By Soy Sophea
The U.S. and Cambodian governments have inked amendments on two bilateral agreements that provide US $34.3 million in funding over the course of 2008. The projects will be funded from the coffers of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and will support Cambodian priorities in areas such as healthcare and education.
The signing ceremony was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Joseph A. Mussomeli. It took place on August 25, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC). Hor Namhong, deputy prime minister and minister of MoFAIC, and Erin Soto, mission director of USAID, signed on behalf of their respective governments. The new funding forms part of the US $200 million that USAID has provided in support of health and education in Cambodia since 2002.
Hor Namhong expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the U.S for Her continuing support for Cambodia’s development and prosperity.
The amendment to the first agreement consists of US $32.2 million in grant funds to achieve health objectives. Funds will be used to promote a variety of activities to reduce the transmission and impact of HIV/AIDS; to prevent and control the spread of major infectious diseases such as tuberculosis; to fight avian influenza; to improve reproductive, maternal and children’s health; and to strengthen Cambodian public-health systems, including the technical skills of health care workers.
The amendment to the second agreement will provide over US $2 million in grant funds to support the Cambodian government’s education objectives. These funds will support ongoing programs aimed at improving the quality of basic education and access to schooling for all children, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and the very poor. Activities will also focus on implementing the new national curriculum and improving learning standards, reducing school dropout and repetition rates through the introduction of improvements in teaching quality, and measuring student academic achievement.
USAID expects to commit a total of US $57.5 million in assistance to Cambodia in 2008.