ASA/WISHH recognizes the exciting real-world aquaculture learning at Raksmeay Sophonna High School in the Kampong Thom Province. WISHH’s collaboration with the Cambodian high school technology park supports the 2022 International Youth Day theme of “Intergenerational Solidarity” across generations for sustainable development. International Youth Day is August 12.
The high school is home to one of five aquaculture technology parks that are part of the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition. CE SAIN is housed in Cambodia’s Royal University of Agriculture. Kansas State University engages with CE SAIN through the U.S. Agency for International Development Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification. WISHH planned for collaboration with KSU and the high school park through its USDA Food for Progress Project-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade-Cambodia. The parks demonstrate promising technologies and production methods to attract private sector participation within research and farmer networks.
Multiple projects managed by CE SAIN have youth components. In 2022, KSU-CE SAIN-CAST recruited seven interns to work at its various project sites in Cambodia. All the interns are younger than 29 years of age. Sales of fish from the ponds generates revenue for their stipends. The investment in these interns builds the long-term capacity of Cambodian aquaculture.
The Raksmeay Sophonna High School is unique because WISHH’s CAST project funded building and managing fishponds that support student learning for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The ponds complement CE SAIN’s partnership with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies in Agriculture, which also supports gardening. The experiential aquaculture initiative plans to support teachers with lessons plans for children kindergarten through grade 12. An example of their aquaculture-related STEM learning includes studying pH and dissolved oxygen required for fish growth. The water quality measurement exercise is part of Cambodian Certification on Aquaculture Practice, a CAST-supported initiative.
The Raksmeay Sophonna agriculture teacher worked with CE SAIN-CAST to offer training on aquaculture feed and feeding to 153 grade 10 students, including 114 girls, in June 2022. The students gained practical knowledge ranging from how to inspect feed quality, proper feed storage management, and fish feeding best practices.
The high school location was also a prime spot for WISHH to leverage Nebraska soy checkoff resources to demonstrate aerators that are designed specifically for Cambodian aquaculture. These aerators add oxygen as they recycle water to reduce life-robbing stress on the fish. The aeration units also help Cambodians maximize quality water supplies for their aquaculture that faces the extremes of dry and rainy seasons.