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Cambodia

Village health and well-being, medical pluralism and society

Localization Map - Cambodia

Project Period: Various phases and activities since 1997

Area: Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia

Activities: Ethnobotanical and anthropological research on medical pluralism; medicinal plant gardens; projects countering malaria, maternal/child morbidity; promoting well-being of ethnic minority people

Nomad RSI has been working in the province of Mondulkiri [1], in the northeast of Cambodia, since 1997. The organisation has progressively developed its understanding of local health knowledge and practices, the prevailing healthcare situation of the province and, more generally, of Bunong society [2] (the Bunong are the most numerous ethnic minority in Mondulkiri). Nomad RSI is today a major reference institution in this isolated region, with an award in 2010 to open and operate the Mondulkiri Resource and Documentation Centre, the first cultural centre of its type in Cambodia.

Activities began originally with ethnobotanical studies of plants used by Bunong healers to treat malaria and fevers. This work was accompanied by operational research into local representations and practices linked to malaria. The results obtained led to the design and implementation of a range of projects situated at the interface of biomedicine (‘modern’ or ‘western’ medicine) and traditional therapeutic practices. The programme is today managed by a team comprising Bunong, Khmer (the ethnic majority in Cambodia) and expatriate members.

Cambodia project in details

  1. Malaria Education Project
  2. Village Health Workers
  3. Medicinal Plants
  4. Research projects
  5. Mondulkiri Resource and Documentation Centre
  6. Capacity-Building
  7. Maternal and Child Health
  8. Partners
  9. Completed projects
  10. Team

- Download the Cambodia Project Activity Reports:
Year 2013 (pdf)
Year 2012 (pdf)
Year 2011 (pdf)
Year 2010 (pdf)
Year 2009 (pdf)
Year 2008 (pdf)
Year 2007 (pdf)
Year 2006 (pdf)

[1] Mondulkiri province is situated in the northeast of Cambodia, bordering Vietnam. The region is largely covered by dry forest (dense and open forest areas, bamboo groves), with a central high-plateau savannah area. The province has been classified as a region of conservation priority due to its very high biodiversity.

Mondulkiri is one of the most isolated and sparsely populated regions in the country. The province has poor infrastructure, making communication and travel difficult, particularly during the rainy season (May to November). The population of around 57,000 includes various ethnic minority groups (Bunong, Steing, Kreung, Lao, Jarai, Tampoun, Radei), amongst which the Bunong are the most numerous.

Mondulkiri was once considered by most Cambodians as ‘the forgotten province’ in terms of economic and social development. The population was largely dependent on forest resources for food, for income (resin collection, wild honey etc) and for medicinal resources. However, since the turn of the millennium social change has accelerated rapidly, so much so that the indigenous population will soon become a minority in their own province, now also losing access to traditional lands. This is resulting from concessions to agro-industrial and mining companies, with attendant large-scale immigration of Khmer and other people, accompanied by the upgrading of infrastructure, including a new main road, and rapidly growing tourism.

[2] These populations are sometimes transcribed as Phnong, as written and pronounced, and along with the name of other minorities such as Kuuy, this can be used as a derogatory term denoting “primitiveness”. We have therefore chosen to use Bunong in this website

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