Friends-International MOU Signing Ceremony

On August 18, 2011 the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSAVY), renewed its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Friends-International, allowing us to work in Cambodia for the next three years.

In his speech, Executive Director Sebastien Marot said “for the last 17 years Friends-International has operated in Cambodia. Mith Samlanh, our first project, began working with street children, their families and communities in 1994, supporting them to become functional, productive citizens of Cambodia.”

“In 1999 the Mith Samlanh project was localized and to this day remains our closest local partner. By replicating the Mith Samlanh model in Cambodia we established the Kaliyan Mith project in Siem Reap with great success. We have now been able to introduce similar models in Laos, Thailand, Indonesia and most recently the USA. We are very proud that a model established in Cambodia has become an international benchmark.”

Secretary of State Hav Bunse with Sebastien and other Friends staff during the MOU signing

Secretary of State Hav Bunse with Sebastien and other Friends staff during the MOU signing

“Currently Friends-International is built around three main programs: the Friends programs working directly with marginalized children and youth (Kaliyan Mith); CYTI Alliance, a network of partners further developing good models of practice allowing us to better coordinate our common work; ChildSafe Network, training communities to be involved in the protection of children. We are now an internationally recognized Cambodian-based social enterprise.”

During the signing ceremony H.E. Hav Bunse, Secretary of State at the MoSAVY said “It is very important that we have NGOs and INGOs working with the government on social and child welfare of Cambodian citizens. What Friends-International has been doing is in line with important goals in the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals such as education and HIV/AIDS”. He continued to say that Friends is the outstanding NGO of the 180 NGOs working with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.

Secretary of State Hav Bunse with Sebastien and other Friends staff during the MOU signing

Secretary of State Hav Bunse and Sebastien signing the MOU

Sebastien, Friends-International’s Executive Director, said “what is important from the beginning is we had a policy of being a constructive partner with the Ministry. For example, from 1996 we were strongly involved in the definition of the procedure and systems for the reintegration of children into families.”

“Under this MOU there are various areas of collaboration. We will develop our work on the support and return of Cambodian families begging on the streets of Thailand in collaboration with the Transit Center. We also launched a project closely working with the Ministry for the implementation of the Prakas on Alternative Care and the implementation of the Government’s basic standards of care. We are in the process of collaboration with UNICEF to implement a five province child protection project also in close collaboration with the Ministry”.

Both parties expressed their hopes that the renewal of the MOU will bring continued positive impacts to some of the most marginalized populations in Cambodia, and also assist in the continued growth and economic development of the country.

Secretary of State Hav Bunse with Sebastien and other Friends staff during the MOU signing

Secretary of State Hav Bunse and Sebastien shaking hands after the MOU signing

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2 Responses

  1. Hello …
    I’m hoping Sebastien is reading this and that this finds you well.

    I begin with a deep respect for the commitment that is evident reading through this blog, as well as the other information I’ve come across online.

    this is richard maitland … photographer … we met briefly back in the early 2000’s as I was traveling through Cambodia.

    you very graciously allowed me to spend some time learning a bit about the work you were doing and even to photograph some of the children in hopes of putting together something that might be beneficial for them, even though I didn’t have a clear sense of how i might do that.

    I never did made it back to Cambodia, and I often think of the time spent there particularly when going through some of my images from that part of the trip … and so today I thought to look you up online while i was making some adjustments to my site that included adding a folio of images from Mith Samlanh.

    hope this makes it to you and you enjoy them.

    • Hi Richard

      Sebastien sends his best wishes to you – he is currently in Europe (at the World Economic Forum this week, and traveling next week). Thank you very much for the link to your website, they are very atmospheric and striking images indeed.

      best regards

      The Friends-International Team

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