Dear Mac,

It’s been a long long time since I wrote you about what’s going on over here.
2023 started out a lot better than 2022. After the accident last year we stopped working for almost a month. We reviewed the the SOPs and made some changes to them, some subtle, some very clear and specific.

We ran a Leadership Training Class for CSHD mid and senior management staff. The class was run by a company in the USA that runs courses for firefighters, police, and other groups ‘at the point of the spear’. The men who taught the class are retired US army special forces NCOs. The situational training is a lot like the classes you and I took in the army in the 60s and the 70s; putting people into situations where they need to work together as a team to solve a problem. The course was very well received. The general response was ‘Why didn’t we do this years ago?’ The company, Mission Centered Solutions, will return in June and run a a second class: “Teaching the Teachers” so CSHD can run the course on their own.

From July – September we ran EOD level 3 and level 3plus training a the CMAC training facility in Kampong Chhnag. We up-trained 12 personnel to levels needed to manage a minefield and handle explosive remnants of war (ERW), what the EOD teams do.

We retired the name EOD Team3. We now have 2 EOD teams: EOD T2 and EOD T4. The third team, EORE T6, is comprised of 3 individuals, 2 of them landmine victims, and they conduct Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) classes. En Poy, the survivor of EOD T3 is on this team. EOD T2 and EOD T4 are funded by World Without Mines out of Switzerland. EORE T6 is funded by the Landmine Relief Fund and the Canadian Landmine Foundation.

CSHD is now comprised of 38 individuals. We hired a Communications Officer. His name is Eric and he is Khemerican. His family escaped the KR and went the US. He grew up in California and graduated from California State University, Sacramento. His long term job is to search out funding that can go directly to CSHD, eliminating the need for ‘middlemen’ like LMRF and HI. CSHD has established themselves as a viable NGO that can manage the required work and report regularly. Their weakness has been their inabiity to communicate in English, the language of business in the world today. Eric’s command of the English language is excellent and he’s spent the last few months in the field kerning what CSHD does. He is taking over the social presence for CSHD, and is already working on grants prposals for direct funding to CSHD.

Cambodia has set the objective of clearing all the known minefields by the end of 2025, at which time international funding may go away. CSHD has to position themselves to secure their own funding and have a plan beyond 2025. Certainly ERW is going to be a problem for decades to come, and that will probably be a major path for CSHD to go down. They are working now to determine the future of trhe NGO. 2025 is not far away, and they need to have a plan in place long before the funding ends.

RThat’s pretty much where we are today. I’ll be more active. Hope to see you soon.

Babu out

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