Volunteers work in a local NGO that advances issues such as access to technology, education, health and women’s empowerment.
In the early 1990s, against the backdrop of the United Nations Peacekeeping mission, a vibrant NGO movement started in Cambodia. Today the Cambodian NGO sector is composed of hundreds of small community organizations that significantly contribute to development efforts and civil society across the country. However, lack of training and technical support, limited human capacity, and scarce financial resources hinder the potential of these organizations.
The projects support small NGOs in Phnom Penh by linking them to volunteers who bring energy, talent and skills. Volunteers help strengthen the operations of organizations and encourage dialogue that leads to effective action. Volunteers live in Phnom Penh and work with organizations throughout the city and surrounding areas.
What do volunteers do?
Volunteers work in a local NGO that advances issues such as access to technology, education, health and women’s empowerment. Volunteers work closely with the staff to help strengthen the operations of the organization. The activities of volunteers are driven by the needs and goals of each organization, but can include writing reports, designing fundraising drives, fostering local and international alliances, improving bookkeeping and cash management systems and setting up education and marketing campaigns. Computer-related help like creating presentations and maintaining websites is also in high demand, as is helping the local staff improve their English. Volunteers must be very proactive and resourceful, especially as the NGOs are small and generally not very well funded.
There is no typical day or script to follow. Remember, volunteers are serving in the developing world where conditions can change in an instant. Being flexible, open and able think on your feet are crucial characteristics of a good international volunteer. It is each volunteer’s role to fit in with their project and not the other way around. We expect volunteers to contribute wherever the need arises, even if it means being involved in activities they were not expecting to work in. Being able to adapt, adjust and fit in is challenging, but also what makes international volunteering so special.
From motorbikes and noisy tuk-tuks whizzing through traffic to monks in saffron robes meditating in old temples, Phnom Penh is a capital at the crossroads of traditional culture and modernization. Phnom Penh is an exciting place to live. A day by the Mekong riverfront mingling with Cambodians and taking in the colorful street life is a great way to experience the relaxed side of Phnom Penh. A visit to Wat Phnom, the city’s famous pagoda that was constructed in 1373, is a must, as is a walk down the wide boulevards lined with French colonial architecture. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the former high-school used as a concentration camp during the Khmer Rouge period, is another important place to visit. It is a heart-wrenching but necessary reminder of Cambodia’s darkest days. There are restaurants and cafes throughout the city. From street cart vendors to fine dining restaurants serving Cambodian and French fusion cuisine, Phnom Penh is a great place to eat out. The capital also has a vibrant nightlife. Finally, from Phnom Penh you can travel easily to other interesting destinations across the country, including Angkor, Battambang and Siem Reap.
The fees include: Reservation Fee, Preparation Booklet, Briefing Meeting, First week extra R&R day, Housing, Food, Airport pick-up, UBELONG Mentor, Orientation, In-country support, Reference letter, Fundraising and networking and United States President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Not included: Airfare, Insurance and Airport drop off.
A driver will pick up at the airport and drop you off at the volunteer house.
You live in a comfortable and welcoming volunteer house. The house is located in the center of Phnom Penh near the Russian Market. There is staff 24/7 at the house to assist volunteers with any needs that may arise. You usually share a bedroom with one to six other volunteers. Single rooms are not available. Each room has a bathroom and all are cleaned on a regular basis. In Phnom Penh, we also have a network of host families.
Cambodian food incorporates many elements of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. It is very tasty and you can expect to eat very well during your placement. Every day, you receive breakfast, lunch and dinner. These are usually served buffet style. Cooks prepare a wide-range of local dishes exclusively for the volunteers.