Hello from lovely Cambodia! My name is Caitlin Gruer and I am a masters of public health student at Columbia University. I am studying Sociomedical Sciences with a concentration in Global Health and a personal interest in child health. As part of my studies I have the pleasure of interning for HKI Cambodia for the next six months.
I arrived in Cambodia a little over a week ago and was immediately taken by the sights, smells and friendly people. I have traveled in Southeast Asia a number of times, but nothing could compare to the excitement and nervousness I felt knowing that this time I was going to be living here for 6 months! I spent my first week settling in to life in Cambodia. I visited the HKI office, met the entire staff, and was given my own desk and set of keys. This only served to make me even more excited about the time I will spend at the organization! I also explored the different areas of the city, and found an apartment. I decided to move away from the areas of the city that are mobbed by tourists and expats, and instead found an apartment a little off the beaten path, within walking distance of the office.
While I am here in Cambodia my work will primarily focus on two of HKI Cambodia’s major projects: Homestead Food Production (HFP) and Fish on Farms (FoF). These programs work to ensure that even the poorest members of Cambodian society have access to sufficient nutritious food. Cambodia has been classified as “food sufficient” for almost a decade, meaning that there is enough food to feed the population; however, there is still chronic food insecurity in many districts. Additionally, 70% of the average Cambodian’s diet is comprised of rice which is low in fat, amino acids and micronutrients. This means that even when people have enough food to eat, they may still suffer from malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies which can have serious health consequences. Both HFP and FoF work to address these issues by providing families with sustainable ways to produce and consume more nutritious and diverse foods. I’ll write about each project in more detail in later posts. From everything I’ve seen and read both of these programs are exactly the type I get so excited about: they work to create sustainable ways for people to help themselves!
My first task is to acquaint myself with the various reports and news bulletins about both programs. I’ll update soon as I continue to learn more about HKI Cambodia’s projects and the work I’ll be doing. For smaller, more frequent updates follow me on Twitter (handle: HKIintern / #HKICambodia)!