EYC’s Community Organizing Committee raises awareness about how waste management affects their community and conducts a garbage clean-up in one of Phnom Penh’s “slums”.
EYC’s Development and Community Organizing Officer, Ms. Hem Nareth, successfully organized and lead the third garbage clean-up initiative at the “Building Community” in Phnom Penh; the run-down residential building blocks where the Aziza school is located.
This half-day program was divided into three parts:
- Creating awareness
- The physical clean-up
- Post-activity reflection
As part of ‘creating awareness’ the group focused on and illustrated three consequences of improper waste management to the community: The health risks to residents, their reputation/image as perceived by others, and how improving conditions can help stop forced evictions that may be looming.
Given some of the forced evictions and associated hardship experienced by multiple Phnom Penh communities in recent years, the last point resonated strongly with community residents when the community organizing group rallied people with megaphones. Hearing the carefully crafted messages, residents opened their doors and sent their children out to help, resulting in over 100 people joining the effort.
Garbage has long been a problem in this community but has been significantly improved since our community organizing team has put their efforts on this. Last year a massive clean-up cleared a staircase that had been filled with garbage far beyond usability. This year we could focus on raising awareness and cleaning smaller pockets of garbage. Cleaning crews also scrubbed indoor surfaces with soap and water, bringing cheer to old hallways and stairways.
After properly disposing of the collected waste, volunteers, residents, and the village chief met to discuss and reflect on the day’s activities and underlying importance of changing their behavior in this matter. Organizers plan to make signs and art to send a clear message about proper garbage disposal.
In addition to the other services we provide through the Aziza school, EYC is pleased that we could use this opportunity to further engage the community to be active participants in building a better community.