trying to find out our school’s carbon footprint and if we are carbon neutral or not. Being carbon neutral means we balance the amount of CO2 we released to how much can our trees absorb as a school. The team has found out that our all three types of trees (Santol, Mango, and Areca palm) can absorb 41,359 lbs which equal to about 18,760 kg of carbon per year. For the total CO2 that we released as a school, it was calculated that electricity released most of the CO2, over 87% in total. The total amount of CO2 that our school released is 283,496 lbs which are equal to 128,592 kg. This is almost seven times bigger than the CO2 that our tree absorbs which concluded that, our school isn’t carbon neutral. It is very important for us as a Cambodian to understand this concept because not many people are aware of climate change. We are the first Cambodian students to enter and participate in this program. We have shared our knowledge through videos and presentations to other Cambodian too. Even Though this is a small part of change but it’s very important that at least we’ve done something as a change agent.
Filming has become something that I’ve been passionate for these past few years. I don’t even like filming that much, I don’t like the technicality and formality of it. But I like to share stories and experiences and filming is my favorite media to show and express my creativity and ideas of it. This year, I was engaged with six passionate filmmaker students and we’ve work on an Exploration relating to filmmaking. The objective of this project was to educate young students in government, in our community about how to make films in general including creating a story and learning about the technicality of it. Fewer Cambodians were introduced to filmmaking and very little amount of them are actually interested in it. So in this seven week, we have planned to organize two full weeks workshop with the government school from two different schools in our community. We took a trip every day to their school in order to give them the lessons but also we are going to create films together. We were hoping that their films could enter in the Phnom Penh Youth Film Festival (PPYFF). This exploration was a little uneasy when we’ve come to the teaching part. The students participated well but they were pretty shy to share their ideas and that’s quite a problem because in filming, everything is about ideas. We’ve faced many challenges but in the end, there was always a success. It turns out that the students finished two films of their own and they entered it in the PPYFF. I hope this was a great change for them and I hope they will still keep doing it in the future and passed their knowledge to other students. Everything started with a small change and I think this is a great model for it.
Waste management provides industry-leading disposal and recyclings solution for business and residence. It is also a way to help the environment. In this exploration, I worked with ten students under the topic of waste management, composting. Together we were researching about composts but in that, we also learn about how can we make a business out of composting. The goal is to find a convenient composting business or residence way to introduce to the people in our community. We started off by researching on three different type of compost which are cold compost, hot compost, and vermicompost. We also did a research on NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) on its benefit. After having background knowledge, we went on a small trip to interviewed villagers in our community. There were interesting comments and feedbacks when we talked to them. Most of them do know what organic compost is but they’ve never tried it before. Most of the farmer said that they would rather use fertilizer since it helps their plants to grow faster so they can be in the market competition like others. Most of them also said that making compost takes times so it might be difficult for them to make it since they’re farmers and they’re really busy. It was very interesting to talk to them but this also help us to improve our ideas and how can we convince to do it. The second time that we went and interview them, we’ve received a better news than before. We have met two household that was interested in doing this business. It was very exciting for us to know that there are at least people who support this idea. We then come up with a design and ways that are suitable for them. In this process, we’ve faced a lot of challenges. Our project lasted only for seven weeks and so we were running up late on our plan. We’ve tried to design an inexpensive compost bin since the farmer doesn’t have a lot of money to start of with this business. Another goal for this exploration is to give a workshop about composting to the whole community. We’ve contacted the school director in the village and finally, they’ve allowed us to give the workshop in their school. This is a big success for us since our information is going to spread out even more. Waste management is such an important issue in Cambodia and not a lot of people are aware of it. The organic and plastic wastes are mixed. Raising public awareness of the benefits of separating wastes is a significant challenge for the country. Studies say Cambodia has almost no recycling infrastructure. Some of its recyclable waste goes to Thailand and Vietnam for reprocessing. To be able to get this to accomplish in a small step, sooner or later it will become a big impact by the effect of the small process of the young generation.
Cambodia is one of South East Asia countries who has the long coast about 443 km at the south and southwest of the country in the Gulf of Thailand. There are over 50 islands in Cambodia’s waters area. Further than that, the recent estimation, there are 435 of marine fish species, 70 of hard corals species, 30 of mangroves species, and ten of seagrasses species present in Cambodia’s coast. Currently, Cambodia faced many bad environmental situations due to illegal fishing like trawling and using electrical supplies. Generally, illegal fishing is one of the most impactive ways to the environment, especially for the biodiversity that is living in water. In details, there are some animals who are living in the injurious situation and become endangered animals like the eight species of sea turtle, corals, and sea birds. So in order to help to solve this conflict, my friend and I teamed up to create an investigation project which is relating to the restoration of coral reef population using artificial reefs. First of all, an artificial reef is a human-made underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom and block ship passage. To come up with this project idea, I was inspired by Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC) an organization that is trying to conserve Cambodian ocean from all the threats, for instance, illegal fishing. The goals of our project are to be a small part of helping the sea biodiversity like fish and others, due to the real life situation, there is climate change and pollution are happening so far in Cambodia because of those human activities. Our details objectives are:
- Provide a complex habitat for marine ecosystem within an increased diversity and density of species
- Establish and implement an effective project for the artificial shellfish/ anti-trawling reef.
- Restoration of population of marine species
- Increase in the knowledge of understanding the marine ecosystem, ecology, and habitat, marine species, artificial reef/ anti-trawling reef design, construction, and deployment.
This is one of our biggest ways to study all the situations about sea organism and the changing of the environment of marine life in Cambodia. We took three months to study about the basic marine ecosystem, knowledge in an artificial reef and reading reports about successful artificial reef project around the world. After studying some background information we started to sketch our designs of our own artificial reef. In the part of the whole project, it required a lot of time to think through all the designs and draw it out on the paper. Finally, we choose one design and decided to build it using cement. Unfortunately, while we were building, there were problems to be found so we change our design immediately by using our ingenuity. We worked closely with MCC in order to receive positive feedback and to get permission to deployed our reefs block into their protection area. The construction/deployment of our first artificial shellfish reefs was taking place on Marine Conservation Cambodia’s current base island; Koh Seh, Kep Province, Cambodia. The deployment of concrete blocks was assembled in the area inside Marine Conservation Cambodia’s conservation and research zone. There is also another artificial reef site that was built by Pannasastra University students in Phnom Penh. They have also conducted a research and studied about marine biology and they’re the first Cambodian students to get degrees in marine biology. We conducted our research in this area because it’s a conversation location and there are also other projects that controlled within the area like, bivalve restoration of shellfish and anti-trawling reefs, artificial reefs and algae farming project. We believe that our project can be part of the restoration for shellfish within other projects around it. We are very excited for our first reef to be installed there and it is slowly starting to make small effect out of it. A group of students went down to Koh Seh again and they have collected us some data. They told us that, our reef is providing a shelter for fish to lay their eggs in. Since our reef is pretty small, it is secure for fish to lay their eggs in their and it won’t affect anything. For a further experiment, we are going to deploy our original idea down to Koh Seh again for the second time. This design is completely different from the other project at Koh Seh, especially the ideas from the students from Pannasastra University and MCC originally Restoration of Bivalve Artificial Reef. The cube block will be implemented next to the old artificial reef, estimated in 5 meters away, and 25 meters away from the natural reef. If the blocks successfully deploy, we can compare the impact of different design and see which one fits the environment. Cambodia has lacks of people who understand how important our ocean is and how our citizens should try to protect it. Our research proposed anti-trawling artificial reefs as a possible solution. We are highly passionate about marine science, researching, protecting and monitoring our ocean and we believe that we can be the change agents of our country.
The ocean is the oxygen we breath. Trashes found everywhere around the beaches and the ocean. The flow of trashes floating on the water, traveling around the ocean world that can affect many things in the ocean. I think trashes can affect the environment of the ocean because of many reasons. The ocean is the air we breath, so if there trashes floating around the ocean then it can affect the human health too (pollution). The ocean is also the place where people can find food to eat. If humans throw trashes into the ocean then the creatures that live in the ocean will eat those plastics and they will die. Once they die, people will take them to eat and then it will effect on our health too. On the 17th of September,2016, My friend and I volunteered to organize an event call International Coastal CleanUp (IIC) in Kep, Cambodia. The purpose of this event is to gather everyone to clean up the beach in Kep. This event happens all around the world and our country, Cambodia has never joined before. So we’re the first ever Cambodian groups to do the beach cleanup at Kep. The participants were involving 80 students, citizens and a few foreigners from MCC who are interested in marine conservation. There was two location that we have cleaned. The first location was the Fishing Village which has a lot of trashes around the shore because the people in that village is living along the shore and they’ve been throwing trashes around their environment. This event has impacted a lot of the people that are living there because they have seen our actions and we hope they’ll try to keep their surrounding clean. This can show them that they should care about the environment and shouldn’t throwing trashes around the home like that. The second places that were cleaned up are the Crap Market area, which is the marketplace. By looking at the word market, imagine that there are a lot of trashes and since it is near the beach, it is very effective to the tourism site. We registered our event into Ocean Conservancy. globe, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup engages people to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways, identify the sources of debris and change the behaviors that cause marine debris in the first place. We entered our data into their international database. We’ve collected over 680 pounds which equal to 309 kilograms along the coast within 3 kilometers and the total items that we’ve collected are 9,895. I’m very proud of myself to be able to make this event happen and get people to involved. I think this event will create a great impacted to Cambodia and a good model to people to take actions to save their environment.
On the 24th of January 2017, I got the greatest opportunity ever to attend the ASEAN Astronomy Camp 2017 that was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I got this opportunity because, in November, I applied for in the competition in order to get this amazing experience. First I was passed only on the waiting list and I was proud of myself because out of everyone in the school that applied, I was the only one who got my name on the waiting list. After a few weeks later, I got accepted to attend the camp and I was very thrilled. Unfortunately, I have to travel abroad alone for the first time without any of my friend nor teachers and I was the only one representing Liger. But there were also some of the other Cambodian students who came from different schools and so I have to travel with them and it was really fun and I feel more comfortable knowing that there are other people I can travel with. So ASEAN Astronomy Camp is an event organized by National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) public organization. The Camp welcomed 37 high-school students and 9 teachers from a wide range of schools across Southeast Asia. It comprises of 7 national representatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam respectively. I represent Cambodia, obviously and there were 10 other Cambodian students too. So the idea of this camp was to introduce students to the science of Astronomy, technology and also give the students the greatest opportunity to experience the reality of astronomy. The rest of the program was conducted at Doi Inthanon National Park, whether at its headquarters, the summit and Thai National Observatory (TNO), where the state-of-the-art 2.4-metres and a soon-to-be robotic telescope is located. To name a few of NARIT workshops began with the basic talk ‘Introduction to Astronomy’, ‘Basic Stargazing’, ‘Planet Walk’, ‘Make a Comet’, ‘Solar Observation’, ‘Dobsonian Telescope’ to hands-on deep sky observation during both days and nights. Besides all of the above-mentioned curriculum, AAC 2017 took the advantage of the best location possible on top of the highest mountain in the country to expose young students and their advisors to local culture, food, and language. This is a very memorable journey of all success to inspire our young ASEAN citizens to have much more anticipation to be exposed and educated to Astronomy and its related fields of science and technology at a larger scale. To be honest, this wasn’t my kind of passion but it is a really great experience for me. To be able to explore this field, it was astonishing. I’m very pleased to be in one of the 11th Cambodian students to experience in this ASEAN Astronomy Camp.