Thank you, Cambodia, for your continued engagement in this column. We are really tackling some very important issues so I appreciate all of your questions and feedback. Please keep sending your questions to me at AskAMBToddPP@state.gov.
I believe many Cambodians know about the important work that the U.S. Mission is doing to promote an even more effective partnership with Cambodia. However, I get asked all the time about the breadth and scope of our development assistance here. In my column last week, I mentioned the role of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in reducing the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate and its upcoming anniversary. On Wednesday, August 22, we celebrated USAID’s 50 years of establishment and its 20-year presence in Cambodia. I would like to take this opportunity to express my pride in this agency’s work and how through its various partnerships, it has transformed the lives of millions of Cambodians.
Fifty years ago, U.S. President John F. Kennedy launched USAID’s journey to bring American compassion, generosity, and commitment to people across the globe. His optimistic vision of the power of humanity continues to guide this mission, as he said, “The problems of the world cannot possibly by solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were.”
On behalf of the American people, USAID invests in pioneering, cost-effective solutions to save and improve millions of lives, while creating positive conditions for the future. USAID partners with countries like Cambodia that are committed to assuming full responsibility for their development goals.
In the last 20 years, USAID and Cambodia have achieved so much working together, such as the great progress in health care – something possible through the strong partnership between USAID, the Ministry of Health, and Cambodia’s civil society. As a result, we’ve seen more mothers survive after giving birth, and more newborns and young children getting healthy starts during the difficult first months of life. HIV/AIDS rates have been slashed. Children are being vaccinated against easily preventable disease. And projects too numerous to mention are helping average Cambodians lead a healthier, more productive life.
Equally important are the small contributions that USAID has made. For instance, USAID helped people understand the functions and the responsibilities of each court official at a Cambodian municipal court by simply placing a signboard outside a court. Another time, USAID helped increase the success of honey hunters in Chamkar Leu, Stung Treng Province, who learned about rafter bee keeping practices, hygienic handling of honey, and honey marketing.
USAID exemplifies America’s commitment to the partnership, people, progress, and success in Cambodia. As U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, I am devoted to making sure this commitment lasts during my tenure and beyond. As USAID celebrates these milestones of its existence, we will continue to celebrate the future of Cambodia.
Thank you for being such great readers. Please continue to send me questions in English or Khmer at AskAMBToddPP@state.gov, and check out my blog at http://blogs.usembassy.gov/todd.
William E. Todd is U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia