Residents Take Action!

Les Stott has lived in Cambodia for the past eight and a half years. He has resided in Phnom Penh for the past year and a half, and is the High School Coordinator of Social Studies at CIA First International School.

Residents Take Action

We are all familiar with resident action groups lobbying their local government representatives about local issues of concern. Does anything happen? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Landowners in the street where I rent my apartment, sick of the constant flooding of their street during the wet season and of the lack of government action to remedy the situation, banded together to solve the problem. I believe they each put in around US$300 to purchase supplies from a hardware and supply shop on the street’s corner, hire a local contractor and solve the problem. No planning permit, just resident action.

They have placed a 30 centimeter cover of concrete over the top of the potholed road. The base of the concrete is bamboo lattice rather than iron reinforcing, which is quite a cost saving.

The result is a smooth concrete roadway that will prevent flooding at the front of these residents’ houses when the wet season returns next July.

Will it solve the problem? Maybe for those who were able to afford the cost. However, what about the residents further down the street, and in the adjoining streets, who will have extra water in front of their houses, which will have nowhere to go?

Of course, there is the real reason for the flooding. The small drains are blocked with sand, plastic bags and polystyrene packaging.

But, for these residents, they banded together and acted.

Written by Les Stott.