If you are wondering what happened to our posting of news here on BIDAS, rest assured we are still around! Have just been extremely tied up with putting together the project proposal for Forum Syd.
The application itself has to consist of two separate forms, answering a variety of questions and providing much information. Along with that comes a budget proposal for the two years CORDE and BIDAS are applying for, as well as a map of Cambodja outlining exactly in which areas CORDE is operating in.
In addition to the project proposal, which has a deadline on 2nd may, we also have to submit a report from the pre-study visit. Which also includes a number of documents.
Together CORDE representatives, Hannes and Rebecca have drafted the project proposal as well as the report, and with help from other BIDAS members they are now being adjusted to perfection. Then a swedish auditor has to take a look at it all and approve it before submitting to Forum Syd.
So this is what we are doing these days! More posts from Cambodia is coming up real soon though…
This school in a community about 30 min by car out of Battambang brings a special story of personal initiative and generosity. Located right by the community road, next to a few businesses to it´s right, it is on a plot of land that holds great value.
This land was give to CORDE by this lady in the picture below (sitting down), wanting to have the school right there in the village for the children to have close access to education and not have to travel far. This land could today provide her with a small fortune, but she is humbly content with it being the land on which a CCL was built and which provides education for local children.
She explains how important it is for her and other families that their children have other opportunities, and she does not seem to really see what I see – what a unique and special lady she is! To me it is obvious that this selfless act of generosity will bring great prosperity for future generations. I am of course impressed as I know few people who would donate their land, right next to their own house, for a school to be built upon it.
This is what it is all about – developing human resources in rural areas to become agents of change within their own communities!
Since january 2011 CORDE has started up a new program, called Kindergarden. The idea behind it is that studies have shown that children who join kindergarden were more likely to complete and continue their studies in the future. So far, CORDE has opened four Kindergardens around Battambang province.
In this village, the Kindergarden teacher has an average of 20 kids per day (in different groups), age 4-6. Their parents bring them in and pay a small fee to the teacher. The teacher runs her Kindergarden group from her own place, with basic materials (as you can see). Two of her own children take part as well.
For BIDAS it is really interesting to see the various programs which CORDE has up and running, and how they continuously come up with new ideas to fill the needs of the local, rural community in Cambodia.
Ing Chanthoeurth, the CCL Director Coordinator and Local Government Relations Officer at CORDE and Elyssa Ludher, Technical advisor at CORDE and Rebecca Allen Lamptey, BIDAS. These two women from CORDE have been part of the main team working closely with BIDAS during the pre-study visit, with the aim of submitting the project proposal to Forum Syd for the e-Rural project.
In every village that CORDE operates in they pay special attention to work in close collaboration with the village leader. Ideas are presented to him and consulted upon, and during our visit we asked the village leader of Koh Krolor about the internet. He had never touched a computer in his life, but two of his six children had.
He felt that if CORDE brought e-Rural to his village this would enhance the opportunities for the entire community and be of special help to the education of the girls as the families do not let their daughters travel far away from the house, not for school or anything else. Not only the specific students would gain from it, but the community as a whole would develop and be able to access knowledge and also share knowledge with the rest of the world.
From the left: Wife of village leader and youngest child, one of their son´s, Veth Sinorn, Village leader, older daughter and younger daughter (back), Elyssa Ludher (back) (CORDE), Ing Chanthoeurth (back)(CORDE), Hannes Öhman (BIDAS) and Yom Ya (CORDE).
In the village of Koh Krolor we visited Corde Center of Learning number 12. This is a remote village outside of Battambang, with a population of about 500 people. At this CCL Mr Veth Sinorn (note that Cambodians put their family name first), the director since 2005, manages 6 volunteer teachers who teach 77 students in total.
The students go to the government school during the day and come to CORDE in the afternoons to better their education (as the education system in Cambodia is still at a very basic level).
We got to meet with some students and despite the fact that most Cambodians do not speak any english whatsoever, these students were able to tell us why they come to CORDE, what they learn and what they hope to achieve in their future. Most of CORDE teachers are previous students who themselves volunteer to teach the younger generation in the village.
Wednesday afternoon we had a consultation with Dr Lee Lee Loh Ludher, chair of the board of CORDE, in order to have a clear picture of the vision and purpose of the e-Rural project CORDE plans to create. It is nice to see a board with the chairperson being a woman! Gender and equality are highly valued issues within CORDE and they focus a lot on making it possible for young girls to go to school.
CORDE collaborates with many local organisations as well as local government, and this evening we were invited to have dinner together with the deputy director of the Provincial Education Department, Mr. Y Song Ky. CORDE is in the process of writing an MOU with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the evening was full of stories about the Cambodian education system in the past and the future, and how important education is in order to develop a country through developing human resources. All while enjoying very traditional khmer food!
From the left is Dr. Lee Lee Loh Ludher, Hannes Öhman (BIDAS), Ms Elyssa Ludher (CORDE), Ms. Chao Hav (CORDE), Ms. Reth Sokuntheary (CORDE), Mr ? (primary school director in Battambang), Mr. Y Song Ky and Mr. Hou Sopheap (standing at the back).
Wednesday morning brought inspiring consultation with about 25 representatives from CORDE target group! They all came in from the 14 CCL:s (Corde Center of Learning) around Battambang province, as well as nearby provinces. After an initial introduction and discussion around certain topics which needed to be adressed, the group divided into smaller groups, working on one issue per group – this was then presented to all and that groups comments were discussed.
In this way their opinions and ideas about the e-Rural project that CORDE and BIDAS would like to work with (and thus apply for funding from Forum Syd) were brought forward and the real needs of the community were shared. CORDE works closely with their target group, as it actually makes out CORDE staff – of whom most have been students themselves in the past and now are either volunteers or paid staff.