Posts tagged ‘Cambodia’

The Outstanding Youth Picnic

April 06, 2008 was just a week from the Khmer New Year, I was pleased to join a picnic to Tamao mountain with a group of dynamic and energetic young people many of whom are fresh graduates and university students who were also contestants of the Youth Leadership Challenge (YLC) which is a TV show program organized by the Youth Council of Cambodia (YCC) and funded by USAID through IRI. I got to know these youth groups because I was part of the program, particularly to train and coach them on the public speaking skills.

The picnic was organized with an objective to have fun together and enhance our friendship as well as to give each other wishes for the Khmer New Year. Thanks to Chea Thong who helped organize the picnic and arrange the trip. We were supposed to depart Phnom Penh at 8 a.m from a point near the Independent Monument where we met up and got in the bus. However, we start the journey a bit late as we had to wait for one of our friends “Sokunthea” who reportedly had trouble finding the Independent Monument ūüôā (we were just teasing her). Then we had to pick up two more friends and planned to have breakfast on the way which we did.

As we stopped at a restaurant near one of the local market at Kandal Steung, we were told that there was no food left, I guess they had some left but just could not afford to supply too many hungry people like all of¬†our group¬†at that time. ūüôā so we decided to move on. It sounded like if we were starving on our way but that was not the case, you know why? Because we enjoyed so much then. Norin who is a Champion for the YLC is also a good guitarist and a pretty good singer, and Pichey who would not let his mouth shut for a minute is a good singer. The two guys performed on the bus all the way to the mountain while others also joined in singing different songs. The self introduction game which asked people to say about their personal style was also fun together with lots of jokes.

As we approached near to Tamao Mountain, we bought sticky rice cake called “Katom”, a small cake that has sticky rice inside and covered by palm leaf. We found it hard to uncover the leaf of the Katom so we had different way of eating it. Some of us just put the Katom in our mouth and crack it up ūüôā it worked okay as the sticky rice leaked in our mouth after we broke the cover and finally went to our stomach :). Oh man! it was fun eating this cake.

We arrived at Tamao mountain at around 11 a.m when we walked straight to the hub, a place for sitting, relaxing and having meals. Sopheaktra (a second champion of the YLC) and a few other friends went ahead to order food while others were walking around to explore things. They bought some fried ants (big ones) and ate them as snack while waiting for the big lunch.

Norin and Pichey continued the music and songs to entertain our group and other people around the hub. I was feeling a bit dizzy then after sitting with my face back to the group in the bus for a couple hours but I thought the main reason was because I laughed so much ūüôā . Thanks to a friend who gave me the oil which helped me feel better.

We had lunch at 12 o’clock with different delicious foods -thanks to Sopeaktra and those who helped order very good foods – which was important for all of us – to survive ūüôā -. After lunch, some people decided to take a short rest, some went straight to watch elephant performance, some walked around the zoo to see different animal and species. I walked with a group¬†around the zoo where we saw many interesting animals and birds. We set to get together at the hub at 1:30 p.m when planned to have a group discussion about the youth situation in Cambodia.

As everyone got together at 1:30 p.m we began the session by dividing the group into three to have a discussion about three different topics: 1- where can we find the youth or which institutions are they belong to?; 2- what are the major concerns of the youth or what do they care about? 3- How can we reach to youth or what are the ways to communicate with them? Each group spent about 40 minutes to discuss the above topic and another 10 minutes to do presentation to the big group. The discussion was very participative and they gathered some very interesting and valuable information about the youth in Cambodia. The result of the group discussion is available in the next article.

For more photos, please click here:

Written by Preap Kol         


May 5, 2008 at 4:24 am 3 comments

Founding of OYG, a meaningful return from the picnic:


On our way back from the picnic, we were a bit less energetic after involving ourselves in so many activities including the traditional-popular game that we normally play prior to or during the Khmer New Year. As part of his responsibility, soon after the bus moved Chea Thong had to do financial reconciliation in which he did it in a transparent and interesting way such as: reporting about how the money was spent, what kinds of food we ate (which everyone already knew what they had during lunch), how many chickens, fishes were served and who ate the most and the least, and who has the biggest pile of bones in front of them, etc. It was fun although Thong reported the overspending because we ate so much :). Goodman, our good friend in the group stood up, took a mike and appealed for addition contribution from the participants whom of course were happy to give and as I remembered, it was one dollar each.

¬†I made a short remark, just to express how much I had enjoyed the picnic and to thank everyone: Chea Tong for coordinating with the youth and the overall arrangement for the trip, Sopheaktra and other friends who helped with the logistic and did the food order (this was particularly important as we all needed to survive ūüôā ); Goodman for helping to raise addition fund (he is very good in doing it); Norin and Pichey for the entertainments (music and songs); and of course many thanks to everyone for participating in the picnic and all activities, including the group discussion about the youth situation in Cambodia.

¬†As the bus was moving halfway back, Norin continued the guitar and we sang altogether a few songs, one of which, as I recalled was “miss you like crazy”. As we continued to enjoy the trip, our friends began to think of how we can do this activity regularly and have fun together like this. We thought for a little while and came up with an idea of doing a picnic once in every three months. Everybody quickly agreed that this was a great idea, so let’s do that. Should we have a name for our group? I asked. Yes, everyone replied. If so, we need to find a good name. Then, we asked each and everyone to write down a name that they liked. So many interesting names were given and I read out all of them to the group. It was quite hard to get an agreement from the majority of the group since everyone wanted to keep the name s/he likes.

Going down the list of names for the group, we finally found one name that most people initially supported and later on all agreed; it was “Krom Yuvachun Chean Muk” or “Outstanding Youth Group”. Then the group temporarily appointed Chea Tong to coordinate the OYG, Sopeaktra and Sokunthea to help with general administration and logistics; goodman to help do the fund raising for the next picnic scheduled for late June or early July 2008; Norin and Pichey to help organize entertaining programs and other members to invite their outstanding friends to join the group; Lymuoy to communicate to all the members and provide updates and necessary information. I had volunteered to be an Advisor of the OYG and was excited to support the initiative of this group. They are really outstanding and dynamic group of young people.

As we were approaching closer to Phnom Penh, we have agreed that during our next picnic we will discuss vision, mission, objective and administrative structure of the group, next steps and future activities of the OYG.

 Written by Preap Kol    

May 5, 2008 at 4:06 am Leave a comment

Result of Discussion about Youth in Cambodia

As mentioned in the other article “The Youth Picnic” we had group discussions about the youth in Cambodia. Here is a brief summary of the results:

I. Where are the youth/which institutions are the youth belong to?

A. Non-State Institutions: I. NGOs: (UN, YRDP, YCC, KYSD, KYA, SMD YS KSA CEPA, CEPA, KIND, KAYARITH, Other Organizations); 2. MEDIA: (TV, Newspapers, Radio, etc); 3. Business: (Trade Unions, NAGA, Cambosix, Golden Tower, Banks, Restaurant, Clubs, Intertainment Industries, Tourism); 3. Other Sectors: (construction workers, elecricians, mechanicians, sport teams, ethnic groups, gang groups, etc).

B. State Institution:  (different government ministries, different education institutions, etc.)

C. Political parties: (different political parties Рmostly with CPP and SRP)

II. What do the youth care about for their society? Below are some of what they conern the most (ranked in order):

  • Education System in Cambodia (that does not ensure good quality and standard)
  • Unemployment
  • Lack of¬†effective law enforcement, poor ethical morality (corruption, human rights violations)
  • Health and Sanitation
  • Security and Political Stability
  • Economy (inflation,¬†salary of civil servants)
  • National Territory/border
  • Influence of foreign culture
  • Climate Changes¬†¬†¬†

III. How can we reach the youth? There a number of ways we can reach the youth depending where they are:

  • Through internet or e-mail (urban areas only)
  • Through telephone (urban areas and some rural areas)
  • Through personal or direct¬†interaction/approaching
  • Through engaging with youth organizations, youth clubs and associations
  • Through media (TV, radio) – creating youth programs –
  • Through friends network
  • Through visiting¬†garment factories and¬†labor industries
  • Through participating scial activities (ceremonies,¬†festivals, parties)
  • Through communicating with education institutions
  • Through organizing youth forums or seminars
  • Through creating information boards¬†or boxes for the youth at schools, villages, public places and pagodas
  • Through distributing leaflets on¬†issues that concern the youth or create reading centers/libraries

Written by Preap Kol


May 4, 2008 at 10:25 am 1 comment

Message from Sopheaktra


Dear Bong Kol and all friends,

I am writing to say thank you for yesterday’s event that you, Bong Kol, Thong and all youth friends are trying hard to shape up such a great image. I strongly support Outstanding Youth Group (OYG) activities. I do believe that if all of us committed hard and make a firm solidarity to distribute and contribute all what we can to the group, it will definitely run towards its achievement and goals.

More importantly, thanks so much to my former instructor, Kol who initiated the idea to make this event not only for entertainment, but also wonderful venue for building up strong relationship among youth and enabled the youth to share ideas and their knowledge, experiences, and to know much better how we can keep communication with the youth, what the priorities issues are the youth concerns about, and where youth in Cambodia is residing in. This activity is the great start of building network so I hope OYG team coordinator, communication facilitator and all members will strongly cooperate to further continue our missions.

Sorry I know just some of our friends’ email among YLC2, but I believe Thong and Muy will keep good communication with our group members.

Happy Up Coming Khmer New Year and Have a Nice Day,


May 4, 2008 at 9:50 am 1 comment

Response e-mail from Kol

Dear Sopheaktra et all friends of the Outstanding Youth Group:

Peaktra – thanks for your very good note about the youth picnic and once again I thank everyone for their genuine participation in all the activities, especially the group discussion about youth in Cambodia. I must say that the result from that group discussion that you involved is very valuable for me and for others whom I will speak to about future youth project in Cambodia.

Let me repeat what has been and will always be my personal commitment for the youth in Cambodia. “I will do everything I can for the benefit of youth who will be the leaders of our lovely nation. In fact we need to do some homework from now to become very good leaders because we all have good opportunity to do homework and preparation to become good leaders since our country is now at peace and stability, unlike our parents and grant-parents who had been through too much troubles and difficulties in the Cambodian history. So we all should take advantage and this opportunity to be helpful citizens for a better future of us and of our children. Please believe me that WE ALL CAN HELP MAKE CAMBODIA A BETTER COUNTRY AND WE ARE RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS BEAUTIFUL NATION. HOPE IS A CHOICE AND¬†WE ALL¬†CHOOSE TO HOPE!

Back to the OYG, it is a starting point of unity and solidarity among dynamic, talent, smart and outstanding young people like all of you. It is for fun, networking, friendship, forum for learning from each others and for helping one another when needed.

If you agree we can do beyond that, for example setting up a OYG Club of Learning, which here I can help invite some experience people from the NGOs and Civil Society Organization to share their experience on different aspects such as: on leadership, governance, human rights and democracy, social accountability, community development, practical research tools, human management, etc which you might have not learned from schools or universities.

At my personal level, I can also share a lot of my experience working with different international and national organizations on different issues over the past 15 years. I believe you will learn very good knowledge from this as well which will be very useful for your personal knowledge and career. Strong Youth Strong Society! I guess we can discuss this idea more later during our next OYG picnic which by then we should also be able to come up with vision, mission and objectives as well as goal for the OYG.

Let me put down my suggestion for everyone to do at your convenient:

1) I am thinking of developing a BLOG (website) for the OYG to begin our visibility. So I request everyone who has collected good photos/pictures from the recent picnics or our previous events together to please share with me a copy. So soft copies through disk or USB will be best so I can use some of them for the BLOG.

2) Keep sharing information and communicating with each others (sharing your idea or any news) when your time allows so that everyone is updated and up-to-date of the OYG. Here I particularly would like to request A Muoy and Thong to have a group e-mail list of all the friends.

3) Invite good friends who you think should join the OYG and add their names and contact addresses (e-mails and phone numbers) to the list so that we can contact them as needed. If each of us can invite ten friends, this mean we will have about two hundred friends more who will be on board with the OYG during our next picnic. I strongly believe if you work together we can make it.

Thong and A Muoy – can you please help forward this e-mail to all the friends. I do not see many people in this e-mail address of recipients.

Last but note least, I am really proud of you all. You are such a great group of people that I have been lucky to get to know and now to work with. Let’s be OUTSTANDING forever.

Stay in touch and keep up your good work.

Love and Peace


May 4, 2008 at 9:50 am 7 comments

E-mail from Sopheakra

Dear all again,

That’s such a great impression being heard to everyone, especially youth in Cambodia. We are very proud and glad that now many people turn to consider about youth situation in order to make positive change for our nation. This contribution is a very strong motivation, inspiration, and encouragement for all youth, and yougn people to consolidate and actively participate in social issues, and get involve in societal decisoin making.

I am very interested in the idea of designing our OYG activities in blog as it is a chance for us to show up our activities, commitments, and contribution we can help in sustainable development. One another, that’s a very fantastic occassion if OYG initiate learning club and Bong Kol support us some trainig or focus more on capacity building, so that¬†at the same time, we all can learn from each other, contribute some activities¬†to our society, as well as building our capacity with skillful instructors/advicers.

I do agree with all suggestions Bong Kol proposed. Thong and Muy, can you send all our members lists to everyone that enables us to send all updated information and comments among our group. We all play very important role in keeping in touch with our members  and keeping our communication through email is a very good choice as I guess all of us may be able to eventually or usually access to internet.

Once again, Bong Kol,  thanks for your strong support to make positive change of youth situation in Cambodia. Please keep update me and our group for your further information.















































May 4, 2008 at 8:05 am Leave a comment

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