Cambodian Youths Vow Stronger Involvement in CSR and the Environment: A Reflection on the ACE Annual Fun Run 2019 in Battambang, Cambodia


Cambodia now sees more discussions and activities than ever before among young Cambodians - a demonstration of their understanding of the importance of the environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The positive difference they can each help make cannot be underestimated. Like many parts of the world, Cambodia is witnessing the threats that global warming and climate change can bring. The Ministry of Environment, among other agencies, sees the need for effective enforcement of laws and regulations to best safeguard forests, address waste management, plastic usage and air pollution. Effective implementation of those policies requires active public participation and bold actions from key stakeholders. Educating and awareness raising on the pressing challenges to the public, and encouraging discussion on the best possible solutions and measures, could help lay the foundations for progress.


On 22nd December 2019, over 2,500 government officials, students, parents, environment lovers and exercise enthusiasts participated in the ACE Annual Fun Run for the Environment organised by students, teachers and staff of the Australian Centre for Education (ACE) – an initiative of IDP Education. 2,500 is an amazing number reflecting the increasing level of attention people are giving to the environment, and how much they want to contribute to making their communities environmentally sustainable. Although it was the fourth year of the ACE Fun Run initiative, it was the first to be held in Battambang Province, 300 km from the capital city of Phnom Penh.

The ACE Fun Run received enthusiastic backing from the Battambang Provincial Administration, the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Environment, as well as institutions from Australia such as Swinburne University, Australian Catholic University and IELTS Australia. Presiding over the launch ceremony were His Excellency Chea Samang, Under Secretary of State of Ministry of Environment, His Excellency Hoeung Sokun, Deputy Battambang Province Governor, Mr Mam Sarm, Deputy Chief of Battambang Education Office and Mr Mao Sreng, IDP Cambodia Country Director.

The early morning 4 Kilometre Fun Run was filled with various challenges, both to provide fun and deliver an educational message to the runners. Following the run, participants spent the morning in learning sessions and activities, racing each other in the Slow Bike competition and friendship dancing organised in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment. 

“While the prime purpose of the event was to focus on the Environment, the money raised through the sale of entry tickets will be used to build toilets for public schools in this province and other remote areas across Cambodia to promote good hygiene and sanitation,” said Mr Mao Sreng.

His Excellency Hoeung Sokun, Deputy Battambang Provincial Governor, expressed his delight at witnessing the active participation of everyone involved, from Battambang province and beyond. He also encouraged the receptive crowd to continue their efforts to protect the environment, and to initiate activities to spread knowledge and information on how to care for the environment in their communities. 

“Youth plays a crucial role in raising awareness about environmental protection meaning they are a part of the solution, not the pollution”, said HE Chea Samnang, stressing the important role of youth.  He praised the ACE Social Committee, ACE Student Ambassadors and volunteers for hosting such an enjoyable and memorable event for worthy causes.


IDP Education was awarded two global CSR awards in 2019 at the CSR Summit in Malaysia, for its contribution to CSR in Cambodia in the areas of literacy, education, health, environment, emergency and relief. “The 5th ACE Annual Fun Run will take place in 2020 so stay tuned to find out how you can get involved in the next great event”, said Ms Chea Chendamony, Chair of the ACE CSR Committee.

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