Team Training and Capacity Building at REACH Siem Reap
By Penélope Guevara
During the '60s and the '70s, Cambodia had a vibrant cultural scene and was enjoying educational development and intellectual progress.
The four most important provinces of the country opened universities, and enrollment rates were increasing significantly. Then in 1975, the Khmer Rouge overthrew the government in a violent coup, and the need to survive desperate conditions took precedence over education. This had a devastating effect on the whole country.
Nowadays, the country is rapidly rebuilding, and Cambodians are once again aspiring to higher education with the hope of improving their lives and the lives of generations to come. Still, in 2020 with only 58.2% of Cambodian youth completing lower secondary school, there is still a long way to go.
Guardians from our Cambodia charity support their children’s education in order to have better opportunities.
The need to work long hours to provide basic food and shelter for their family prevents qualified personnel from continuing to advance their own education and personal opportunities for advancement.
With limited time for our team to undergo training, promoting interpersonal development during work hours at REACH is a key priority, and we are always looking for ways to provide our team with external scholarships too.
Kindhearted organisations and individuals have supported REACH with ongoing training to enhance the skills and knowledge of our team by providing a wide range of internal and external workshops. These workshops have impacted our teachers' classroom techniques, the quality of our lesson plans, the leadership skills of our managers and the development of our social workers.
Team training is offered across the board, from our teachers to our security guard, everyone participates in various training sessions throughout the year.
SINCE THE BEGINNING
In 2020 REACH opened its doors, and since then, education has been at the forefront of everything we do. The success of our organisation relies on the team's will and determination to work in the most sustainable way to help those in desperate need. Enhancing the skills and knowledge of our team motivates everyone to keep improving our programs while covering more areas of opportunity for our students' and families development.
To date, we have participated in 23 external training programs and workshops, covering various educational, social and health topics.
Our internal training is driven by our Senior Management team, is far reaching and regular. The most active internal training is lead by our teachers and Senior Education team, who meet on the first Saturday of every month to participate in peer-to-peer training, allowing us to continually review our educational approach through feedback sessions from our teachers.
At the end of each Semester, our entire team also participates in bi-annual training to revise and build upon our internal policies, child protection codes and any other topics that we identify as needed throughout the year.
Our Education Manager Mardy with her Australian Centre for Education (ACE) diploma.
With limited budget for training, our teams ongoing development would not be possible without the support of like-minded NGOs, local organisations and passionate individuals.
At any given time, our team is encouraged to make suggestions on what they want to learn and what knowledge they think will most benefit our kids and families.
Some of the highlight local collaborations and training courses from our team over the last 2.5 years have been:
- First Aid Training Certifications with Angkor Children's Hospital (AHC).
- Child Protection Courses with various organisations such as: APLE, ConCERT, Friends International and First Step Cambodia
- Days for Girls and Men Who Know workshops with Cambodia Rural Students Trust (CRST) & online training qualifications through Days For Girls International.
- 'Conflict Resolution' training and 'Addiction' workshop with PenhJet Counselling Services
- Advanced English Courses with Australian Centre of Education (ACE) provided by CRST.
- External 'IT for Business' courses from PEPY Empowering Youth
- Disabilities and Inclusion Training with Heartprint
- Educational resources and interactive training styles with Panha Sabay
As you can see, we focus our ongoing development around our primary goals of protecting children and improving education within our organisation and amongst all staff alike.
In conjunction to their monthly internal teacher training sessions, our Education department has also been closely working with 'Teacher Development Support Organization' (TDSO). TDSO is a local NGO with the mission of providing educators advanced training to keep improving teaching techniques and curriculum development in Cambodia. Through their free courses, our Education team have developed interactive lesson plans that make students excited to learn, and informative materials to continue boosting their creative minds.
Our Education team continue to participate in external short courses with TSDO, and several members of our team have also participated in their free online course in Information Technology, focusing on usage of the Microsoft Office Suite.
Thanks to local NGO’s like TDSO and the others mentioned above, training for our team is made easily accessible and it is a pleasure to work towards a common goal with likeminded professionals in Siem Reap.
OUR INTERNATIONAL SERVICE PARTNERS
Employee training is facilitated not only locally, but also by the following incredible partners who enable ongoing professional development for our team through remote learning and online training methods.
Online Courses Australia
Online Courses Australia (OCA) is a platform with a large number of professional courses designed to gain in-depth knowledge and skills on specific topics. OCA is designed to be flexible and user-friendly, with courses our team have enjoyed as they are highly interactive and self-paced, allowing them to organise their time as preferred.
Last year, we proudly partnered with this organisation who are now providing the REACH team with access to Australian recognised courses. Our entire Teaching Team are currently completing a 32-hour course in 'Working With Children Certificate', and members of our management team are about to commence courses relevant to their departments.
A highlight for our team when receiving training from OCA is the personalised support from the online tutors, who can be easily reached at any stage of the course.
What OCA is about?
For us, learning is about so much more than just imparting knowledge. It should stimulate and challenge. Start conversations. Provoke debates. Most of all, it should inspire.
We believe in the power of learning: it builds confidence and self-belief, opens the door to new opportunities and gives us the courage to challenge ourselves. But taking that first step is often the biggest challenge of all - and that’s where we come in.
Quote from OCA’s team member Casey:
"As a company, we don't want to simply donate money and move on. We feel a social responsibility (and desire) to impart generational change through the gift of accessible education. Online Courses Australia is driven by the desire to assist people in growth and opportunity via attainable, accessible and affordable education.
Cambodia and its people are dear to my heart as I lived and loved there for many years. I saw the difference the dollar donation could make; however, the incredible ripple effect and the growth that teaching English or skill could provide were much more valuable. The Khmer Rouge left a trail of destruction and intergenerational trauma that is still felt today. We cannot change the past, but we can influence the future. I am proud to say by working together with NGOs such as REACH; we can adjoin our business strengths, ethics, and expertise. This will allow us to lift the next generation out of poverty to provide a brighter, more affluent future for Cambodian families, children and beyond..."
Share your message
Providing such personal and professional development tools has brought immense benefits to our team's confidence, like the uplifting training from Jo Evans at Share Your Message.
Jo Evans is an experienced Public and Online Speaking and Presentation Skills Coach, Presenter, TEDx Speaker Coach, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) and Life Coach.
Her approach is to create a fun, safe and supportive environment allowing participants to enjoy the learning experience. She brings my passion and enthusiasm for public speaking to every session!
Since her first session back in the lockdowns of 2020, Jo has provided more than 15 virtual sessions on Public Speaking to 19 members of our team. She has provided valuable training in critical thinking, leadership skills and the courage to speak in front of an audience.
Here’s what our English Teacher Sokly had to say:
"We had a very great opportunity to experience this training. I believed that public speaking is a challenge for everyone. I didn't expect that I could improve my speaking a lot after I joined this training. Jo shared with us amazing tips, experiences, knowledge and encouragement. It was especially lovely to hear feedback and motivation from the team and Jo. That have made me to keep going and do it better. Thank you so much Jo for brought this amazing training for us."
Our team during the last session of Public Speaking with Jo Evans.
Salisa Language School Thailand (SLS)
One of our most recent international partnerships is with Salisa Language School (SLS) in Thailand.
Specialising in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses, SLS has teamed up with REACH’s curriculum developers to provide Lesson Plan Development training focused on and established methodology for teaching English known as 3Ps or PPP – presentation, practice, production.
Since June this year, their experienced trainers in Thailand have been supporting our local teachers by not only hosting training but by providing extensive feedback on the Lesson Plans being produced for REACH’s English curriculum. By working closely with SLS, we are seeking to produce excellent content, setting up our English classes in a sustainable way for years to come.
To further cement what our local team is learning, we are now working on a plan to provide an overseas scholarship for a member of our team to visit SLS school in Thailand and learn a 1-month course intensively, on the ground with their trainers.
HOW QUALIFIED VOLUNTEERS CAN HELP
Our Volunteers Program has also achieved excellent results through qualified professionals imparting their knowledge and skills to our team. Thanks to this program, a qualified teacher overseas currently supports our Program Developers with lesson plans that will last for future generations of Cambodian children learning at REACH.
In the past month, we also welcomed a qualified social worker Ben who was committed to providing training material for our Outreach team and workshops for our whole team.
Volunteer work at REACH can make a difference in the community.
Over the course of a month, our experienced volunteer trained our team on topics such as:
- Positive Parenting
- Challenging Behaviours
- Counselling Micro-skills
The 'Positive Parenting' workshop was then adapted by our team of social workers to be taught as a Community Workshop to our families, focusing on positive verbal communication and supportive ways to discipline children.
With borders only just having opened, we are looking forward to welcoming many more qualified volunteers to share skills with our team. If you are interested in sharing valuable skills, click here to learn about volunteering with us.
TRANSFERRING THIS KNOWLEDGE TO THE COMMUNITY
Education has inspired our students and their guardians to look at things differently. Our team of social workers have run valuable workshops for our families, teaching them how to improve their living conditions sustainably and realistically.
A professionally trained team plays a fundamental role in the optimal development of our organisation, in the mission of providing high-quality programs to our students and their families.
Offering ongoing internal and external training opportunities to our team, will undoubtedly create a positive ripple effect among the community.
If you would like to learn more about partnering, supporting internal scholarships or training for our team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Education learned by our team is always passionately passed on to more than 100 families enrolled in our Cambodian children’s charity.