SWIM Cambodia

International Water Safety Foundation

The Aquatic Survival Programme Manual (ASP) is a curriculum created to save lives by teaching:

Water Safety Skills
Survival Swimming Skills
Safe Rescue Skills
CPR & First Aid Skills

This incredible resource is open source and meant to be shared, adapted, and utilized throughout the world. The ASP is geared towards young people living in low-resource areas with limited or no access to existing drowning prevention initiatives. SWIM Cambodia has adapted the ASP to fit their specific needs. Their curriculum and training manuals are in both English and Khmer, Cambodia’s native language.

The ASP was designed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) with technical support provided by the Royal Life Saving Society, the Royal Life Saving Society UK, and Nile Swimmers.

SWIM Cambodia is led by Founding Trustee, Conrad Foote from England, in collaboration with the iCAN British International School and Youth Star Cambodia.

One Year

6 SWIM Teachers

200 young adults (18-24 years old) will complete the Aquatic Survival Programme

400 adults will learn Water Safety Skills

600 children (8-17 years old) will complete the Aquatic Survival Programme

800 children and young people (8-24 years old) will learn CPR with ventilation skills and Water Safety Skills

SWIM Cambodia: 2016 Year in Review

In 2016, we saw our first team of SWIM trainers trained and active. Six Cambodian staff from iCAN British International School in Cambodia came forward, who included swimming instructors and teaching assistants from the school. I went to Cambodia to deliver teacher training in Water Safety and CPR skills to pass on to communities. iCAN School is very active in swimming sports, organising school swimming competitions and the annual Mekong River Swim. Over four days, all of the six became competent and confident to teach Water Safety and CPR with rescue breaths to children and adults. The team is co-ordinated by Liz Walker, a swim teacher and coach at the school.

The new SWIM trainers taught 270 people (177 children and 93 adults) in Water Safety and CPR skills over 3 days.

Sovanna is one of our new SWIM trainers who is a teaching assistant at iCAN School.
She says:

‘When I was young, two little girls lived next door to me. I saw the two drown in my village in the water outside their house, it was shallow water. I saw old people carry them upside down and smack their back. They both died. I want to help the people understand how to stay safe with water and show how to do good CPR.’

The people of Takeo and Chamang Teak villages in Prey Veng Province, Cambodia, live surrounded by water on either side. Most of daily life is dependent on open-water sources. In this community we heard that five children died from drowning – A boy aged 13 who tried to swim across the river and drowned. One boy died whilst taking the cows to wash. A one year old, died from drowning after falling into a water jar. One boy died from drowning in a pond and yet another died in the attempted rescue.

SWIM Cambodia has worked with Khmer advisors in the planning and preparation of the training and resources. SWIM Cambodia sits on the Aquatic Survival Programme steering group with drowning prevention experts such as RNLI and Nile Swimmers. SWIM has worked to make Aquatic Survival teaching resources appropriate to the Cambodian context to raise awareness of drowning risk specific to Cambodia.

Ramo is one of our new SWIM trainers. He is a security guard at iCAN School and teaches swimming to children part-time. Ramo writes:

“I am lucky to be born a human, I love my country so much. It is a need for every human to live a healthy life. To live we need food to eat, air to breath, water to drink and water for many different purposes. Many people do not know the water is a risk for them. In Cambodia, a lot of people die from drowning in each year and most who drown are small children because they are adventurous and used to everyday life. My hope and want is to see all the children and adults in Cambodia get knowledge about water safety and safe rescue for in around the water. I am so happy to being a SWIM trainer. I hope that the knowledge me and my teammates have can be shared to the people who are risk from the water.”

SWIM Cambodia would like to thank iCAN British International School and Youth Star for co-ordinating communities in Phnom Penh and Prey Veng. Thank you to all of our donors including Speedo International, iCAN School, and from kind supporters like yourselves.


In February the SWIM trainers will be delivering training to a new cohort of Youth Star volunteers who will go on teach children and adults in two provinces.

We have been asked by another organisation (to be revealed) to work with them to provide drowning prevention interventions with communities who live and work around the beach areas of Kampong Sowm.

SWIM Cambodia measure outcomes by gathering demographic information and asking children water safety questions (a baseline survey) before they have been taught. The same children will be followed-up to ask the same questions to see if their water safety knowledge has improved and retained. Some of these results will be available during 2017. This will enable us to evaluate and adapt the training provided.


In 2017 we would like to raise enough to sustain a small full-time team of trainers. This year we aim to identify a suitable location where this team can teach survival swimming (as well as Water Safety and CPR) to children and communities that are vulnerable to drowning.

SWIM Cambodia believe that all children have the right to play, swim and live safely in and around water. Please support us towards this goal where we will be able to provide layers of protection to children to keep them water safe.

swim cambodia

SWIM Cambodia Trainers (left to right): Narak Kun Dam Yam, Sen Annakhan (Ramo), Sovanna Chan, Conrad Foote, Lakhena Ouk, Sopheap Keo, Liz Walker.

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International Water Safety Foundation
  • Drowning is the leading cause of child death in Cambodia

  • 2094 Cambodian children die from drowning each year

  • 2877 children drown and survive, some with severe life-long brain injuries

  • Almost all children (95%) over the age of four who died from drowning could not swim

  • Children who drown in Cambodia rarely present at hospitals (only 6.6%) and therefore are not often counted in that country’s official death records.

Cambodia Accident & Injury Survey (CAIS), 2007

The Alliance for Safe Children. Summary Report on Child Injury in Cambodia, 2009


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