While roughly a fifth of Cambodia’s population is estimated to live in poverty, reportedly 300,000 young people enter the labour market seeking job opportunities every year. The report “Volunteerism and youth employment in Cambodia” presents ways to leverage volunteerism as an essential mechanism for skills development amongst youth.
This report highlights the results of a year-long research conducted with the support of more than two hundred organizations and hundreds of individuals from the government, civil society, academia and the private sector. The process has been coordinated by international UN Volunteer Hrachia Kazhoyan and national UN Volunteer Samadee Saray, who successfully maximized the benefits of South-South cooperation through volunteerism.
Among its main findings, the report makes clear that volunteering is a pivotal element of community development and volunteerism needs to be encouraged, especially in rural areas. While information services and technical and vocational programmes are accessible for people living in urban areas, limited capacity impedes outreach to rural areas where such services are in high demand. Further investment in groups of local volunteers with the ability to reach those areas is critical.
The report includes examples of how empowered Cambodian youth make a difference in their communities. It presents volunteering models that helped Cambodia recover from the decades of war and contributed to the country’s development, some of which can be replicated across the world.
According to the results presented in the report, volunteer programmes in Cambodia have made a difference in reducing poverty, eradicating illiteracy, improving health, promoting gender equality, and protecting human rights and the environment.
In the words of H.E. Tauch Choeun, Director General of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) in Cambodia, “This publication presents and explains remarkable work done by many volunteer-involving organizations, analysing various models of mobilizing and working with volunteers in Cambodia.”
The report also puts forward some recommendations to make the most of volunteers and volunteerism in Cambodia, including greater investment in human and financial resources to create opportunities for volunteers and to develop their skills, the inclusion of volunteerism in the civic education curriculum, further integration of volunteerism into Cambodia’s national development plans and more engagement with local volunteers to reach the most vulnerable, particularly in remote rural areas.
The research activities in the framework of this report have been funded by the UNV Special Voluntary Fund, which targets innovative volunteering projects that respond to critical development challenges.
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