New hope rising from the youth
Scrolling through my computer, I saw the very best of humanity from afar. That is, from another country, another surface.
Coming from different parts of Cambodia, 13 selected participants took part in the Community Assessment Capacity Building – CACB Lab Workshop held at Battambang Province from Oct. 29 to Nov 1, 2017. To arm them with the necessary skills to help communities, the four organizing team members comprising Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellows, partners, WISE – WASH in Southeast Asia, with donors East-West Center (EWC), the U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and National Youth Council Singapore, made the event possible.
Their goal was to empower local youth and NGOs in assessing community needs. From restless calls and emails back and forth over three months of preparation, the organizing team members looked forward to an exciting, interactive, and meaningful workshop.
Equipped with passion and dedication, they were ready. Activities such as lectures, group discussions, and role-play took place. The facilitators then evaluated if the participants gained any new knowledge. Each asking if there were any aspects that could be improved. With this practice, both the organizing teams and participants got to grow.
On the second day, there were exercises about designing and conducting surveys and budgeting.
On the third day, the participants applied their project ideas to the skills learned at the workshop. They pitched their plans, visions, and actions for feedback from the facilitators and fellow participants.
“It was dark but the sun started to rise and I saw slowly how beautiful were the skies,” said Theary Ly Sokun as she reflected on the three-day workshop. Geared with their similes, they formed a circle and sat for the final closing session. They each described what they thought of the workshop and how it has changed their perspective: a shred of light in a cloudy day.
“It helped me to assess the need of the community, how to budget money effectively” said Nalalyn Chan, one of the participants. The workshop has gathered these dedicated youth and has provided them with the knowledge and skills to help their respective communities.
Asked what they would do after the workshop, she said that she would go to the community, learn from them, identify what exactly the problem is, make connections with another organization or attend another workshop. This shows how valuable the current workshop is. It opens up to endless possibilities.
Not only are the memories made for keepsake but their abilities and empowerment as well. The organizers hope the participants would carry their skills with them wherever they go.
Three months preparation sounds like a million years but it happened in a blink of an eye; whenever we recall it back, we have smiles on our faces.” said Piseth Kim, one of the organizing team members. With the knowledge and skills bestowed upon the participants, making late-night calls and carving out time from their full-time work, made everything worthwhile.