After many years, we have decided to stop fundraising on GlobalGiving for our wildlife awareness raising project. Thank you to all who have supported our efforts to help protect wildlife by bringing much-needed environmental education and outreach into the classrooms and communities around Cambodia.
Your donations have helped the Kouprey Express to educate Cambodians about their natural heritage. Since joining GlobalGiving in 2011, we have:
Thank you so much for your support!
They say when one door closes another one opens, and that is exactly what is happening – we are in the process of starting a new, exciting, and urgently needed environmental initiative in Cambodia, starting in the capital city of Phnom Penh. We will be launching a new GlobalGiving project to support this work in the coming months and we hope that you will join us on this new endeavor. Stay tuned for exciting things to come!
December 1, 2021 marked an incredibly exciting event for the Kouprey Express (KE) – the first student field trip to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) since March 2020! After a long period of uncertainty and complete suspension of our core, in-person activities due to community outbreaks of COVID-19, this was a welcome relief and so exciting, not just for the students who joined the field trip but for the KE who finally felt a bit of normalcy.
The KE collaborated with the Development for Community Center, located in Stung Meanchey District of Phnom Penh, to bring 32 students and 2 teachers for an exciting, memorable, and educational experience. Participants got to meet all kinds of wildlife they had only heard about or seen on television or social media while learning about the plight of these animals and reasons why they are now residing at PTWRC. PTWRC serves as a vital educational tool, especially for the KE, as we are able to provide firsthand experience for many students and adults to meet victims rescued from the wildlife trade – an experience they could not get just by watching videos on social media. These trips provide a unique human-animal connection that is critical to not only understanding what the wildlife trade really looks like, but inspiring people to change their behavior and protect their natural heritage. Check out this video with of one of the students explaining how much the field trip meant to her and her peers!
Furthermore, the KE loves to collaborate with and support local initiatives such as the Development for Community Center, which supports disadvantaged children to study English and important life skills they would otherwise not be able to learn. Supporting local efforts is also key to sustainable development. The KE looks forward to many more collaborations and PTWRC field trips in 2022!
Your donations help the KE to make these trips happen and to keep educating Cambodians about their natural heritage. Thank you so much for your support!
After a long absence from the classroom as a result of a severe community outbreak of COVID-19, the Kouprey Express (KE) is finally – slowly but surely – getting back to school! Cases in Cambodia totaled less than 500 for all of 2020, but then rose exponentially since February 2021 when this outbreak started, to infect over 110,000 people by late September. Thankfully, due to high vaccination rates, the Royal Government of Cambodia has just re-opened 9,800 secondary and high schools in Phnom Penh and 22 of 25 provinces! After nearly two years of repeated school closures and bans on public events, this is excellent news.
For the first in-person activity the team has held since late February, the KE hit the ground running, reaching 5 schools in Kompong Speu Province and the outer areas of Phnom Penh to start. The schools’ directors warmly welcomed the KE, and the team reached 2,694 (1,381 female) students using a modified version of our core classroom program. These modifications were needed due to both social distancing requirements and busy classroom schedules as teachers and students scramble to catch up on their studies after 7 months of closures. With the help of school directors and teachers, the KE carefully conducted both in-class activities as well as outdoor assemblies, talking to the students about the vital need to protect wildlife, particularly in the interest of human health. Needless to say it is smiles all around as everyone – students, teachers, and the KE alike – are all thrilled to be back at school. We have several invitations from other schools and local NGOs, so the KE has a busy schedule on the horizon, but of course that remains dependent on the COVID-19 situation.
While we are optimistic about resuming our classroom activities, the KE remains cautious and always has a ‘Plan B’ in place. These challenging times have made the KE tap into their creativity by developing new outreach methods, such as the door-to-door approach in 2020 to bring environmental education into people’s homes and shifting our efforts to producing and posting environmental education videos online to continue reaching the masses despite restrictions on in-person meetings for much of 2021 (see past reports for more on each effort). While these are excellent ways to continue our outreach efforts when travel was not possible, the KE is over the moon to be back in the schools!
Your GlobalGiving donations help the KE to keep educating Cambodians about their natural heritage during these challenging times. Thank you so much for your support!
As an environmental education and outreach program that engages students and community members, all of the activities delivered by the Kouprey Express (KE) have been impacted since the COVID-19 pandemic began, requiring the team to continually adapt as the situation in Cambodia changes. A sudden severe community outbreak has seen COVID-19 cases in Cambodia rise from less than 500 for all of 2020 to over 60,000 as of early July 2021. The KE has had to suspend in-person activities once more and the team has pivoted yet again so it can continue raising awareness to help protect wildlife.
As described in previous reports, public gatherings have been banned and schools were closed nationwide from mid-March through November 2020 as a result of the pandemic. During this period, the KE pioneered a new door-to-door approach to bring environmental education into people’s homes. This was possible at that time because all cases of COVID-19 were imported from abroad and strictly controlled through quarantine, so people felt safe and welcomed our team into their homes for lessons that reached all generations under one roof. Schools briefly re-opened in November, however they were soon shuttered again by the first community outbreaks in the country. Since February 2021, COVID-19 cases have grown exponentially, causing the government to keep schools and some businesses closed, periodically ban interprovincial travel, and totally lockdown Phnom Penh and other hotspots for several weeks at a time. Until the community spread is brought under control and people are comfortable again with interacting, even in-home lessons cannot be safely and effectively delivered. So the team has changed tactics yet again in order to continue sharing its wildlife protection messages with people all over the country despite these challenging conditions.
Since November, the KE team has been busy producing educational videos on a variety of wildlife species and climate change topics and posting them on its social media channels. These videos present a modified version of KE’s classroom and community content in Khmer with English subtitles for accessibility to a broad audience. Thus far, the team has made 11 videos, which received a total of 3,955 likes on the KE Facebook page. Our most recent video, ‘Plight of the Gibbon in Cambodia,’ teaches people about the pileated gibbon, including facts about the species’ behavior, diet, range, major threats to its protection, and actions people can take to help such as not keeping gibbons as pets or eating them. Other examples include a video on otters and an informative ‘bigger picture’ video on climate change, all of which highlight the urgent need to take action.
Stay tuned for more videos from our team by following the KE on Facebook or subscribing to the Wildlife Alliance YouTube Channel! Your donations help the KE to keep educating Cambodians about their natural heritage using new methods even during these challenging times. Thank you so much for your support.
It is said that experience makes the best teacher. And in the case of feeling the very scary, very real impacts of climate change, the Kouprey Express has firsthand experience. In addition to raising awareness about protecting wildlife in Cambodia, our curriculum for training teachers and community educators includes lessons on climate change and adaptation – facts of life that affect all of our beneficiaries and in recent months have personally impacted each member of our team as well.
Weather patterns have noticeably changed in recent years, with unusual droughts affecting crops and immensely heavy rain storms destroying houses, infrastructure, and rendering areas inaccessible due to severe flooding. 2020 was a difficult year for the planet, and in Cambodia it was made more challenging by exceptionally heavy and unseasonal storms - that struck even in dry season in 2021 - that resulted in catastrophic flooding around much of the country. This flooding directly affected every member of our environmental education team. In fact, the Kouprey Express has the dubious honor of being the only team at Wildlife Alliance in which every member’s house has flooded at least once, with one team member’s home flooding three times in just ten days!
The rains caused considerable damage to and loss of property as well as lost worktime. Between August 2020 and February 2021, the Kouprey Express lost a total of 20 working days due to climate change-related flooding as the team had to not only clean up the aftermath but also evacuate their homes until the flooding subsided, fortify their houses to protect against the next storm, and in the cases of two staff, move to new accommodation. Such flooding is also extremely dangerous - the risk of electrocution is high during house floods in Cambodia because wiring is often not installed to code and the majority of houses in cities are not built on stilts as they are in the countryside. Another major climate change related threat is drowning, as roads, bridges, and embankments can suddenly wash away and swimming skills are few and far between here.
The weather now dictates the schedule of when the Kouprey Express mobilizes to deliver environmental education in rural areas, with the team staying close to the capitol city when inclement weather is on the horizon to help keep their families safe. This is a sad and unfortunate reality, but like most of the communities we serve our project must prioritize climate change and it makes our team well-situated to drive home the urgency to take action! Our lessons feature important facts and information concerning climate change in both the Cambodian and global context, and most importantly, offer useful adaptation methods based on experience that are designed to keep everyone safe. Instead of looking at this as a headache, we see it as an opportunity to help communities in emergency preparedness in order to weather the storms that are continually increasing in magnitude.
Your donations make it possible to not just raise awareness of endangered wildlife but also to share these climate change education and preparedness messages, which can save lives in emergencies, with more Cambodian communities. Thank you!
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