Eleven of the 36 villages in Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district have recently been equipped with about 3,000 solar lights. They were installed as part of the “One House, One Light” campaign, which began in December last year.
District governor Khim Finan said he is committed to installing lights in all villages by 2021, which would include about 10,000 houses.
Finan told The Post on November 3 that the small solar lights are installed on the front of houses and automatically turn on after sunset.
“The main benefit of the light isn’t its appearance although they look attractive. Improving village safety and reducing traffic accidents at night are the real goals of this campaign,” he said.
“Villagers in the past used to tell me about their experience during the ‘One House, One Light’ campaign. Now there are fewer dogs barking in the village, no more thieves and no more stealing chickens or ducks. Small children coming back from school at night have an easier time because there is a light on every house,” he said.
The lights are funded by donors and fundraising events and villagers donated light stands as well, Finan said.
“There are 24 more villages that this mechanism does not reach. We will strive to finish this mechanism by the end of 2021,” he said.
He said the rollout of the lights has been slower than expected because the Solidarity Buddhist Fundraising Ceremony was cancelled due to Covid-19.
“The district administration continues to accept funds voluntarily which can enable this project to continue its sustainability. We chose to be late a bit, but we will not give up. As district governor, I commit to further put forth my effort to install lights in all houses in Banteay Srei district,” he said.
Preah Dak village chief Loek Vun said his village was the first to receive the solar lights, noting that 562 houses in the village are now equipped with them.
“After the instalment, people are extremely delighted because there are bright lights on the road of all houses in the village. Before, we were always concerned about safety while travelling at night because of dogs or anonymous people. It is convenient to travel at night now. We are not concerned like before because lights can brighten the entire night till the morning,” Vun said.
Em Sophana, a resident of Kampong Speu province, said he wants authorities in various provinces in Cambodia to develop villages with Banteay Srei district as a model.
“If my village has a good district governor and development like Banteay Srei district, people will surely be very happy,” he said.
On November 23, Minister of Environment Say Sam Al declared Banteay Srei a model district for 2020. It received an admiration certificate of Environmental Peace in the programme “Encourage Environmental Peace in 2020”.