It became apparent in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic that the only pathway to conquering this global crisis was via a global solution. No country, government or organisation would be able to combat this omnipotent threat in isolation. More than ever before we needed to put aside any tendencies toward protectionism and self-interest by working together in partnership and for the common good.


It was with this sense of urgency and collaboration in mind that The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation (SBCF) in Cambodia signed a joint agreement in April with both The HALO Trust and The Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) with the aim of leveraging skills, resources and funding to provide a swift and effective response to the emerging crisis in the region. With western nations struggling to deal with COVID-19 despite advanced healthcare systems and robust economies, our concerns were growing for countries lacking the infrastructure and economic stability to cope as the pandemic began to take hold.

The co-ordinated campaign was to focus on the delivery of food parcels and hygiene kits to vulnerable communities as well as the dissemination of information to raise awareness of the virus and preventative measures to mitigate risk.

Distributing vital supplies to
remote villages

Six weeks since the signing of the joint agreement and the partnership has delivered over 1,394 hygiene and food parcels including;

  • 2000 kg of jasmine rice
  • 2,160 bars of soap
  • 2,500 surgical face masks
  • 2,000 cans of crane fish
  • 300 litres hand sanitiser
‘In times of crisis, it is essential that NGO’s work together in empathy and solidarity to provide the best possible support for beneficiaries, putting aside separate organisational objectives and agendas. The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation was more than happy to provide funding for The HALO Trust’s COVID-19 emergency relief project in Cambodia, in the knowledge that a co-ordinated response would result in more meaningful support for those in the greatest need."

Lou McGrath, CEO, The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation

The joint initiative has highlighted the complementary skillsets of the two organisations, which we hope to build on through an ongoing collaborative partnership. Whilst The HALO Trust is known predominantly for its outstanding expertise in the clearance of landmines and unexploded remnants of war, we at The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation focus on supporting victims of conflict through both physical and psychological rehabilitation on a holistic level. Our centre in Pursat province, for example, provides support for the disabled through both physiotherapy and the development of vocational skills to help rebuild livelihoods torn apart by the horrors of conflict.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic is a shared crisis and calls for a shared response. Working in partnership with our friends at The HALO Trust and the CMAA has allowed us to better protect the poorest families in Cambodia against this unprecedented threat. The initiative has highlighted the importance of NGOs working together in times of crisis to pool resources and unite in a common cause; saving lives and preventing longer-term suffering in the communities we serve.’

Rothna Buth, Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation, Country Director, Cambodia