Engaging Youth in Peacebuilding Activities in Cambodia

Robin McDonough
November 16, 2023

The Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Cambodia continues to partner with the Global Peace Alliance (GPA) Cambodia to sponsor a Youth Development Program that engages students in leadership and peacebuilding activities. The program aims to equip the participants with the necessary relevant skills and knowledge to actively participate in peacebuilding and become future community leaders. Several program-supporting activities and events were conducted during September 2023. They included resource mobilization and partnership development for the Safe Water Safe Bottle (SWSB) Project, additional partnership collaborations and outreach, and a program commemorating the 2023 International Day of Peace.

A group of youth students engaging in peacebuilding exercises while wearing face masks in a classroom.

Students gather for the International Day of Peace Celebrations in Cambodia.

Introduced in 2018, the SWSB Project educates primary school students in Cambodia on environmentally friendly practices while providing them with safe drinking water and reusable containers. Highlighting the importance of the project, its sponsors are using social media to increase individual and organizational knowledge of the campaign and elicit support for implementing it at Hun Sen Prek Pra Primary School. A successful partnership meeting was held with the Genesis Community of Transformation Leaders to encourage future collaboration.

Several other partnership collaborations and outreach were conducted during the month. For example, GPA Cambodia met with Ms. Dhoreen Ruelos, the new Western International School student affairs coordinator. In addition to discussing the prior collaborative efforts between the two entities, plans were made for the “One Book One Love” Campaign conducted in Kampong Cham province in October 2023 to provide donated books to underprivileged children.

Additional collaborative efforts with the Present Centre Organization of Cambodia, Faith Coffee, and Kiripost resulted in commemorating the 2023 International Day of Peace at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center on September 20. The theme was “Culture of Peace—Wapatoa Ney Santepheap.” Mr. Pach Pagnavorn, General Manager of Global Peace Alliance – Cambodia, opened the ceremony. One guest speaker, Venerable Bhikkhu Kassapa Hun Khamra, Honorary President of Present Centre of Cambodia Organization, highlighted the importance of achieving a healthy mindset by addressing the root cause of negative thoughts and unhealthy habits.

GPA Cambodia youth volunteers shared their positive experiences with the Youth Development Program. Yun Kimhai commented on how rewarding and humbling being a volunteer has been. He stated, “Being able to take part in bettering the kids for even just the slightest bit is very gratifying.” Chinn Hengkimchon shared her acquisition of new social and teaching skills. She commented, “As a person who lacked socializing skills and had no knowledge of teaching, I have now enhanced a better connection with people as well as gained teaching skills.”

Guided by GPF’s One Family Under God vision, participants in Cambodia’s Youth Development Program work together to learn leadership and social skills to create a peaceful coexistence for their families, communities, and society. Collaborative partnerships are a key component to ensuring the ongoing success of the program. As such, outreach efforts continue to create opportunities for the participants to learn, grow, and pay it forward.

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