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Revitalising Old Markets in Choam Chao

Local Markets before Re-Arrangement

The relocation street vendors into and the refurbishment of official markets that had fallen into disuse is one of the more difficult tasks facing local governments in Cambodia. As part of the DELGOSEA project, Choam Chao a small town or Sangkat near Phnom Penh, is attempting to make a success of such a revitalisation; this task is, however, proving a challenge not such because the different interests of vendors and local residents have to be reconciled, but also because of the challenges of various laws and regulations being handed down from central government.

The little Sangkat is therefore proud of its first achievements replicating the best practice from Solo, Indonesia. By now, two places have been selected as a site for official markets to relocate street vendors to and the first vendors have moved in. The atmosphere in the town has already changed dramatically: the place used to feel disorganised and quite chaotic, but now the roads near the two new markets are unobstructed and clean. The safety conditions of street vendors have improved significantly as well; in the past, these sellers were often affected by accidents caused by heavy traffic on the streets. Another issue was the garbage filling up the streets, which was affecting the health of the people. Now, the vendors are benefiting from improved environmental and economic conditions!

All this has been achieved through strengthening the capacities of the Sangkat Task Force, the body in charge of the best practice replication, by providing training as well as giving them the opportunity to go on a study tour to Solo. In addition, the upper level of local and national government were made aware of the issue of illegal markets and street vendors and its consequences for the Sangkat. The national government is now providing its support to the local government. All this would have not been possible without the close involvement of the beneficiaries themselves. Much time has been spent on information campaigns involving the street vendors and their families and explaining the benefits of market revitalisation.