In This Together: Partnering to fight COVID-19 in Cambodia

“Families cannot afford hygiene equipment because they did not earn enough money and they need to save all their money for food.”

Chief, Trang Village

For over thirty years, The HALO Trust has worked to protect to the vulnerable in times of crisis, responding to natural disasters, including the Sri Lankan tsunami and landslides in Afghanistan. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, we began to assess how our staff, skills and infrastructure could support the national response in the countries where we work.

Recognising the urgency to mobilise to protect vulnerable families in Cambodia, HALO signed a joint agreement with The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation and the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA). Thanks to the support of the foundation we were able to mobilise our fleet to deliver vital hygiene supplies to some of Cambodia’s poorest families. These families cannot afford items such as soap and face masks to protect against the virus. Since the beginning of May, our drivers have been on the road, reaching over 1,400 hundred families with supplies of face masks, soap and bleach.

Thanks to funding from the Bobby Charlton Foundation, we have been able to use our mine risk education teams to deliver important health messaging, ensuring families know how to keep themselves safe from the pandemic.

“We are so proud to be part of helping Cambodian people to stay safe from COVID-19 and are wo grateful to the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation for their support. We are reaching people who are very poor and cannot afford these important hygiene materials. Tens of thousands of migrants working in Thailand came back to Cambodia in March when the Thailand-Cambodia border closed because of COVID-19, which was a major concern in the area.”

Chhit Samorn, Risk Education Coordinator, HALO Cambodia

In countries already made vulnerable by conflict, food insecurity or protracted emergencies, the impact of COVID-19 could be devastating. The HALO Trust has worked in Cambodia since 1991, clearing hundreds and thousands of landmines laid during the ousting of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and throughout the 80s and 90s. We have a staff of 1,100 local men and women and strong links with the national authorities. By working together with partners and the government, we can protect those who might otherwise be forgotten. HALO is proud to be able to collaborate with The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation and the CMAA to create a locally tailored response to the pandemic, meeting the needs of the communities we support. As the virus reaches conflict-affected areas, as lockdowns continue and borders remain closed, success in COVID-19 response will depend on this form of partnership.

Together we can make a difference.