Resurrecting Rural Cambodia

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As part of their sabbaticals, FAV Professor Peter O’Neill and Associate Professor of Anthropology Lindsay French traveled to Cambodia last year to collaborate on a documentary. Their trip yielded a 30-minute film on Krom Akphiwat Phum, an NGO that has been working to develop poor, rural villages in Cambodia’s northwest Battambang Province for the past 20 years. The two faculty members screened a rough cut of their film in the Tap Room on Wednesday, April 24, and were eager for audience feedback.

The essence of the documentary film – which O’Neill shot with French’s help and translation over two three-week periods last winter – is the inclusive, democratic methodology Krom uses to help local residents. The viewer meets the 12 Cambodians who work for the NGO and sees them interacting with villagers and leading meetings about how to organize their farming communities and better the lives of their people.

Although Krom is focused on boosting income from local rice production, the incredible side benefits of the organization include gender equality, literacy for women and empowerment of the villages’ poorest residents. It’s a compelling story and a fabulous film that O’Neill and French hope to complete this summer.

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