Phnom Penh, 8th December 2021. AFD has been operating in its partner countries for almost a century and is celebrating its 80th anniversary. This is an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to those who carry out our common mission in the field and whose destiny is more than ever linked to ours. AFD in Cambodia and the French The embassy in Cambodia is organizing on December 8 a cocktail party to mark the occasion and to inaugurate the exhibition “Women’s Voices”.

Since it was founded by General de Gaulle on 2nd December 1941, Agency French Development has maintained its humanist spirit in the fight against global inequalities and environmental disruption. For almost a century it has been supporting solidarity actions in the field, for and with others, all over the world.

AFD has been active in Cambodia since 1993, having been one of the first donors to support the country at the end of the civil war. Since then, AFD has committed almost 900M euros and has had an average annual commitment of 100M euros over the last few years.

These decades of history and projects are also about the men and women who have
succeeded one another in supporting and building sustainable projects together. For its 80th anniversary, AFD wishes to look to the future, with its partners, and ask itself: what kind of world do we want to build by 2101?

One thing is certain this future will not be built without women. This is why AFD wanted to honor them on the occasion of its 80th anniversary. The exhibition “Women’s Voices” which will be inaugurated on 8th December in the gardens of the Residence of France, alongside the French Embassy in Cambodia aims to convey the voices of inspiring Cambodian women involved in AFD-supported projects and highlight their stories, initiatives, and challenges.

These portraits of women, taken through the lens of young photographer Ms. Sereyrath Mech and orchestrated by the association Minor Act, capture their determination to break down the barriers to their emancipation. Their testimonies show how they move the lines, on a daily basis, so that the Cambodia of tomorrow is also carried by women.

The exhibition will then be displayed in front of AFD’s offices at 5 rue 106 and will soon be on display at the French Institute of Cambodia.

H.E. Jacques Pellet, French Ambassador to Cambodia believes that the celebration of AFD’s
80th anniversary at the French Embassy is a great opportunity to defend and promote equality between women and men. Since 2018, with the International Strategy for Equality between Women and Men, France has engaged in feminist diplomacy.

H.E. Jacques Pellet said, “This anniversary is also an excellent opportunity to present a French diplomacy based on sustainable development making it possible to protect the planet from the negative effects of climate change and to ensure the prospect of a resolutely better future for everyone”.

France’s development policy falls within the framework set by the international community, in particular, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Paris Agreement on climate, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. It is also part of the new European Consensus for Development adopted in 2017.

Mr. Pellet added, “This anniversary is also an excellent opportunity to present French diplomacy is based on sustainable development making it possible to protect the planet from the negative effects of climate change and ensure the prospect of a resolutely better future for everyone”. 

Ms. Ophélie Bourhis, AFD’s Director in Cambodia said, “I am delighted to be celebrating AFD’s 80th anniversary around such a fundamental issue for France and AFD: gender equality. I would like to warmly thank all the women who agreed to participate in this project. I would like to thank them for speaking out against inequalities and for proposing concrete solutions to improve things. I would also like to salute the work of the Minor Act, which was able to give life to these portraits and sublimate these testimonies, through the vision of young Khmer artists who were mobilized for the project. We hope that these portraits, messages, and initiatives will question and inspire”. 

About Agence française de développement Group:
AFD Group implements France’s policy in the areas of development and international solidarity. The Group includes Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which finances the public sector and NGOs, as well as research and education in sustainable development; its subsidiary Proparco, which is dedicated to private sector financing; and soon, Expertise France, a technical cooperation agency.

The Group finances to support and accelerate transitions towards a fairer, more resilient world. With our partners, we are building shared solutions with and for the people of the Global South. Our teams are at work on more than 4,000 projects in the field, in the French Overseas Departments and Territories, in 115 countries, and in regions in crisis. We strive to protect global public goods – promoting a stable climate, biodiversity, and peace, as well as gender equality, education, and healthcare. In this way, we contribute to the commitment of France and the French people to achieve the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs).

Photo by: Supply