Sovanna Baitong, Koh Kong: This morning Wildlife Alliance and Mong Reththy Group held a joint inauguration ceremony of the water reservoir, bridge and road. High-ranking officials from Mong Reththy Group, Wildlife Alliance, local authorities will join this ceremony, along with 150 villagers.

Wildlife Alliance partners with Mong Reththy Group to help local farmers to adapt to climate change by increasing their water supply as they face extended drought period. With this year’s worst drought in the history of Koh Kong province, the village of Sovanna Baitong saw its water reservoir completely dried up in March, which had never occurred before. Villagers had no more water for their families and their farm irrigation system. H.E. Oknha Mong Reththy came to the rescue of these families by helping Wildlife Alliance to retrofit the village water reservoir, making it deeper and adding the vital spill-gate that was missing. As part of Oknha’s contribution, was the complete construction of a new bridge and upgrading of the 2.5 km access road.

Thanks to H.E. Oknha Mong Reththy’s technical expertise and timely assistance, the new structure is now ready for the next drought season and for year-round production of the fruit and vegetables that the farmers depend on for their livelihoods.

“This partnership will help boost economic development and reduce poverty in the Southwestern region,” said Suwanna Gauntlett, CEO and founder of Wildlife Alliance.

From personal experience, the businessman explained he had experienced poverty after the war. "I was poor once," said H.E. Oknha Mong Reththy. "As a successful businessman, giving back to the community is an obligation." Joining forces with NGO Wildlife Alliance to improve the livelihoods of poor farming families was an opportunity to help contribute to Cambodia's rural development he added.

This event was published in Daum Ampil on-line news agency in Khmer language.