On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, students from two secondary schools in the rural Cambodian province of Prey Veng gathered for a workshop on civic engagement hosted by Youth on the Move. Among them was ninth grader named Arunny, who had come from a nearby commune to attend the training.
Arunny at Youth on the Move leadership training
An aspiring teacher, Arunny’s favorite subject is math. She enjoys research, and likes to think about how she will decorate her own future classroom.
Arunny is a student council leader in Prey Veng, and is one of the first participants in Youth on the Move’s new initiative to revitalize the Cambodian student council system and provide youth leadership opportunities in their own schools. When asked why she had come to the day’s event—a series of lessons and activities on becoming involved in local government planning processes—Arunny explained, “I want to participate in Youth on the Move because I want to be a youth leader. I want to be proactive, and be a model for other students.”
Recognizing that the student council system can empower students like Arunny, as well as provide enriched learning opportunities and enhance school relevance, Youth on the Move has helped to activate student councils at four lower secondary (grades 7-9) schools in Prey Veng. These student councils work with school management to improve the school and lead activities and create student clubs that do everything from peer-led life skills and computer classes to running the school newsletter, attending local government meetings, and setting up small school enterprises.
The day’s civic engagement workshop gave students information on how they can become involved in their local government, and then asked them to work in groups to develop their ideas. One group of youth wrote an action plan for advocacy on an issue of their choice, while the newsletter group developed a plan for an article about youth involvement in commune councils.
|Youth on the Move is World Education’s regional initiative working to reduce the vulnerability of potential migrant and migrant youth to trafficking, exploitation, and abuse through improved learning outcomes, life skills, and knowledge about safe migration.
Working with local education officials and working groups, Youth on the Move Cambodia partners with upper primary and lower secondary schools in migration-prone areas to reach vulnerable youth before they drop out and migrate and uses peer educators and technology to reach out-of school and migrant youth.
Between 2010 and 2015 alone, our work benefitted over 10,000 migrant and potential migrant youth in Prey Veng, addressing their unmet educational needs such as basic literacy, numeracy, and knowledge about health, life skills, technology, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, safer migration, and personal safety.