The Swiss television programme "mitenand" visited the "Sustainable Food for Thought" project in Cambodia.

Together with the Prek Leap New Generation School, the Swiss Academy for Development (SA4D) is implementing the “Sustainable Food for Thought” project. The aim of this multi-year project is to contribute to a high-quality and future-oriented education for students from the peri-urban area of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. At the heart of the project are the innovative agricultural infrastructure systems installed at the school: solar-powered hydroponic systems, a screenhouse, a fishpond and simple drinking water purification systems. All of the project’s activities are built around these – including the sport and play based activities typical of SA4D projects.

Visit from Swiss television

Last autumn, the Swiss Television (SRF) programme “mitenand” paid a visit to the project. “mitenand” broadcasts weekly reports on the work of charitable private organisations and “Swiss Solidarity”, a Swiss fundraising organisation. The short programme provides an insight into two sub-components of the project: on one hand, the integration of the agricultural infrastructure systems into biology lessons and, on the other, the use of playful activities to promote learning and skills.

A punctual insight into a comprehensive project

The Swiss television programme provides a punctual insight into the overall project. In order to achieve project goals and a sustainable long-term impact, it includes more activities:

  • At the base are solar-powered hydroponic systems, a screen house, a fish pond and small drinking water purification units. These systems are actively managed by the students. They learn how to grow, harvest and prepare a variety of vegetables organically and sustainably, how to practice sustainable aquaculture, and how to easily purify and treat drinking water. In addition to the school’s own use of the products in the school kitchen, the aim is to sell the products at local markets and in the city of Phnom Penh. It will enable the project to become self-sustaining, with the resulting profits being invested in the long-term continuation of the project.
  • Active work with and on the systems is accompanied by interactive, playful and future-orientated lessons. The systems are integrated into the various school subjects. Students and teachers also receive technical training on the sustainable production and processing of agricultural products. This is complemented by support for students in developing business skills to generate income through the sustainable marketing of agricultural products.
  • The MEL (Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning) system developed together with all stakeholders is applied throughout the entire project and ensures that the desired impact is achieved.

The language of the TV programme is German. However, English subtitles can be set.

Why this project is taking place

Cambodia is one of the least developed countries in the world and in the South-East Asia region. While great progress has been made across the country in terms of literacy and completion at primary school level, many young people leave school at secondary level, partly due to the lack of relevance of education for the labour market. More than half of the population is dependent on agriculture to secure their livelihoods, yet one in five people is undernourished. Due to poor harvests, many families have moved to (peri-)urban areas for work in recent years. However, the supply of jobs in the industry can no longer keep up with the increasing demand for labour. Thus the potential for innovative and sustainable agriculture in peri-urban areas, not only to generate income via urban markets, but also in terms of food security.


Published 26.02.2024