• February 21, 2021

Covid-19: Our response


SAME-CAMBODIA prioritizes the safety of its beneficiaries, employees and members at all times. We wish to ensure, to the best of our ability, the health and safety of all and do our upmost to provide protection in these uncertain times. Therefore, respecting travel restrictions, upholding social distancing requirements and awaiting the government’s roll out of vaccinations is essential to our success as a charity in the near future.

Travel to Cambodia deferred until 2022

In light of the ongoing pandemic, a decision has been made which will temporarily affect the work of the charity abroad. While our programme development continues and our manager simultaneously gains experience empowering females to end gender based violence by volunteering with the United Nations, SAME-CAMBODIA will defer travel to Cambodia until 2022.

There are three main reasons for this:

The flights of our manager have been delayed on several occasions since November 2020 as the spread of Coronavirus increases the risks of travel and causes countries to continuously change their rules of entry. Airlines connecting Ireland to Cambodia cannot yet provide a confirmed schedule for 2021 due to travel restrictions.

As of February 8 2021, Cambodia has had a total of 474 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The initial impact of Covid19 in Cambodia was minimal with less than 100 cases in 2020. This has increased over the past few months to the current figure stated. The government has not approved a vaccination yet. Cambodian Embassies will only accept applications for diplomatic, official, and “sponsored” business-linked visas, and will not issue tourist or other visas to enter Cambodia at this time. A deposit of $2,000 is required upon arrival at airports for mandatory COVID-19 testing and potential treatment services.  The money will be used to pay for an accommodation during the quarantine, testing and transportation from an airport to a hotel. In December 2020, Cambodian schools announced their reopening. However, having corresponded with contacts in our destination, we are aware that many schools continue with online learning. School enrollment rates have suffered greatly this academic year due to the uncertainty surrounding Covid, its impact on the economy and the financial pressures faced by families to meet mandatory school fees.

In order to carry out our work as planned and promised, we must ensure the health and safety of our manager. Upon arrival in Cambodia, she must register the charity before commencing activities in participating schools and recruiting Cambodian employees. In order to ensure an effective violence prevention programme is made available to participating students, it is necessary that these restrictions are no longer in place.

Online or distance facilitation will not be an option as this sensitive programme must be provided in a safe space, where students feel they can express themselves freely. Trying to do this online and being unaware of who is with the child would be inappropriate and risky as the content is sensitive to harmful gender norms, traditions, practices and struggles relevant to Cambodian adolescents. It will not have the desired effect if children are not comfortable to express themselves freely in their homes where domestic violence is an issue for over half the population. Similarly, Unit 5: Self Defence of our violence prevention programme will be most effective when delivered in person. Where language barriers may stand in our way, body language and expression are powerful in describing more complex concepts and ideas. In conjunction with these issues, many children do not have access to the necessary technology for online learning.


I made a donation to SAME-CAMBODIA, what will happen to it now?

Existing donations will not be spent until commencement of our activities in 2022. Anyone who signed up to make recurring donations will continue to support our work while we get ready for programme implementation. SAME-CAMBODIA will provide an annual budget at the end of 2021 to the Charities Regulator Authority for inspection and it will be possible for this to be viewed by the public at https://www.charitiesregulator.ie/en/information-for-the-public/search-the-register-of-charities by searching our charity number 20205907.


What will SAME-CAMBODIA do until 2022?

We will continue to work on building and developing an effective violence prevention programme for successful facilitation in 2022. We will also continue fundraising to meet the target for our annual expenses in 2022. The pandemic has made fundraising efforts extremely difficult for charities worldwide and we continue to explore innovative ways to gain the public’s support.


I want to help, what can I do?

SAME-CAMBODIA is always in need of motivated volunteers who wish to support the empowerment of Cambodian youth to end gender based violence. We would love to hear new fundraising ideas you may have or wish to implement in school, workplaces etc. with respect to social distancing guidelines. Donations of time and money are most beneficial to us so please get in contact. You can write to us at info@same-cambodia.org


My question was not answered here, who can I speak to?

We would love to hear from you regarding any questions or concerns you may have. Please feel free to get in touch with our manager Niamh by the following means:

EMAIL: info@same-cambodia.org

PHONE: +353 85 288 3711


Our Commitment to You

As the situation progresses, we will keep the public informed of our decisions regarding the charity’s ability to commence activities in 2022 here on our website. We would like to extend our good wishes to you, your families and hope that we may stay safe and healthy during this difficult time.


Ethel Gavin