Cambodia, Summer 2014
My eight weeks serving the Cambodian Child’s Dream Organization (CCDO) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, were some of the most informative, challenging, and uplifting. With projects in over 10 villages and three government school sites, the CCDO aims to create an economically empowered, educated public through tailored projects tailored at providing essential services and technical trainings to impoverished youth and families. The largest projects, an English education program and a breakfast distribution program, aim to improve school attendance and maximize academic performance by identifying prominent barriers to success in the classroom: food insecurity, disease prevalence, and responsibilities to the family and farm. The CCDO also builds water wells and latrines to reduce the burden of disease in Northwest Cambodia’s farming communities and improve health outcomes at the community level, in hopes of promoting a economically sufficient, healthy families and businesses.
As the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, I was responsible for analyzing a year’s worth of data collected from several of the CCDO’s initiatives and make appropriate recommendations following thorough examination of research-driven results. My primary duties included data entry, database creation and maintenance, and composing evaluation reports to inform staff and donors of project implementation progress. Other activities in which I participated including designing and distributing a survey intended to assess student access to breakfast meals in their home, drafting a nutrition workshop curriculum, and assisting English teachers with continuing education activities targeting primary students.
The two productive months I spent in Cambodia introduced me to a country facing a perpetual challenge of recovery, a people and culture defined by resilience, and best practices in NGO management and leadership. The experience strengthened my understanding of the poverty-poor outcomes nexus and reaffirmed my commitment to improving health at the individual and family levels in order to promote economic development at the community level.