Cambodia have had a historical serious problem with the use indiscriminate of pesticides contaminating water resources, and affecting directly human communities and livestock. At the same time, the data show that many people have decided to commit suicide by using this kind of products. This revealing data raise the question of how much pesticides have had a negative effect in Cambodian society from long time ago. This was expressed by our protagonists of this story during the interview that took place in the University of Girona on Thursday 6 of July. Xell is an undergraduate student in Maths and Biology from the Uiversity of Edinburgh and she got financial support to undertake a short-term international experience abroad ("Go Abroad Funds" http://www.ed.ac.uk) and Eduard (undergraduate student in Business administration from ESADE, http://www.esade.edu/web/eng) is going to join this experience with her in Cambodia for 1 month. The main objective of these internships is to go abroad, take on new challenges and learn about new places and people. However, they are going to take this opportunity to travel with the intention of informing local citizens, specially producers and farmers about the impacts of pesticides at a health and wellness, economical and environmental level. New ways of production more eco-friendly are available nowadays, they commented; and farmers may reduce the intensive use of chemicals if they learn about new techniques and methods more respectful with the environment. In this sense, surveys and teaching materials (videos and posters) will be provided among the community to inform them. In addition to this, the economic efficiency and profitability become important factors in order to convince local producers to change the inneficient way of production rooted in the Cambodian culture, as mentioned by Eduard. For this reason, interested farmers will have available a writing of business plan as important step towards managing agriculture effectively.
Another target audience will be the students of our master programme (Master of Science in Sustainable Agriculture) since they will be also involved in preparation of outcomes derived from this action and the dissemination process. So, the participation and academic support of our Cambodian universities (UBB, MCU, SRU and CSUK) will be fundamental to reach the objective. Thus, Xell and Eduard will have a permanent feed-back with both students and teachers and hence, they will have avaiable a battery of eco-friendly initiatives and teaching and learning materials as well.
You can follow their progress in their agreecam blog: https://agreencam.jimdo.com
In summary, we are really happy to count on the cooperation with students to convey the message of UNICAM project: enhance overall human health and ecosystem security posture of Cambodia by accelerating the availability of educational and training resources designed to improve the behaivor, skills, and knowledge of the population.
Good luck in your new adventure!