There have been no newsletters for a while, and it’s time to report out of Kamboo Project again. This as we make tangible progress literally each and every day. Our work on the ground has continued, existing projects continue, new ones have been added, and there are new collaborators.
Quality Seal awarded Let’s start at the beginning of the year. Kamboo Project has been certified by Zewo since January. Zewo Foundation is the Swiss certification body for charitable organizations that collect donations. Is such a certification necessary? The clear answer is: of course, because independent certification is a good thing. Going through this process, we ourselves receive the confirmation that we meet strict quality criteria when using our donations and do everything following best practice. If you want to hear from us for the first time, you can be sure that we operate transparently and that we are voluntarily checked by the Zewo on a regular basis. 21 standards have to be fulfilled, and we invite you to study them under zewo.ch. We are thus officially one of the “reputable organizations that use donations purposefully, efficiently and impact-oriented”.
News from the local team The year also brought news in February. Somalita Keo, 32, has been in charge of the current projects as new Country Manager. The Cambodian graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration in 2010 and earned a second degree in 2018 with a Masters degree in Accounting and Finance. Somalita has worked for international NGOs for the past 8 years, gaining experience in administration and finance. She has been working closely with Kamboo Project for more than two years. After a month as a part-time accountant, she has been working as an unpaid volunteer for the Kamboo Project team. In February, she took on greater responsibility and is now responsible for, among other things, the financial side and compliance with legal requirements. The work gives her a lot of pleasure. “I fully support the mission of Kamboo Project, and I want to help create better conditions for poorly equipped schools and communities and move my country forward,” she says. Once again, welcome to Kamboo Project, Somalita!
Education by bike From three villages in the commune of Meanchey, the children come to the Chear Smon school in the Bakong district, about 20 kilometers from Siem Reap. For some, the way to school is so long and arduous that they missed too many lessons. For 15 boys and 15 girls aged 6 to 12 years since the end of February 2019, the way has become a lot safer and faster: They now have their own bicycles, which could be purchased by donations of the Catholic parish Oberrieden (Switzerland). Very important: The bicycles were not given as a one-off gift to the students, but they are part of a contract with the families. The commitment places education in the minds of children and families, as does the monthly reporting by the Kamboo Project team. Special thanks to Oberrieden!
E-Learning in Prasat Improving language proficiency with e-learning on the computer is so natural to us that we like to forget how difficult it is to access it in some parts of the world. Thanks to a donation in kind from the Sports Gymnasium Davos Foundation, 12 laptops have been made available to students at the Prasat High School in the Varin district since the end of 2018. The computers form the core of a computer science and language learning laboratory. Teachers installed a mandatory learning software, which is provided by the local education authorities. This is no coincidence – our projects can have far greater impact as they build on cooperation with official and unofficial bodies and local initiatives, and recognize and complement the work done in the country. A welcome side effect: The students at Varin Gymnasium are now visibly connected to their “peers” in Davos. 562 girls and 245 boys and their teachers have been instructed in the use since commissioning. Of course, English language skills of the pupils will benefit as well.
Educational progress through water An educational environment is not just about classrooms. The Svay Thom Elementary School in Chrai, a village in the Kandaek community in the Prasat Bakong district, has recently acquired a water tower, which supplies newly renovated toilet houses with 22 toilet rooms and the school’s entire water system. In addition to Kamboo Project, teachers, the school board and the youth and sports district have participated intensively. The construction and renovation work was coordinated with the local authorities and was completed in March 2019. Typical for Kamboo Project’s approach: we are from finished by just completing the commissioning of the project. At least until mid-2020, maybe longer, we will continue to accompany the Svay Thom Elementary School and help anchor appropriate hygiene practices. At present, 743 boys and 664 girls attending elementary school find better sanitary conditions and can therefore focus better on learning.
Prospects for 2019. We can not report anything in detail yet. But let’s just say that we are delighted that a well-known Swiss company is working with Kamboo Project as part of its annual social project. This involves extensive work on two schools in the Seam Reap area for a total of more than 1,500 students – a big project for both schools. The construction works and accompanying programs have started. We will report in detail from November 2019.
In summary we stay true to our mission: manageable projects and relatively small time frames are feasible, the measures very concrete and the effect directly. We are particularly pleased to find fellow campaigners for clearly delineated projects.