In Cambodia, Kiwanians see impact in action

Mar 18, 2015
Kiwanis is saving babies in Cambodia from maternal/neonatal tetanus

In February, a joint delegation from Kiwanis International and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF traveled to Cambodia for a memorable opportunity: to see The Eliminate Project in action.

The team observed UNICEF activities related to immunization and education—from the inspection of health facilities to the training that local health workers give to community leaders, volunteers, traditional midwives and mothers. Overall, the experience provided a fuller understanding of the progress the Kiwanis family is helping to make.

“Although I expected this trip to be about vaccinations, it was so much more,” says Amy Zimmerman, Ohio District governor-elect and multi-division coordinator. “It was education in action from the very start to the very end.”

In Cambodia, pronounced inequities have inhibited UNICEF’s efforts in many rural areas. However, education has played a key role in overcoming those obstacles and bringing measurable progress to the Southeast Asian country.

“UNICEF trains the local health volunteers to ensure information arrives in the villages,” says Gabriele Neumayr-Stof, Europe 2 region coordinator for The Eliminate Project. “The volunteers are all made aware of how they can affect life and death for their children. This is a great result of UNICEF’s success, especially in the rural districts, and it’s the result of our Kiwanis donations.”

Our team left feeling very optimistic about the future for moms and babies in Cambodia. “We can see that our work truly is changing how Cambodians live,” says Maria Palazzolo, president of Key Club International. “I will never forget how this trip changed my outlook on life and happiness.”

Cambodia hopes to declare victory over the disease later this year when it completes an MNT elimination validation survey.

Read more about the delegates’ life-changing experiences and see photos from Cambodia.