Team building transforming Cambodia

On a whirlwind trip to Cambodia visiting projects, Global Development Group Executive Director, Geoff and Betty Armstrong, along with Cambodia Project Officer, Peta Thomas, hosted a Partners’ Network Meeting in Phnom Penh, together with Cambodian representative, Makara Kin, and Project Assistant Phealy Hut. The meeting was attended by 50 delegates from 26 partner organisations.

Geoff shared about the organisation’s vast experience in Cambodia, working in partnership since 2004. “We currently have 40 projects across all development sectors in the nation, but most of our projects in Cambodia primarily work in the areas of education and vocational training, community development, water and sanitation, rehabilitation and reintegration,” Geoff said.

Makara welcomed three new partners who introduced their projects to the network. Alison and Sopheak from Precious Women project J906N explained how their work empowers women who are exploited in the sex and entertainment industry. Sue Hanna shared passionately about Flame Cambodia and project J920N which is empowering Khmer youth to use their time and skills to help people living in slum communities. John Tucker of New Hope for Cambodian Children shared about project J912N which assists children affected by HIV/AIDs through promoting access to medical care, as well as a residential and education program.

Peta introduced the key topic and asked three long-term partners to share their experience in ‘overcoming development challenges’ in their projects.

  • Naroth from J771N Stars of Peace preschool shared about a new policy requiring families to contribute with a small fee for their children to attend the pre-school. Initially a small number of families left the pre-school, but they recognised the value of the school and the broader Stars of Peace impact in the community and they decided that their children’s education was worth investing in. Naroth said, “The poor can also contribute. We want to raise their dignity, when they give something they feel value that they can be a part of it”.
  • Samnang from project J529N Sunshine Cambodia shared two case studies of participants in the Sunshine Cambodia programs who transformed their lives through learning how to live responsibly. Sunshine Cambodia’s strategy is to work with people, not for them.
  • Lastly we heard from Phealy of Metamorphic Asia project J445. Phealy shared about the Community Transformation Program of Metamorphic which encourages participants to innovate and dream of businesses to suit their local markets. Phealy said, “We don’t want to just take them out of poverty, but we aim to take the poverty mindset out of them”.

Participants later enjoyed some strong, Khmer coffee while connecting with other partners working in Cambodia and our Global Development Group team.

A big thank you to all Cambodia partners—old and new—who came to contribute, build relationship, inspire and encourage one another.  It was another successful meeting!

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