Sahmakum Teang Tnaut: a Cambodian Urban NGO
A society in which urban inhabitants enjoy adequate housing within a sustainability developing city.
To provide pro-poor technical assistance for housing and infrastructure and to inform dialogue and raise awareness about urban issues
Phnom Penh based Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (‘STT’) was set up in September 2005 and officially registered with the Ministry of Interior in December 2006. ‘Teang Tnaut’ means ‘Sugar Palm Leaf’ in Khmer and is used for house construction, thatch roofs, sugar and packaging. This icon of the Cambodian landscape evokes a simplicity and usefulness which STT tries to reflect in its work with urban communities. From the outset STT has had a focus on infrastructure upgrading but over the past decade many communities have been impacted by development-related land alienation and evictions. Because of this STT has strengthened its research and advocacy to draw attention to a development policy that in Phnom Penh alone has led to 150,000 residents being displaced since 1990. By supporting genuine community complaints and grievances STT and its partners have been helping communities articulate their concerns to local and international media, donors and other NGOs & INGOs.
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In 2014 STT had a change of leadership structure. Since then, STT has been collaboratively run by the Executive Director (ED) and the Management Committee (MC). In the same year, STT changed its by-laws to make the Board, which was Advisory, into an Executive Board. Currently, STT consists of a growing team committed to fulfilling the organisation’s mission.
STT also has a Governance Board that meets quarterly; currently there are 5 members on the board including Ms. Chhoeun Thavy (Chair) Mrs.Maia Diokno (Vice Chair) Mr.Sun Long, (Treasurer) Mr.Kevin Knight ( Member) Mr. Moeun Tola, (Member)
Mr. Ee Sarom
Mr. Ee Sarom is the Executive Director at STT where he oversees the organization’s Technical and Advocacy Programs. In addition, he represents the organization in a vibrant Cambodian civil society, and liaises with NGO partners, donors, authorities and other stakeholders. He has been with STT since February 2009, when he started as the Advocacy Program Manager. Mr. Sarom then served as the Program Coordinator and STT’s representative until, in 2011, STT was arbitrarily shut down without legal basis by the government for a period of five months. Faced with relentless pressure from fellow NGOs and development donors, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) reinstated STT’s official status in March of 2012. Since then, with the continued hard work of its employees and partners, coupled with the coordination of Mr. Sarom and the Management Committee, STT has established itself as one of the foremost organizations advocating for urban poor housing rights in Phnom Penh.
Mr. Sarom has a strong background in the fields of law and advocacy and holds a master’s degree in Law and Political Science from Build Bright University. He has accumulated over 20 years experience in the NGO field, having previously worked with Handicap International, United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), and Veterans International to support People with Disability (PWD) until late 2008.
Mr Soeung Saran
Mr Soeung Saran has been the Advocacy Programme Manager with Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) since February 2015, where he oversees three different projects. In cooperation with STT’s management committee and affected communities, Saran leads the evidence-based advocacy activities at local and international levels. His responsibilities include building network with grassroots, civil society groups and other key stakeholders, controlling monitoring and evaluation processes, coordinating regular internal and external reports, contributing to proposal writing, and helping in financial and human resource management and organizational strategic planning.
Previously, Saran served as a Freelance Translator and Research Consultant with a number of national and international institutions including Cambodian Centre for Independent Media (CCIM), Equitable Cambodia (EC), BBC Media Action, Dan Church Aid/Christian Aid (DAC/CA), East West Management Institute/Programme of Rights and Justice (EWMI/PRAJ), FHI 360, NGOs CEDAW, Ministry of Environment, Oxfam America and World Vision Cambodia.
Saran has worked in the field of human rights for more than 5 years. He worked with the local human rights organisation LICADHO in Advocacy and Documentation Resource Office from 2005 to 2010. During that time Saran was actively involved in producing extensive advocacy tools and organising advocacy activities, and engaged with multiple community issues including land and housing rights.
Saran graduated in 2013 from the Australian National University (ANU) in a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (MAAPD) specialising in Gender and Development. In 2012 he undertook the Post-graduate Diploma in Public Administration from the same university ANU. Prior to his scholarship to study in Australia, he took a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA) from the IIC University of Technology in 2008. Saran is dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, women’s rights and the rights of vulnerable persons to live in decent living conditions.
Mr. Lors Sren
Mr. Lors Sren is a MIT (Mapping, Infrastructure and Tenure Security) and AHUP (Alternative Housing and Urban Planning) Project Manager at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT). He joined STT’s team in late 2009 as a volunteer. In 2010, he was promoted to Junior Project Officer.
In early 2012, Mr. Sren was promoted again to Community Project Manager. He works to support the freedom of expression of community activists.
His duties include: increasing activists’ ability to articulate their concerns and providing them with the means to do so. He works to strengthen local community networks through monitoring, meetings, forums, trainings, and community exchange visits.
Additionally, he strengthens the local NGO network through meetings, networking, and joint discussions. Mr. Sren’s work has improved STT’s research methods, evidence-based advocacy, and has had an immeasurable impact on community activists’ urban poor, and those under threat of community relocation.
In 2016, Mr. Sren’s work was moved from community project manager to MIT and AHUP project manager. Now he works and supports mapping design with communities under threat of eviction with the aim of strengthening their tenure security and/or bargaining position vis-à-vis the authorities and/or developers and to provide alternative pro-poor options to urban development plans using a participatory approach. Work with communities also includes tangible interventions such as clean water supply, sanitation, drainage, and adequate road access.
Mr. Sren graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economic Development in 2009 from Norton University, Phnom Penh.
Mr. Em Khemara
Mr. Em Khemara is a Community Project Manager at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT). He joined STT’s team in February 2013 as a Community Project Officer. In 2014, he was promoted to Senior Community Project Officer. From 2014 to early 2016, Khemara was a member of STT’s Management Committee (MC) as a staff representative.
In May 2016, Khemara was promoted to Community Project Manager, where he continues to work to support the freedom of expression of community activists, focusing on land and housing rights. His duties include increasing activists’ ability to articulate their concerns and supporting them with the means required to do so. He works to strengthen local community networks through community monitoring, meetings, forums, trainings, and community exchange visits. Additionally, he strengthens the local NGO network through meetings, networking, and joint discussions. Khemara’s work has contributed to the development of STT’s research methods, evidence-based advocacy, and has had an immeasurable impact on urban poor community activists and those under threat of community relocation.
Khemara co-founded the Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) in 2009, which is a youth organization working to empower youth through meetings, forums, trainings and dialogues. It also works to promote youth activism in the protection of environment and natural resources, particularly the participation with Prey Lang community to protect the forest from illegal logging and so on. From 2011 – 2013, he was the Secretary General of CYN.
Khemara graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 2011 from the National University of Management (NUM), Phnom Penh. He is currently undertaking his Master in International Human Rights Law with Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC), Phnom Penh.
Mr. Chin Veasna
Mr. Chin Veasna has been working for Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) as the Administration and Human Resource Manager. He was recruited by the Management Committee (MC) of the organization in June 2016. In addition to this role, he is now a member of the Management Committee, and he contributes to problem solving and decision making within the organization.
Before arriving at STT, Mr. Veasna served as the Human Resource Manager and a Sales Project Coordinator for Kamworks Ltd, in partnership with People In Need organization (PIN) and UNCDF project of France. He worked there for almost 3 years, from 2014 until June 2016. Mr. Veasna has solid experience in the field of Administration and Human Resource management, with over 7 years of experience, and he has joined with some private sectors, such as Grand Dragon Resort, Damco Cambodia (Ltd.), Viettel Cambodia (Ltd.)
Veasna currently lives in Phnom Penh city with his family. He was born in Banteaty Meanchey province, and finished Bac II (grade 12) at Khlar Kon high school in 2006. He then went on to achieve a scholarship to obtain his bachelor degree of Human Resource Management at Maharishi Vedic University (changed to Chea Sim Kamchaymear) where he graduated in 2010. Mr. Veasna is currently pursuing his master degree in the field of management at National University of Management where he received the outstanding staff award scholarship from his last employer, and is due to complete this course at the end of 2017.
Mr. SEANG Muoylay
Mr. SEANG Muoylay is a Human Rights Based Spatial Project Manager at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut. He was promoted to this position in October 2016 after working as an Urban Settlement Officer for approximately two and half-years. His main responsibility is to facilitate project implementation for tasks relating to: community maps; legal advice sheets (based on Cambodia land law, and international human rights on housing); re-development plans for development (both on site, and relocation site development); facilitate sub-grant schemes to community based organizations; and facilitate research preparation.
Prior to working as an Urban Settlement Officer of Human Rights-Based Spatial Planning Projects at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, Mr. Seang Muoylay was an attorney assistant intern and a research intern. Before this, he was an administrative officer in a private company, and a volunteer for social and political work.
In 2014, Mr. Muoylay graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, from the Cambodian Mekong University.
His personal views include: “awareness of listening, honesty, respect for the value of humans with sentiment, and practice of rule and law as a main principle rather than habit. These are important things for building social peace”.