Cambodia, Summer 2015
Over the past 11 weeks during summer, I worked with Cambodian Child’s Dream Organization (CCDO), an NGO that builds water wells and latrines for rural communities and supports several local schools in Siem Reap through an education and nutrition program.
As a monitoring and evaluation intern, I was responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of existing programs and recommending new strategies for improvement. Some of my projects include creating a water well and latrine maintenance database, developing surveys to find out students’ meal habits, implementing a unique student ID system, analyzing trends and drafting reports using school attendance, test scores and demographic information.
My time there was both challenging and rewarding. At the start, I remember struggling to adapt to a new and unfamiliar environment, one that had such a different climate and culture from what I’m used to. As the days went by, I started to learn basic Khmer, I grew accustomed to the heat and humidity, became attached to the locals, and learned to recognize the cultural context when working with others, from collecting information from multiple sources, to relating and communicating with a diverse group of stakeholders. There were many other unforgettable experiences, such as reading stories to five year-olds, practicing my Khmer with the community workers, tasting local delicacies (snails and crickets), cheering on the children as they represented CCDO during the Globalteer games, and seeing the happy smiles of villagers when a well is built in their home.
I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to spend my summer in such an enriching and meaningful way. It is truly an experience that has given me wonderful memories for a lifetime.