Cambodian youths are being hailed for their enterprising efforts in curbing the consumption of bushmeat and tackling the scourge of littering.
This recognition, conducted on July 14, was endorsed by the USAID Cambodia mission director, Kerry Pelzman.
The USAID, in their press release, lauded the young pioneers for orchestrating an environmental social and behaviour change communication campaign.
The initiative, populated with dynamic multimedia content, was streamed on digital platforms, underscoring the role of the young generation as 'Green Champions'.
Pelzman asserted, "The consumption of bushmeat poses a serious threat to the survival of Cambodia's wildlife and ecosystem, not to mention human health”.
“Littering too impacts the environment, human health, wildlife, as well as property values and economic activity. We have high hopes that this youth-led competition will inspire many Cambodians, especially the younger demographic, to refuse bushmeat and put a stop to littering,” she continued.
Over the past year, USAID has facilitated two series of crowd-sourced competitions. From March 2022 to February 2023, these platforms encouraged the creation and spread of creative content that highlighted the importance of wildlife and the damaging impacts of its loss. They also shed light on the deleterious effects of littering on the environment, wildlife, and human beings.
Among the competition participants was Menghorng Kao, who secured third place in the 'reduce buying and eating bushmeat' category.
"As a young person, I believe it is of utmost importance to cut back on buying and consuming bushmeat," she expressed.
She added, "Wild animals contribute significantly to our ecosystem, and they are at risk. The protection of these creatures and the ecological balance in Cambodia begins at home, with you and your family”.
In a similar vein, Chansovichea Duch, the crowd-sourced first place winner of the 'stop littering' competition, underlined the significance of waste management.
He stated, "Managing waste not only helps protect the environment but also is a reflection of who you are. We must all work together to manage rubbish in the present for the sake of our earth's future”.
USAID announced that the winning entries will be featured in public communication campaigns. These campaigns are designed to sway the public towards considering food alternatives to bushmeat and implementing correct disposal methods for rubbish.
To round off, USAID confirmed the commitment of the US embassy and the US government towards championing environmental protection, sustainable use of natural resources, and fostering proactive public behaviour.
The objective remains the conservation of Cambodia's rich natural heritage, for the prosperity of current citizens and the benefit of generations yet to come.