A Capacity Development Workshop on Composting in Battambang: An Approach to Environmental Education in Primary Schools in Cambodia

A Capacity Development Workshop on Composting in Battambang: An Approach to Environmental Education in Primary Schools in Cambodia


The economic development and lifestyle changes are resulting in equally rapid rise in municipal solid waste, and the amount of MSW disposed to Battambang final disposal site has steadily increased from 21,535 tons in 2014 to 62,050 tons in 2017, while the methane gas generated from landfill sites across Cambodia (four cities - Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Cham) is estimated to be as high as 360,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year, contributing to global climate change.

Transition from mass-consumption society (a society where resources are extracted, consumed, and disposed) to less-resource-intensive society where waste are reduced, reused and recycled (3R) are important to avoid negative consequences of the development. This requires how waste management service is designed (how wastes are collected, treated, and disposed), but also calls for change of individual behaviors and lifestyles, given we, as individuals, are the building blocks of society.

This is where environmental education plays a critical role to bring about such changes in the society and IGES Cneter Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET) in partnership with Department of Education, Youth and Sports (DoEYS) and COMPED has developed Ecology Note for Cambodia as a  practical guide for teachers on waste, environment and society[y1] . At the national level, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) has initiated National Eco-School Program in 2016 to primary encourage school across the country to integrate environmental sustainability to education. Based on its experience, CCET also contributed to the Handbook for National Eco-School Programme that has been developed by VVOB in partnership with the MoEYS to further support the schools in implementing eco-school actions on the ground.

In this context, Battambang Municipality has been exerting efforts to address its waste management problems, including development of Waste Management Work Plan, and Waste Management Deika to induce/align behavior of different stakeholders based upon the common vision and goals shared among within the society. Promotion of Environmental Education targeting young generation has also been positioned as one of the important strategy for promoting 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) through raising awareness and enhancing collaboration and behavioral changes of individuals.


In this context, a capacity development workshop was organized in Battambang, on 3 and 4 July 2019 as a joint collaboration among VVOB, COMPED, and CCET, with the aim of on introducing composting as an approach to environmental education.

On the first session, CCET researcher Ran Yagasa discussed the rationale of promoting environmental education based on the Ecology Note in Cambodian context, while a case of participatory waste management improvement and environmental education project in Phnom Penh and the concept of active learning.

In the second session, Sam Phalla Vice Director of COMPED explained the outline of waste management issues commonly observed in Cambodian cities (open dumping/burning, weak collection system, informal sector…etc.) and the methods of waste audit, source segregation and composting, from technical perspective and as examples of implementable actions in primary school context using the teacher guides developed with CCET.

Subsequently, the vice Director of Tuol Kork Primary School shared the experience on participatory activities implemented in the school under the pilot project with the cooperation of CCET, noting emerging signs of behavioral change among students, progress of source segregation, and reduction of waste disposal amount.


Site visits to City’s final disposal site, and adjacent composting facility of COMPED were also conducted as a part of the programe, providing rare opportunity for teachers to observe the state of dumpsite and to experience composting first-hand.

Site visits to Anlungvil Primary School and Chea Sim Primary School were also conducted on the second day to promote mutual learning among schools based on respective cases. Majority of the waste in primary schools are typically generated from snack vendors, and contains single-use plastic cups, stylo foam containers, fruits peals, and left over foods. Without bu dget to access paid collection services, this is posing a problem in many schools that do not have alternatives but to openly burn the waste, Anlungvil P.S. succeeded in reducing 70% of plastic containers and 99% of stylo foam containers respectively through introduction of school-wide plastic ban. School vendors were requested to use reusable plates, and pupils were advised to bring their own cups. While this change of modality significantly reduced the waste at source, non-marketable residuals such as plastic wrappings and organic wastes are currently burnt in the back yard. The school plans step up the effort to a next stage by initiating composting to teat organic waste and requesting venders to bring back their own commercial waste.

These approaches are also being adopted in Chea Sim P.S, which has also succeeded in implementing a single-use plastic ban through frequent awareness raising workshops targeting parents and community members. Through a series of reform, the school achieved 80% reduction of waste generation and the reduction of cost previously paid for waste disposal, and it aims to gear up the efforts to achieve “zero-waste” next year.

In the wrap up session, importance of planning and engaging/initiating dialogue with vendors, parents, waste collectors and community members were highlighted.

3-4 July 2019

Khemara Hotel, Battambang, Cambodia

Time Topics and Presenters
Session 1 : Environmental Education (E.E.) and Improvement of Environment in Primary Schools

Pre-test by VVOB


Current Policy Framework
Environmental Education in Cambodia and the National Eco-School Program

Sarym Heang, Programme Coordinator Gender, Environment and School Leadership, VVOB 


Integration of Lecture and Learning-by-doing
Promotion of Environmental Education in Primary School Education: A Case of Phnom Penh

Ran Yagasa, Policy Researcher, CCET

 09:20-09:40 Coffee Break
Session 2: Addressing Waste Management and Promoting E.E. through Participatory Waste Management

Introduction of Participatory Waste Management as E.E. in Schools

Rithy Uch and Phalla Sam, COMPED


Component 1: Waste Audit

Rithy Uch and Phalla Sam, COMPED


Component 2: Source Segregation

Rithy Uch and Phalla Sam, COMPED


Component 3: Composting

Rithy Uch and Phalla Sam, COMPED


Case Report: Environmental Education and Waste Management in Primary School:  Recent Actions and Results

Tuol Kork Primary School

11:30-13:30 Lunch

Technical Visit: Composting Facility and Final Disposal Site

Day 2 Field visit to local primary schools