On 3rd of May the Cambodia Ireland Changemaker Network event was held to commemorate 10 years of partnership between Cambodia and Ireland. A film by Cambodian and Irish teachers on the successes, key challenges and testimonies of the partnership was screened in the event.
According to its website, https://cambodiaireland.com/wp/about-us/, the network aims to simply enhance education in Cambodia and on the island of Ireland. The event was organized to showcase solidarity and building the partnership further, and to inform the Irish public of the success achieved after ten years.
The teachers from Cambodia who represented two local organizations namely see beyond borders https://www.seebeyondborders.org/ and Peepy – Empowering youth https://www.pepyempoweringyouth.org/ noted the significant contribution the partnership has on Cambodia’s education. They stated the main challenge facing the education system in Cambodia is not access to education as the current enrolment rate is 98% but retention and ensuring quality education. Children drop out of schools due to poverty, and lack of quality education – risking 20 years of quality education provision.
The network uses a partnership approach, usually a bottom-up approach; for instance, Peepy focuses on youth education and bridges gaps in vocational skills and access to universities for poor and marginalized communities while SeeBeyond Borders implements an ecological model approach through the SDGs achievements in Cambodia.
All these works were initiated 10 years ago by teachers in Ireland who saw the need for providing technical support to organizations in Cambodia at grassroots levels. Every year, Cambodian staff and students visit Ireland, and Irish staff visit Cambodia. This is a fantastic learning opportunity on both sides – but it is also more than that. At the heart of the CambodiaIreland Changemaker network is genuine reciprocity, shared learnings, and lasting friendship.
This partnership has had unparalleled success over the years, bringing SDGs to life, enhancing Cambodian teachers and contributing to Irish teacher’s and students’ experiences while creating better learning outcomes for children and young adults.