Retreat with a Cause: #GreenOffice

Green cities
Swisscontact Cambodia’s ‘Retreat with a Cause’ builds team camaraderie and bolsters its green office initiative by planting 50 rosewood and monkey pod wood trees and cleaning up approximately 65 kilograms of trash and litter from a 2-kilometer stretch of road inside the Kirirom National Park during the annual staff retreat.

Swisscontact Cambodia held its 2022 Annual Staff Retreat at Kirirom National Park, from May 11th to May 13th, 2022, with the objective to thank and show appreciation for one another for the excellent work that was done together in the past years and to generate lessons learnt for moving forward in 2022.

The Swisscontact Cambodia colleagues enjoyed their retreat in the cool and pristine mountainous rain-forest, 110 kilometers away from the smoldering heat of Phnom Penh. The retreat organizing committee did a wonderful job in organizing games and group activities that brought colleagues from different projects and programs, together. These group activities helped in being acquainted with colleagues outside of work, learn personal passions, and improved camaraderie between colleagues from different projects. In short, this helped all the colleagues to have fun and enjoy the company of one another. Apart from the presentations on the achievements of the past year and project updates, sessions on experience sharing on working commitment, time management, leadership, partnership engagement and women empowerment along with a session on sharing personal passions also helped in understanding one another better, leading to a more collaborative working environment.

Group work activities
"It was the most inspiring and meaningful retreat I've ever joined. I had a great opportunity to connect and bond with my colleagues, learn about their achievements and passions which really inspired me. In addition, I was able to contribute to the green initiative such as tree planting and cleaning up the trash. It was such an unforgettable and joyful moment."
Ms. Setha Ratha, the Deputy Project Manager for the Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture who recently joined the team shared her thoughts after the retreat. 
Ms. Setha Ratha, the Deputy Project Manager for the Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture

This year’s retreat was also organized under the theme ‘Retreat with a Cause’ to bolster Swisscontact Cambodia’s green office initiative. Kirirom National Park, a popular site for ecotourism in Cambodia gets a lot of visitors, and so, faces issues with littering and trash management. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has also recognized Kirirom National Park as one of the most important habitats for maintenance of biodiversity in Cambodia.

Kirirom National Park
Mr. Om Mactheary, Director of Department of Environment of Kampong Speu Province

Mr. Mr Om Mactheary stated, "the Department of Environment believes in coming together for a clean environment. As a part of our contribution to achieve this vision, the Provincial Department of Environment, Kampong Speu, was happy to support Swisscontact in their green office initiative", 


Therefore, in an effort to augment the green office initiative, the retreat committee organized a tree planting initiative and trash and litter clean up drive in the national park. Swisscontact Cambodia staff contributed half a day to plant 50 Rosewood and Monkey Pod Wood tree saplings and cleaned up trash and litter from a 2-kilometer stretch of road inside the national park. A total of 22 trash bags, containing plastic bottles, wrappers, cans, and other litter was collected. Each trash bag weighed around three kilograms on average, compounding to approximately 65 kilograms.

The Kampong Speu Provincial Department of Tourism (PDoT) and the Provincial Department of Environment (PDoE) also supported the initiative by donating the 50 tree saplings that was planted in the national park. The Deputy Director of PDoT Kampong Speu along with five PDoT officers and four PDoE officers and the staff from vKirirom Pine Resort also participated in the tree planting and trash collection activity.

Trees planting activities
Collecting trashes activities
Mr. Ros Sok, The Director of Department of Tourism of Kampong Speu Province

"As the slogan of Ministry of Tourism states 'Tourism is green gold', it is our obligation to protect our environment for humans and animals. Together Swisscontact and Provincial Department of Tourism of Kampong Speu Province planted trees and cleaned the environment to rehabilitate forests that have been neglected. This collaboration also sends an important message for tourists and residents to understand the importance of clean environment."

"The management and staff of vkirirom resort would like to express their gratitude to Swisscontact Cambodia for planting trees to encourage the tourist campaign, and also cleaning up the garbage in Kirirom National Park"
The vKirirom Resort also showed their appreciation of the initiative by posting a video of the tree planting activity on their social media and stated.

Swisscontact Cambodia’s Green Office Initiative started in August 2021, after the Green Office Committee was formed by the Senior Management Team with participation from members across the different projects and departments. The committee has the mandate to plan initiatives that make Swisscontact Cambodia office and program/project(s) operations more environment friendly. The Kirirom experience has got the committee thinking of starting a regular monthly cleanup campaign near Phnom Penh.

22 trash bags were collected