“Cambodia’s Evening” Cultural Program

On 27th March 2012, 19:00-23:00, “The Cambodia Evening” Cultural program was organized by Cambodian family, Ms. Brak Limheang and I, with the participation of 10 colleagues and German friends of the organization that I am doing my practicum. The ground reasons of organizing this “Cambodia’s Evening” were responding to the interest of many collea
gues in my practicum youth organization in understanding about Cambodia especially foods, culture, and development process. This cultural event was organized in my apartment (that GIZ has rent for my four months practicum period) in Berlin.

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It was very thankful to our Cambodian family, who live in Berlin and Limheang, my GIZ scholar, for their help in preparing, organizing and cooking Cambodian foods: Khmer special noodle and Salad.

The welcoming dinner began at 19:00 with the arrival of colleagues and friends. Each of them brought fruit juice, wines, and beers as the contribution to the program.

They are very friendly and simple. We stayed together as friends, tasted the Cambodian foods and noodle.  They admitted that these Cambodian foods were very tasty. They were really enjoy the meal.

After the meals, I have presented a presentation that our International Leadership Training (ILT) team have prepared for reflecting the general overview on Cambodia such as Geography, Economy, Cultural, Tourism Attractions and process of development. The presentation was followed by two short video shows about Cambodia tourism attractions and Kingdom of Wonder.

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It was a very impressive event that we have organized together. It was a good time for German colleagues and people have some ideas about Cambodia. We have learn from each other with interaction and discussion.

Finally, I would like to say thank very much for my colleagues and Cambodian family and friend for their support and value. I have felt that I have do something good for my country.

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Impressive Experiences during the Seminar on “Successful Leadership on Organizational Values”

On 23-25th March 2012, I have attended the seminar on “Successful Leadership on Organizational Values” in Hannover with the support and organization from GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH). There were totally 19 participants on this seminar, whom are GIZ scholars from Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hungury, Tidschikistan, Usbekistan, Cameron and Botswana. The moderator of this seminar is Prof. Dr. Pusch Marion, who has many years experience in consulting and developing organizational values.

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The first day of seminar was the arrival of all participants with the welcoming dinner and introduction to the seminar. All participants introduced their brief information and their rationale in attending this seminar. The facilitator showed the prepared contents of the seminar to all participants and participants had added some points and comments that they really wish to know and learn.

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The second day of the seminar was the most impressive day during this three-day workshop. Participants were asked to think quietly and reflect about themselves: What are their important life values. Each participant had shared one of their own life value. One of the life values that I am impressed with is: “I am not working for money. I work for my life values”. Many participants asked to explain the meaning of this life value. This means that, he/she is not working for serving the money, but he/she wants to be the person who have freedom and choice to choose what they want to be and their needs. It doesn’t mean that Money is not important. Of course it is, but he/she won’t let money to lead their life.

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 This exercise reminded me about what I have written my life value in my Dairy Book 2012 as well. These 6 my most important life values are values that I do my best to follow in order to make I, myself to become a good citizen, leader, good husband, good friend, and good people.

I have gotten these life values through my reading, my observation, my interaction with people and good friends, the comments and suggestions from my Role Model (YSK and KSP) and the person that I love and respect. Honestly, I could not 100% guarantee that I could do it since it needs a lot of effort and self-discipline and commitment to follow this life values. Everyday morning I get up, I open my dairy book to write down what are my plan today and take a few minutes to read these 6 values. In the night time, I write down what are the new things and impression that I have experienced in the day. They are my good life orientation to remind and keep me avoid the bad habits and some negative behaviors to the people around me.

What is Organizational Values?

Organizational Values are the clear concepts or ideas that the organisation as the whole agree to follow and obey in order to ensure the organization has long and smooth run. I could give one example 5 values of Friends Help Friends Saving Group (FHF): 1. Save-borrow-return; 2. Honesty; 3. Transparency; 4. Mutual respect and 5. Mutual trust.

Without practicing this 5 core values, the organization will not able smoothly process and the original concept and ideas of the saving group will not be reflected.

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How to create the organizational values?

In order to create a good organizational values, there are several process that one organization needs to understand and follow. First of all, the leader of the organization need to have a clear overview on the origin and culture of their organization such as what they are, where they want to go, what will they want to be. Then, the values should be created through the discussion, contribution and decision from every level of organizational management. It is very important that the ideas and values of the people in the organization were put into consideration. The next step is the preparation process that the organization arranges the framework and system that ensure these values were good applied in the organization. During the implementation of the framework and system, the organization needs to evaluate the process and the effects of the implementation. The improvement activities could be established if needed.

There were also many impressive ideas and knowledge that I have known and have never known before such as:

  • One important value for leadership is that: When we did something wrong, we must accept and admit the mistake, don’t try to reject or argues.
  • Sometime the manager said that, their staffs do not work good or productive, but what the staffs said was that, the manager work not effective
  • It is very often that there are many people, who are in the leadership position, but they haven’t good  leadership
  • People have their own life values. Sometime those values are not the same. We need to learn and respect other people’s values
  • The values of the organization should be written and clearly introduced to the staffs or members
  • The organizational values should be well created. However, if there any urgent or needs in editing or changing the organizational value, we should change.
  • Trust building is very important between people in the organization. It means that: “We must say what we thought; we must do what we said, and we must be what we are as what we have done”-from Alfied Herrhansen.
  • Through building the trust, the leader has to build the capacity of the staffs as well. We cannot implement trust when the staff has no ideas about what they should do at all
  • Everyone are the role model for some people around them. The people around us may learn from us unconsciously, may be the good points or may be the bad points according to the behavior of the role model.
  • In short, through the experience of building trust is difficult at the beginning. Self Reflection is the key!
It was the fruitful seminar for giving me and other participants good and new ideas and knowledge on the field of “Organizational Values” that are very crucial for one organization to put into consideration and implementation. Finally, I would like to say thank for GIZ for organizing this seminar and also the facilitator for sharing her valuable knowledge and experience so that I can improve my leadership ideas and practices.

My Impression on the Discussion Congress “Inclusion and Participation”

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On 20th March 2012, 09:00am-04:00pm, I attended the Discussion Congress on the topic of “Inclusion and Participation“, organized by SPI Foundation in Berlin. There were totally 45 participants (whom 37 were females), who are from Children and Youth organizations, Social NGOs, Government Institution, and Networks in Berlin. The main objectives of this congress are to introduce, discuss and reflect on the concept of “Inclusion and Participation” so that each organization and institution will have in-depth ideas and concept of these Inclusion and Participation and apply in their working areas and project implementation. 

The Interesting Things and New Knowledge that I have learned from this Congress:

1. “Inclusion” is considerably new development concept which means one group or organization or country try to include many  different types of people and treat them all fairly and equally. The German government has published her 10 years plan and strategies on the title of “The Way to reach our Inclusive Society“. It means that the disadvantage people, disable people, children, youth and all other groups are going to be included in the society and they could have fair and quality access to education, decision making, development/benefit, social public services and etc. 

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2. There are some distinguish differentiation between “Exclusion, Separation, Integration and Inclusion” that I have learned from the discussion and document. The photo near by that I have drawn will give us better understanding and clear idea. There are a bit confusion between the concept of Integration and Inclusion. The differentiation of these two concepts are that:

– The integration would integrate different other groups in the big group but they are still categorized in the separated group. However, the inclusion will give people equality, opportunity, access and freedom, and support in order to ensure everyone have good social welfare.

The discussion and congress focus on the issue relevant to Disable and Disadvantaged people. The inclusive society need to create and provide enough facilities and support disable people and other disadvantaged group have the access and opportunity the same to other group as well. 

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3. The knowledgeable presenter on the concept Inclusion and Participation was Mr. Martin Zierold, the staff of Sinneswandel gGmbH. He is one of the deaf youth club member in this youth group. He introduced the overview and detail concept of “Inclusion and Participation” through his body languages and were interpreted to German language by two professional interpreters.

This is a good model to let us know about the how the concept Inclusion could be function in the seminar as well as the whole society. 

The speaker also showed the video of his “Deaf Youth Group” and shared how his group work, learn and struggle themselves into society.

3. The presentation reflected the way people in the society discriminate “Deaf People” and “Disadvantaged people”. They are really hunger of people’s acceptation, motivation, appreciation and emotional support rather than abuse, teasing and excluded. After watching the video and gone through the presentation, I really understand their feeling and I felt into deep sad that the society treat them in this way.

4. They have mentioned that the concept of Participation is very important for having developed and democratic society. However, this democratic and developed society will not be achieved, if the concept of Inclusion was not taken into consideration.

5. The discussion admitted that in order to achieve the Inclusive Society, there are some big challenges such as Finance and Awareness raising for motivating people and changing people’s discriminated perception. But the keys of this discussion were: start to take actions rather than no action and say no. The most important thing is that if the organization, society, and the country commit to reach the inclusive society or not.

In short, I would like to say that to my Practicum organization-SJB for giving me the chance to attend this congress so that I have some good and news ideas on the “Inclusion and Participation”. 

 

The Background and Development of Friends Help Friends Saving Group

1. Background of Friends Help Friends Saving Group (FHF)

The Friends Help Friends Saving Group (FHF) has been established since November 8, 2009 through the first Monthly Meeting with the beginning of membership 10 members in the office of Citizen Action Net for Social Development (CAN). Friends Help Friends Saving Group (FHF) is a youth saving group for self-reliant. The main objectives of FHF are:

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  • Save money together for mutual help group members
  • Contribute to better living of group members
  • Build friendship and solidarity among friends.

2. Overview on Youth’s (16-30 years old) and Financial Situation in Cambodia

Youths in Cambodia play very important role in the country’s development. Youths represent around 30 % of the total populations in Cambodia. However youths also face a numbers of significant problems such as: No opportunity access to schooling and quality of education, lack of entrepreneurship and business creative ideas,  lack of emotional and financial support for their initiatives and personal development. With these reasons, the idea of Youth Saving Group was implemented through establishing FHF Saving Group in Phnom Penh.

3. Brief description on Processes of Establishing FHF Youth Saving Group

The concept of saving group is not new for Cambodia. CEDAC has been implemented this concept with the rural community and villages since 2003. As we known at the moment from CEDAC statistic is that, there are so far around 5,000 saving groups and associations entire of Cambodia. It is interesting that there was no Youth Saving Group in Phnom Penh before the FHF Saving Group was established.

With the rational of establishing Youth Saving Group in Phnom Penh, a small group of youth together started to learn about the basic concept, overall principles and guideline of establishing, managing and leading the saving group through field visit to the rural saving group communities, consultation with the rural saving groups leaders, CEDAC’s expert staffs, and other resources persons (Mr. Khim Sophanna, Dr. Yang Saing Koma, Mr. Pan Sopheap etc).

After learning and consulting with the external resource persons, the small youth group came together to discuss and create their own suitable principles (Monthly meeting, Saving, Borrowing, Returning, Interest rate, benefit sharing etc) in the democratic practice. The management committees was elected as the following position: Chairman, Financial Officer, Cashier and General Secretary. They implement and follow their cooperative role together to ensure the saving group smoothly proceed. At the same time, the members of the saving group play very very important roles in ensuring the saving group smoothly and sustainable develop through regular and on-time monthly saving, borrowing, and returning; sharing and contributing their ideas and comments; observing and give feedback for better improvement of the saving group.

4. Development of FHF Saving Group from 2009 to 2012.

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Time flies. It has been already more 2 years that FHF Saving Group has been proceeded. In November 2009, the FHF has 200 USD with the start up capital with 10 members. Until February 2012, the FHF has 32,532.53 USD with 59 members.

The FHF saving group has two types of membership: Core member and Deposit member. Each member has their own account and share. They need to save the money every month to increase their capital and plus with they monthly share profit.

5. Advantage of Saving Group especially for FHF

Saving Group is much much more than Money! Saving group has great roles and contribution in youths’ personality development, self-reliability, and positive future financial perspective, health-positive and initiative thinking, social networking, business creation, youth’s issue/

problems reduction, and social development and welfare .

So far, the FHF Saving Group’s members borrow the group money to use on different priority dimensions such as:

  • ImagePay school/university fee
  • Buy learning materials
  • Invest in small agricultural sector
  • Create small business
  • Build/repair/buy their house
  • Buy motor/car as transportation means
  • Help their family’s members
  • Use for their thesis writing etc…..
6. Conclusion:
In conclusion, saving group has great contribution and advantages for Cambodia’s society and youths. It plays a big role in solving social problems and youth problem through the incredible and flexible, affordable ,responsible and sustainable financial support. It is a wonderful movement that now there are more and more youth saving groups have been established in Cambodia especially in Phnom Penh such as CAN Youth Team Saving Group (CYTS), Community Management Course Saving Group (CMC), Saving for Our Future (SOF) particularly RUA students, Ladies Saving Group (LSG), Youth For Future Saving Group (YFF) etc. These saving groups have built their big network so called “Friendship Saving Federation” for consulting, discussing and giving ideas for dealing the problems happen in each saving group.
Finally, I would like to say “thank so much” for all youth members, who always contribute their active rolls in the saving group and participation. Without such participation, the saving group will not be exist.

My Impression on the Seminar on “Citizen Participation” in Frankfurt

On 09th-11th March 2012, I have attended the seminar on the topic of “Citizen Participation” in Frankfurt am Maiz with another GIZ Scholarship holders. There were totally 15 GIZ participants who are from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Algaria, Ecuador and Peru with two German trainers. The seminar took place in Kolping Hotel’s seminar room.

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There were several interesting aspects, issue and knowledge that I have learned from this seminar. First of  all, the trainer allow all participants to know each other and proposed their expected question for getting answer from the seminar. After that, all participants combined and concluded the contents for this seminar as following: The importance of citizens’ participation, methodologies in promoting citizens’ participation, their challenges.

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In the second day of our seminar, after the introduction about the long time problem happen between the Frankfurt Airport and the citizen near the airport area, we have visited the Frankfurt inside area with the good introduction and explanation from the Guide of the airport. During our 30 minutes round driving the airport, we have gotten a numerous of information with continuous questions from our GIZ participants. To gain more detail and understanding about the core concept of Citizens’ Participation, all participants come together to reflect and analyze the rights and roles of citizens under the aspect rule of law.

In the last day morning of the seminar, we have a quick overview on how government administration function in Germany. It is the day that Frankfurt people elect the new Mayor. We had a short observation on the election especially the overview of fair and transparent election should be.Image

In overall, this seminar is very significant and useful. I have gained a lot of new ideas and concepts about Germany’s society, politic and how should citizens participate in their society. Thank GIZ for organizing this seminar and giving all participants the chance to join this seminar.