UNESCO NGO Forum

In May 2017, Youth Star Cambodia Program Officer, Ms. Kao Sokunphrady, and Communication Officer, Ms. Heng Yen, had the honor of representing Cambodian Youth NGOs at the seventh UNESCO NGO Forum. The event was organized in partnership with the MiSK Foundation and based on the theme, “Youth and their Social Impact.”

The forum took place May 3rd – 4th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia comprising over 2,000 registered delegates from 400 NGOs, representing more than 70 countries. The event provided a platform for Youth Star to share our insights on youth empowerment, and contribute to strategies for community bridging and development. The shared belief in the power of volunteerism and youth has opened Youth Star to a global network of likeminded colleagues.IMG_1663

Youth Star’s Newest Volunteers, Cohort 24

February and March have been busy months for Youth Star. We have successfully recruited, trained, and placed eight new volunteers for the Youth Star Cambodia program. Cohort 24 will be placed within communities in Kratie (5) and Prey Veng (3) provinces.

The process began with an early-January recruitment announcement that ran until mid-February, with assessment days following for successful applicants. Having made the final deliberations, eight successful candidates joined us for the Pre-Departure Training schedule. Running for a fortnight (February 19 – March 3, 2017), The training sessions are designed to equip volunteers with the knowledge, skills, practices, and confidence to successfully undertake their volunteer placement. Youth Star Cambodia, along with our partners from AeA, SIPAR, Save the Children and KAPE, provided training that covers both soft and hard skills. As our program deals with the education of children, Child Protection Policy forms a crucial component of our training.

Having successfully completed their training, Cohort 24 took part in the closing award ceremony and dinner. This year, the ceremony was held at The Salmon House in Phnom Penh. Attended by board members, staff, volunteers and their community partners, the evening was a deserved and joyous celebration of Cohort 24’s upcoming commitment.

We wish our volunteers all the best and look forward to sharing their stories with you as we move through the year.IMG_1072

Recall Training Week for Cohort 23

Recall TrainingYouth Star Volunteer Cohort 23 have successfully completed two recall training sessions. The training was undertaken from Monday 9th to Friday 13th of January and supported by our partners ‘Aide et Action Cambodia (AEA).

The first session ran for three days, and considered five core focuses: reflection, work plan development, data collection, training skills, and the sustainable development goals. There was also a review of the volunteer handbook to re-familiarize everyone with Youth Star expectations and mission statement. The second session over Thursday and Friday took the form of a focus group discussion and training on interpersonal communication skills.

The recall session began with volunteers reflecting on their first five months in the field. This session linked to the following days ‘developing a work plan’ activity, by identifying strengths, weaknesses and requirements. The volunteers worked to develop a plan of action for the next three months, followed by a presentation and constructive feedback session from Youth Stars Program Director and Officers.

Given the importance of tangible outcome measurement, Tuesdays session covered the best means of data collection and reporting. To develop the quality of volunteer service delivery, Wednesday focused building the capabilities required: namely, preparing session plans, conducting effective youth training, and setting example as a positive role model.

To close session one, Cohort 23 discussed the lessons learned from International Volunteers Day 2016, and the role of the Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, volunteers reviewed the Youth Star volunteer handbook and their requirements in relation to the code of conduct, financial policies, and report submission responsibilities.

The second session across Thursday and Friday was a focus group discussion for the identification and discussion of issues faced during community placement. The ability to develop interpersonal communications and identify problems is crucial to the formation of successful solutions. The Program Team discussed the tools Youth Star have in place to solve problems in the communities. With these in mind, the volunteers worked on roleplay activities that presented problems and a requirement to solve them. This was followed by a consideration of potential methods to solve the earlier identified community problems for individual volunteers.

KAMPONG THOM TRAINING FOR COHORT 23

img_4109Youth Star’s Cohort 23 Volunteers have successfully navigated their first two months in the field. During this time they have conducted their extensive community mapping process, whilst integrating in to their respective communes. Having identified those most in need, Cohort 23 then set about establishing and/or maintaining their corresponding Youth Clubs.

In achieving these milestones, Volunteers were invited to take part in a supplementary training weekend in the Stoung district of Kampong Thom. The weekend summarily focused on core competency development in tutoring, small proposal writing and community campaign organizing. Additionally, focus was ascribed to the ‘’Mobile Library initiative‟. The event was held from October 13th – 17th in cooperation with Aide et Action and Kampong Thom Provincial Office of Education.

Day one addressed the requirement for effective classroom management. The reality of Volunteerism in underserviced communities is the formidable number of pupils to one class. Oftentimes this can range upwards of one hundred learners from varying school grades. It is therefore crucial that our volunteers possess the skills to plan, arrange, and execute effective teaching strategies. The day also covered effective proposal writing. In facing limited funding for numerous good causes, the ability to articulate and present an effective small project proposal has the ability to change lives. In line with the required competencies for transfer of skills, the training was conducted with our partnership trainer Mr. Thong Socheat from Aide et Action, alongside Youth Star’s Program Officer Ms. Kao Sokunpharady.

Day two engaged our volunteers in the effective management of the mobile library initiative. Volunteers also learnt techniques for the assisting of slow learners. We would like to thank the excellent training provided by Kampong Thom’s POE Officers, Mr. Seng Sokheang, and Mr. Khorn Pin.

20161017105109_img_4650Day three engaged the use of teaching materials in the creation of an inclusive teaching environment. This was delivered by partnership trainer Ms. Set Sokleakna of KAPE. Prior to departure Volunteers and members of their Youth Clubs were lucky enough to be invited to Preah Damrei Youth Club in Stoung province to see a success story in action. Alongside the final reiterations of inclusive community dynamics, the group was treated to a variety of traditional Khmer dance and role plays. Our volunteers have left this weekend more prepared than ever to effect substantial and sustainable change in their communities.

Recruitment, Training and Placement for Cohort 23

August ushered in thec21-3 culmination of a successful recruitment, training and placement process for our Cohort 23 Youth Star Volunteers. Each volunteer will spend upwards of twelve months located in their respective districts, working relentlessly to engender real change and opportunity for the local youth. Primarily this will be achieved through the successful formation and integration of Youth Clubs, designed to provide the necessary mentoring and support for the communities young Khmer. This rounds action districts comprise of Kampong Svay, Prasat Balang and Stoung districts in Kamong Thom Province, and Kampong Trabaek, located in the Prey Veng Province.

Tremendously, of this Cohort’s twelve volunteers, Youth Star can proudly confirm an organizational first for more female volunteers (7) than their male counterparts (5). Herein resides a clear testament to the hard work and dedication Youth Star pours in to the training, mentoring and support provided to our volunteers.

Prior to their placements, our cohort undertook the mandatory two week pre-departure training based in Takhmao, Kandal province.  The experience seeks to introduce, build upon, and cement core competencies and content complementary to field work. Under the expert tutelage from members of Youth Star, Aide et Action, KAPE, SIPAR and Save the Children, the team covered an array of crucial topics including communication, mentoring, organizational planning and diversity. Here’s wishing them all the best in their placements.

 

Cohort 22 Recruited, Trained and Placed in the Field

22 Placement

10 new Youth Star volunteers have successfully been recruited, trained and placed in the target communities of Kratie and Prey Veng.

Announcement was posted on Youth Star website, Facebook page and Bongthom.com for 2 months within January and February 2016. Graduate applicants from different universities in Phnom Penh and provinces have applied. The main activity of the selection process is the assessment of applicants to see if they are qualified. There have been multiple assessment days as each time there is limited number of applicant invited. Pre-Departure Training (PDT) began in early March. This two-week training provides needed skills to ensure our volunteers have the tools they need to successfully complete their one-year service in rural communities.

Some of the training sessions provided include the facilitation skills, communications skills, public speaking, child protection policy, how to establish and maintain youth club. There are both internal and external trainers invited to the sessions. During the PDT, local partners, who will work closely with our volunteers, are also invited to join the session and introduce themselves and get to know their volunteer partner. PDT is followed by closing ceremony, which is organized to celebrate the successful completion of PDT and the beginning of volunteer journey. The 10 new volunteer in cohort 22 are placed in Prey Veng and Kratie.

YOUTH STAR ALUMNI ORGANIZE BICYCLE RIDE

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Former Youth Star volunteers and other citizens undertaking volunteer work will gather together in a bicycle ride on Sunday, March 06, 2016 to encourage volunteerism in society.

This event has been organized by former Youth Star volunteers who have completed their 12 month ‘placement’ helping to educate youth and children in marginalized rural Cambodian communities. These former volunteers, who maintain their support for the Youth Star model of promoting and undertaking volunteerism in Cambodian society, are hoping to raise awareness of how important volunteerism is to the future development of Cambodia.

Youth Star Cambodia is one of the pioneer organizations promoting volunteerism and youth development in Cambodia. Youth Star’s aim is to empower Cambodian youth as volunteers to improve the quality of life in vulnerable communities through education and civic participation.

The bicycle ride will depart from Youth Star Cambodia’s office located in the Tuol Kork area. The first ‘pit stop’ will be at the National Library, to help raise awareness of the importance of developing good reading habits. Volunteers will then ride to the statue of Cambodian Supreme Monk Samdech Chuon Nath, to commemorate his devotion to Khmer Literature, especially the development of the Khmer Dictionary.

Volunteer Group 21 Placed in Kampong Thom and Prey Veng

Closing 21Upon the completion of Pre-Departure Training (PDT), our new volunteers group 21 are now placed in the target communities in Kampong Thom and Prey Veng Province.

The 15 volunteers are now starting the journey of their one year service in the community. We are pleased to have our partners Aide et Action and SIPAR working with us in the two provinces. For the 12 volunteers placed in Kampong Thom, they have to work with Aide et Action on comprehensive Cambodian inclusive education system. In addition, SIPAR will work closely with our volunteers in Prey Veng in the promotion of reading.

Cohort 21 Commence the Pre-Departure Training (PDT)

PDTWe are proud to announce the commencement of the Pre-Departure Training for Youth Star volunteer group 21. A total 9 assessments have been conducted from which 20 Candidates have been successfully selected.

The two-week training commenced on Monday, August 03 to August 14. Our volunteers will be equipped with necessary skills which enable them work effectively in the community. The team will be placed in Kampong Thom and Prey Veng later this month. The next round of recruitment will start again early next year in January.

Youth Star to Sign MoU with Ministry of Education

Meeting with MinisterYouth Star Cambodia had a great honor to meet with the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, H.E Dr. Hang Chuon Naron on 08th June, 2015. The meeting outlined the importance of Youth Star’s program and the areas of cooperation where the two institutions can work together. A Memorandum of Understanding is to be signed to promote volunteerism in Cambodia and undertake non-formal education in marginalized rural communities. It will serve to strengthen Cambodian civil society through the development of youth leadership and the raising of educational standards.

The program will support the Royal Government of Cambodia through empowering Cambodian graduates as volunteers and thereby help develop them as future leaders of Cambodian in the public sector, private sector and civil society. Through undertaking community activities and being responsible for program delivery, volunteers will develop skills and competencies that assist them to obtain future employment. Youth Star Cambodia will work closely with Ministry staff to ensure its programs are consistent with and complementary to the Ministry’s educational programs and objectives.

We are thankful to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport for the cooperation and support which enable Youth Star’s program to help both our young people and marginalized rural communities.