“This organisation has various ways in which they contribute to the development of rural communities around Siem Reap city. Check out the organisation’s website for more information on their impact. The CCDO has a very passionate and dedicated local team doing most of the fieldwork. As volunteers, we support all ongoing projects mainly by writing reports, grant proposals, capturing data and communicate with donors. When you start seeing the bigger picture, as a volunteer you realise that you indeed do contribute to the success of the organisation. Of course, we don’t merely sit in the office. At least two times per week you will go to the rural villages with the local team to conduct surveys, interviews, and assessments. Personally, I loved going to the villages – even though the language barrier makes it nearly impossible to communicate with villagers, by just observing one already learns a lot and can perform one’s office duties with much more insight and commitment. Cambodia is also a beautiful country so the 30min tuk-tuk rides outside the city already make it worth the trip.
I was mostly involved in the Social Entrepreneurship Program that seeks to generate funds that both develop rural communities but also help the NGO to make its projects more sustainable. The Piglet Project e.g. gives families two female piglets to kickstart pig farming. I helped to update data, do interviews with potential beneficiaries and design workshops.
Communication was certainly the biggest challenge in Cambodia – fortunately, the CCDO functions in English. Be patient and rather see the communication struggles as an opportunity for the Khmer people to also improve their English skills: never be patronizing nor annoyed, in Cambodia you will be inspired by how much this country’s people do to make life happen every day.
The organisation, the country and the entire experience exceeded my expectations by far! Not only did I learn a lot about NGO Management as intended or get to live in the small but wonderful city of Siem Reap, I also met dozens of people from all over the world: fellow volunteers came from the US, Malaysia, Spain, the Netherlands; through partnerships with foundations and donors, I met successful and influential people from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, the US. Merely hoping that I would gain a frame of reference before I commence further studies in this field, I can also confidently say that I gained work and networking experience valuable to advance my career in the near future.
I recommend this program to those who seek exposure to the field of NGO Management/Community Development, who has a passion to better people’s lives, is quite adaptable, and always curious to learn. The CCDO’s NGO Management Internship is not a structured internship although the team does invest a lot of time guiding, showing and sharing their knowledge and stories with the volunteers. You are exposed to and get to participate in all the various projects that need attention. Thus, don’t be too set on which project you expect to run, but also don’t hesitate to contribute in whatever field you feel most confident in.
If you are open to taking on every trip and task as an opportunity to learn about Cambodia’s people and ways to improve their livelihoods, this will be an absolute highlight of and very influential season in your life! You’ll be proud to be associated with this organisation.”