Village Workshops

In 2005, HeritageWatch began regular village workshops aimed at educating rural communities about the importance of protecting their local heritage. These workshops are an important part of HeritageWatch’s national education campaign—by going directly into those communities at threatened archaeological sites, HeritageWatch is reaching out to potential looters and educating them about the importance of protecting the past.

In August 2005, HeritageWatch staff spent a week in the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey, working with 140 members of the community. Villagers, monks, and district officials listened to informative talks about the historical, religious, and economic importance of archaeological sites. Much of the workshop was hands-on, including guided discussions on the importance of protecting ancient sites, and the many causes of looting.

Most of the villagers attributed looting to ignorance, and felt that local people who realized the value of their heritage would be less likely to destroy it. Ninety-eight percent of the participants found the workshops
“Very Helpful” and thought that they would contribute to a decrease in looting. Due to the success of these workshops, other training sessions were later held in Battambang and Oddar Meanchey provinces, with equally positive results.
 
"The work of Heritage Watch in developing innovative programs...to preserve Cambodia's cultural heritage and to foster responsible tourism represent a 21st century approach to... stemming the trade in illegal antiquities" James Cuno, Director, Center for

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