Chroy Svay commune is approximately 140 kilometer away from down town of Koh Khong where it is hardly accessible to mobile phone service and internet services. However, the raising trend of smart phone and social media keep youths in Chroy Svay commune, feeling curious and intensify the passion of accessing to it.
Ran Kim, a young house wife of 25 year-old used Facebook for two years. As a head of youth group focusing on health said that social media especially Facebook, helped her a lot to mobilize youth in her community and sharing the result of the meeting.
She said “I spend only two days to mobilize our member for meeting by using Facebook; whereas I spent almost a week to inform them individually about meeting in the last two year”.
As information technology keeps broadening their coverage globally, rural community like Chroy Svay also effects from this widespread. The residents started owning smartphone which is partially accessible to internet. Villagers said they could only access to only two mobile operators Smart and Metfone while the rest the signal is too weak to connect.
And likewise Ran Kim, Yen Nu, Nhom Boyi, Chann Kimcheng and Khun Nay, are using social media for mobilizing, accessing to information (weather forecast, fisheries prices, accident, crimes etc), sharing local issues and communicating with local authority (reporting crime, community development, sharing information to provincial level).
Yen Nu, 21 years old and fisherman in Chroy Svay, start using smartphone and social media about one year and a half ago. And he usually used it for sharing information with his friends about the price and yield of their fishery products and sharing about illegal fishing in his community. He said “I usually get information about weather forecast such storm, flood faster than TV and radio for one day. It really helps me a lot for me to go fishing in the sea and avoid the troubles from bad weather”.
He added that his friends usually share with him about result of their fishing and sometimes about the prices.
Chroy Svay commune is a resident of 1064 families. And 2546 local residents are up from 18 years old.
Prom Norn, Chroy Svay’s commune chief, observed that the number of people using smartphone and social media in is his commune keeps increasing.
He estimated that around 10 percent of total population access to smart phone especially the youths. They could buy one smartphone for around 100 USD or lesser than this.
He added that even he did not use the smart phone right now; his colleagues usually showed him the update information about crimes, illegal fishing, and traffic accidents. And sometimes the youth group showed him what had happened in the commune too.
More importantly, youths in the commune has transformed themselves by technology to be a citizen journalist for community through training providing by ActionAid Cambodia on project” Voice Up for Rights to Food Security”.
Chan Kimcheng, a well-known citizen journalist in Chroy Svay commune has used smartphone and social inform the public about the development in her community and used as an educational tools.
She said “I have used “Facebook” as a tool to disseminate community’s information and livelihood activities such as the gathering to discuss about Rights to Education, Mangrove plantation to increase fish breeding zone, Canal Rehabilitation and other psychosocial educational activities to eliminate domestic violence, etc. People in Chrouy Svay community are excited about my role as CJ”.
She added that hence, the more citizen journalist to promote our community on social media, the sooner the public knows our community. Hopefully through this information sharing, we will be able to attract as many developmental organizations as possible to collaboratively develop Chrouy Svay community.
Not only youths who claimed the benefits of social media, but also a housewife admitted its benefits too.
Bun Rat, 4o years, a house wife with 3 children, is using a Samsung Galaxy A4 and could access to Facebook. She said that “Facebook can keep my relative working in Thailand in contact. I can see their activities and Photos on Facebook”.
Prom Norn, the commune chief said he is going to buy new smart soon. He added “it will save me a lot times to send documents and information to districts or provincial department”.