This might sound cliche but I do need to be amazed by how fast time flies. 6 weeks seems relatively long in my calendar, but I do feel like I have spent my time effectively and wisely so that every moment of learning, experimenting and experiencing counts during the first half of my time in Cambodia and NGO works.
Reflecting back to my goals set up at my pre-departure orientation and even at the beginning of my internship in YEDP, I was looking forward to more knowledge and experience in local advocacy work and unexpected challenges to explore self-growth. At this stage of my internship, I do feel that I have more experience of what is needed for NGOs in Cambodia, and I have always found that my work is effective for the development of YEDP in terms of funding proposals and website renovation. But one thing that frustrates me is that obstacles hindering the blossom of democracy and participation can be inevitable. For example, political influence has way more pressure on people’s free will and organizations’ capacity building; power of wealth and politics always manipulate their “prosperity” at the cost of the greater goods for all people; financial management and skill sets necessary for the success of the NGOs are disregarded, or more like considered incompetent under the political threats and lack of funding. 6 week is way too short for changes, let alone half of my internship, and the expected change toward democracy cannot be achieved under one wise man’s leadership.
I have developed a new goal based on what I have accomplished in funding proposals, documents evaluations, and website design. I tend to achieve some sustainable changes and tools in YEDP, something staff can easily pick up on or I can often update when I am back home. I am now working on a website manual while working on the website, so that Cambodian staff here can take over the responsibilities of website after my departure. Moreover, I have consistently communicated with my supervisor, Pao, and encouraged him to email me about updates of YEDP or any task fit for me even when I am not in Cambodia anymore.
I have handled all more tasks with efforts, and have cooperated with volunteers and staff smoothly since the beginning. And I am glad that I can develop more initiatives in works. Instead of taking tasks and assignments from Pao, my co-workers and I have begun to develop our own projects and ideas for YEDP. For example, we have developed our own instagram account to attract more funds from the western organizations and connect with the local youth. Some ideas are innovative, others might be immature. But I do feel that a proactive working ethics is the most effective to the start-up NGO. We would like to exhaust all means possible as I have set up at the beginning of my trip. And I am looking forward to applying this attitude in my future internship and academics.