Officials from the Chinese Embassy, Unicef and the Ministry of Education went to ground yesterday to observe how hygiene supplies and educational materials funded by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) are being used to assist Cambodia’s community preschools.
Earlier this year, MOFCOM funded the provision of hygiene supplies to 3,064 preschools across Cambodia to protect an estimated 70,000 children from COVID-19 transmission.
The provision of educational materials and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) supplies, included portable handwashing facilities, water filters, and cleaning products, which are essential for the safety and health of preschoolers. All supplies and materials are currently being distributed to district education offices in 187 districts in all 25 provinces.
Kim Sethany, a ministry secretary of state, said: “We welcome this support from China’s Ministry of Commerce through the Chinese Embassy and thank them for working with Unicef to support our preschool children. The ministry wants as many young children as possible to benefit from attending preschool, and this is only possible when learning environments are safe. We hope families will feel reassured in sending their children to preschool as a result of this critical support.”
The event also saw the contribution of hygiene supplies to five preschools in Prek Pnov district in Phnom Penh.
Wu Guoquan, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy said: “China actively participates in international anti-pandemic cooperation, firmly supports multilateralism, and also firmly supports the leading role of the United Nations in the fight against the pandemic.”
“These supplies are a cooperation between the Chinese government, Unicef and the Cambodian government, using a specific donation from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on behalf of the Chinese government to Unicef, to support and care for the healthy development of Cambodian children, and improve the ability of Cambodian communities and schools to respond to the pandemic and increase the ability of children to return to preschools.”
From the early days of the pandemic, Unicef Cambodia has worked intensively with MoEYS, development and civil society partners to address the impact of COVID-19 on education. This support has enabled children of all ages, including preschoolers, to continue to access education services throughout the school closure period. It has also assisted schools to prepare well for re-opening, drawing on good practices to ensure safe, healthy and protective school environments.
Foroogh Foyozat, Unicef Representative in Cambodia, said: “There is extensive evidence that early childhood education plays a foundational role in a child’s development, improving their educational results in later school years and leading to better outcomes in their adult lives.