Cambodian Mangroves Being Restored By Female-Led Conservationists
The province of Kampot, in Cambodia, is easily one of the worst-hit areas when it comes to mangrove clearance. Mangroves provide vital protection to the people along the coastline against severe weather conditions, meaning their preservation is incredibly important. Sadly, the beautiful mangrove forests have been disappearing at an alarming rate. With mangrove clearing being an ever-present danger, climate-savvy women have stepped forward to protect the woodland with the help of Action Aid’s She Is The Answer campaign.
As climate change and purposeful destruction ravage the mangroves of Cambodia, the people have grown ever more concerned. The provinces of Kampot and Kep have been the most heavily impacted by these factors. As a result, the damage has caused the mangrove forests to shrink by 62% in the last three decades in these areas. Moreover, with the destruction of these mangroves has come severe knock-on effects for the coastal communities, as they are becoming more and more exposed to large storm surges. Week-long floods are causing devastating effects on the crops and infrastructure of these areas. Floods which can be avoided with the proper reconstruction of the mangrove forests.
The She Is The Answer Campaign
Action Aid, the charity dedicated to the improvement of the world through women and girls, has stepped forward to aid with this crisis. Cambodia has now been identified as one of the top countries likely to be affected by the climate emergency. However, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Index, the country ranks 103rd. In response to this, the She Is The Answer campaign was launched to help Cambodian women to adapt to the new climate and grow a voice on these important matters.
The campaign operates by training women in these communities to take up a climate-adaptive lifestyle. Female empowerment has previously proven to be a highly effective tool in the battle against climate change and global warming. Furthermore, Action Aid’s original aim was to plant 100,000 mangroves in the decimated areas. Joyously, the response from the community has resulted in this target being easily surpassed.
Varou Mat, a mother of three children and schoolteacher from Kampot Province, was trained alongside Nget Mana, a midwife, and daughter of Kempot farmers, via Action Aid’s Women Champions network. Both are now campaigners for the issue of climate change, with strong voices that they are determined to have heard. Furthermore, the Women’s Champion network has helped women to gain a more thorough understanding of climate science. Therefore, they are able to develop strong opinions on the matter which can aid towards conservation and restoration efforts.
The Future For Mangroves and The World
As well as the planting of over 100,000 mangroves, the women of the Kempot and Kep provinces of Cambodia are extending their efforts. Meaning climate-adaptive floating gardens and floating schools are also in development. This is being done with the intention that future generations may use these spaces to familiarise themselves with the impact of climate change. Hopefully inspiring them to follow in their mothers’ and aunties’ footsteps.
This is an important step in the right direction for Cambodia. Empowering women to speak on matters that will impact the future. As well as breeding a new generation of campaigners for climate issues. And hopefully making a brighter, healthier, and greener future for generations to come.