Social Media Campaign Raises Awareness About Energy Efficiency

With Cambodia highly vulnerable to climate change disaster, the iSave online initiative aims to equip Cambodians with the tools to play their part in reducing energy consumption at home and work.
Workers on electric pole in Phnom Penh. Picture: Sam
Workers on electric pole in Phnom Penh. Picture: Sam

A hard-hitting social media campaign to raise awareness about energy efficiency in Cambodia has been launched in a bid to help households cut energy bills while helping to save the environment.

The five-month, UK government-funded iSave initiative aims to encourage energy-consciousness among Cambodian women, youth, and social groups. Its dedicated Facebook page provides easy-to-understand energy-saving tips and information that can help guide day-to-day energy use and decisions, iSave said in a press release on Friday.

The tips include providing a clear definition of energy efficiency and practical examples; explaining the importance of cleaning aircon units and how it can reduce energy consumption; setting computer screens to sleep mode or properly shutting them down when not in use; sharing tips on saving money by buying home appliances or office equipment with the Energy Efficiency label; using smart power strips that can detect when a device is in standby mode; and cutting power off to save energy consumption.

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iSave will also serve as a hub for Cambodian partners, such as SHE Investments that advocates entrepreneurship amongst Cambodian women, who conduct business that relies on electricity for daily operations. It will also provide a platform for them to share knowledge, information on energy efficiency technologies, and ideas with the wider community.

The initiative aims to help accelerate the Kingdom’s transition to a climate-resilient, low-carbon, sustainable mode of development. Cambodia has committed to reduce its contribution to global emissions based on its resources and capacities. It has outlined a vision and strategy describing a pathway towards a countrywide carbon neutral economy by 2050.

iSave said it held focus group discussion interviews with target audience groups to help inform the campaign. These revealed that while the term ‘energy efficiency’ is new to most Cambodians, there is an opportunity to build on their familiarity with the concept of ‘energy saving’.

“Feedback from the focus groups suggested that while there was interest in saving energy, there was a real lack of information readily available regarding energy efficiency. iSave aims to help bridge this gap by providing tailored materials that make it easy for people to access the advice they need to be more energy efficient and to realise the benefits of doing so,” said Chris Stephens, Director of Asia and Africa at the Carbon Trust.

The initiative comes after the World Bank on Thursday approved $169 million financing for Cambodia to improve the disaster and climate resilience of its rural road network and improve the government’s capacity to support road safety and climate resilience.

The World Bank project will aid the reconstruction of roads and bridges in flood-affected areas and improve the government’s ability to respond to climate disasters. It will benefit approximately 5.5 million people in seven provinces, of whom 52 percent are women, and anyone who uses those roads, the bank said.

The project will also train government staff, mostly at the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), in disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, and post-disaster needs assessment.

The World Bank said Cambodia is highly vulnerable to a range of negative climate change impacts, particularly floods and droughts, and the country’s rural infrastructure is highly vulnerable to climate-disaster risks.

“Rural roads are critical to the day-to-day life of rural communities, and damage to key road segments can cripple the livelihoods of rural households and curtail access to basic services, such as markets, schools, and hospitals,” the bank said.

Extensive flooding in 2020 underscored Cambodia’s need for continued investment in disaster risk management and the vulnerability of key infrastructure.