Talmage Payne is the new country director of Cambodia appointed by World Hope International (WHI). Payne will lead efforts to expand WHI’s program offerings including a community development, horticulture cultivation, anti-trafficking, and gender-based violence programs.

“We are incredibly blessed to be able to add someone as experienced and talented as Talmage to the World Hope International family,” said John Lyon, chief executive officer and president of World Hope International. “As he has been a resident of Southeast Asia for the majority of his adult years, and already dedicated over a decade of his professional life to helping improve the social welfare of Cambodia, we are exceedingly confident that Talmage is the perfect candidate to help reinforce our fight against gender-based violence and poverty.”

Payne brings a breadth of experience and expertise in the arena of humanitarian entrepreneurship, which will help to expand WHI’s already extensive philanthropic work in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining World Hope International, Payne served as the global CEO of Hagar International—an organization dedicated to the protection and recovery of survivors of human trafficking—helping establishing the company in nine countries through an integrated non-profit and for-profit model; he also spent 15 years with World Vision in various roles, including director for World Vision Cambodia and founding chair of VisionFund Cambodia.

Payne has been recognized by the Royal Cambodian Government for his humanitarian work, twice awarding him the People’s Medal. And recognized in the business community for his enterprise start ups such as the 2012 ASEAN SME Award for First Finance – Cambodia’s first affordable housing finance company.

“I am impressed with World Hope International’s willingness to be creative and take risks in confronting some of the world’s most intractable problems. Cambodia is ranked third in the world for the prevalence of human trafficking on the Global Slavery Index, all the way down at 143rd on the UN Human Development Index, 104th on WEF’s Gender Gap Index. Deforestation is now highest in the world on a per capita basis contributing to Cambodia’s second place rank on the Global Climate Risk Index. The challenges facing Cambodia’s people need a lot more than impassioned good intentions. We will bring tenacity, innovation, professionalism, courage and commitment to rewriting the rules for the oppressed and marginalized from the market place to the courtroom. Partnering with World Hope’s ambition for Cambodia is going to make a difference. Watch this space.”

WHI combats gender-based violence and poverty in Cambodia through efforts such as the Adelphe Sponsorship Program, which connects women from the United States with vulnerable women in rural Cambodia to empower the latter through monetary commitments funding health, agriculture and education services.

Additionally, in 2005, WHI opened the first and only Assessment Center for Survivors of Sexual Exploitation and Rape (AC) in Phnom Penh. For a decade, WHl was at the forefront of the movement to eradicate human trafficking in Cambodia as the AC served as the first stop for victims on their path towards recovery, providing immediate health needs and life-skills training. In 2015, WHI celebrated a major reduction in the level of child sex trafficking in Cambodia by helping support over 1,100 sexually trafficked and exploited girls; the U.S. Department of State recognized the AC as a best in practice for its type of high trauma care. Moving forward, WHI recently started working to strengthen the government’s response to violence against women through a United Nations funded program.

WHI will be looking at improving small farmer climate resilience and incomes through access to technology and markets. For example, WHI is now teaching local Cambodians how to cultivate mushrooms using a simple storage unit made up of bamboo, hay and plastic, inside of which the mushrooms will grow. Pennsylvania State University just sent a team to Cambodia to improve on the scalability of the approach and test affordable greenhouse technologies. Payne will bring his social enterprise experience to challenges of clean water, sanitation, energy and conservation; and his heart for fighting gender based violence and human trafficking in expanding WHI commitment to victims.

To learn more, visit http://www.worldhope.org.