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Cambodia Community Development Global Citizens

Discover the beauty and culture of Cambodia as groups work to support local community development projects.


Program Information

Join GVI and discover Cambodia, where students will explore and participate in community development projects. By doing this students will contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. GVI Cambodia has four focus areas: teaching, childcare, healthcare, and women’s empowerment. Volunteers will have the opportunity to lead a variety of workshops including developing computer skills, CV writing, access to resources for victims of domestic abuse, preventing the spread of HIV & AIDS, and understanding parental rights. Workshop topics can be chosen based on the university students’ specific skill sets and the interests and needs identified by community members. While participants will be working as a team, there will be numerous opportunities for students to hone their leadership skills and to take point on various aspects of the program. The program will be a combination of exploring the culture, politics, and religion of Cambodia whilst also completing volunteer work, interacting with local community members, and participating in adventure and cultural activities. Free time and optional excursions will be built into the schedule, depending on the school's wishes.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Experience Cambodia's stunningly beautiful temples and wats. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh, students are encouraged to take some time to acclimatise to the humidity and heat of this tropical capital city. The students will also enjoy an orientation tour of the surrounding area led by a GVI staff member or local guide, as they spend the first day in Cambodia exploring the Royal Palace and the local food markets.

Students will then journey to the Cardamom Mountains. From this lush location, students will trek through glistening rice fields, into the jungle, passing cascading waterfalls. In the evening they will spend the night listening to the jungle sounds whilst resting in their hammocks. The trek is led by experienced local guides who will also help the group to learn about jungle wildlife species, survival techniques, and the art of how to safely cook a meal over an open fire.

The group will then return to Phnom Penh and tour two of the capital city’s most important historic sites, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Prison S21) and the Choeung Ek Center, which are both well worth the visit to understand Cambodia's history.

The team will travel to Siem Reap to support and assist in our English classes or get involved in interactive activities that support students to learn English. Students may lead village clean-ups, activities, events, workshops, and sports days. They will be involved in a whole host of interactive learning and activities with local children of all ages. Students will have free time to experience local food as well as day trips to local villages and temples.

No trip to Cambodia would be complete without a visit to the spectacular Angkor Wat, an ancient and well-preserved structure, and the single largest religious monument in the world, covering over 400 acres of land and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is in this stunning location that students will end their journey and say their goodbyes.

*This overview is an example of the activities and project work that students might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date and can be discussed further with your GVI Programme Coordinator. The overview shown here has been followed by our staff and student groups in the past.

Program Details

Program Type: Schools , University
Location: Asia - Cambodia - Siem Reap

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Main Guardian Details

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.


The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.


Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.


We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.


Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.


Live Updates

Follow GVI Volunteer-In-Siem-Reap's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
 
GVICambodiaKampongCham

Meet the team - Senior Field Management

Rebecca Bolsover

Program Manager
Meet our Siem Reap Program Manager, Becki!
She has been travelling for the past seven years and has gradually found her way into the area of sustainable development.
After having worked in so many locations and in varying environments, we are loving having her experience and passion on our team!

Meet the team - In-Country Staff

Amy Meadows

Education Coordinator
This is Amy, our Education Coordinator at our GVI base in Seam Reap, Cambodia.
She is from the UK and has been volunteering since she was 15, which lead to her travel to a volunteering program in India before and after studying International Development at the University of Northampton. She has now joined us from her latest adventure in Indonesia. We're very excited to have her on board.

Molly Oldfield

Field Assistant
Molly is our field assistant at our Siem Reap GVI base in Cambodia. She is originally from Wellington, New Zealand where she studied cultural anthropology and criminology. Her role with GVI is to support our senior staff and volunteers in all projects undertaken by the base. Welcome to the team, Molly!

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


We launched our programs in Cambodia in 2018. Here we work in collaboration with our local partners on various community development and educational initiatives, where we aim to assist their existing endeavours. Providing better education empowers students to reach their aspirations and broaden their employment opportunities in the future. Here in Siem Reap, if you are able to speak English you have a much greater opportunity of employment in the tourism sector. Working in this sector can usually provide chances of promotion, a greater income and a chance to change one’s economic background and is, therefore, an aspiration for a lot of the local community.


All these initiatives allow us to offer support to the community and our local partners, and to address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as #1- No poverty, #3 – Good health and well-being, #4 – Quality Education, #5- Gender Equality, #8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth and #10 – Reduced Inequalities, #12 – Responsible consumption and Production and #17 – Partnership for the Goals.


Project Objectives

GVI Siem Reap Long-term Objectives:  


1. To improve the quality of education to the local community of Siem Reap, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background or any other disadvantageous factors.


2. To strengthen bonds with our current partners and develop new partnerships with local organisations to broaden our areas of work and the communities we work within.


3. To improve the opportunities, aspirations and autonomy of local women and girls and to raise awareness in the local community on the importance of women’s empowerment for their family, the economy and for equality.


4. To improve awareness about health and wellbeing and provide basic tools and knowledge in maintaining hygiene and prevention of NTD (neglected tropical diseases).


5. Improve the awareness and knowledge of important environmental issues and increase community participation in efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.


Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


 


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.


 

Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


Languages

Khmer – This is the official language of Cambodia and is spoken by roughly 16 million people across the world.

Cham – Is another language spoken in Cambodia, by roughly 204,000 people. It is the dialect of the Cham people of Southeast Asia.

Local Handicrafts

Cambodia has a thriving tourist souvenir industry, and make many locally made souvenirs such as a traditional scarf called a Krama, ceramic, lacquer and wood carved items and beautifully decorated bottles of flavoured rice wine.

Cooking and Dancing

There are three main types of dances in Cambodia, namely Khmer classical dance, Cambodia folk dance, and Cambodian social dances. Khmer classical dance was founded in the royal courts of Cambodia and is the dominant dance style in theatre and at ceremonies.

The national dish of Cambodia is Amok, which is a combination of fresh river fish, coconut cream, ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass, steamed in banana leaves and served with a side of rice. A large part of Cambodian cuisine features fish and freshwater seafood, along with the staple grain of rice, though they also offer many meat and vegetarian dishes.

Festivals

There are festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Khmer New Year in mid-April, Pchum Ben in mid-September, and the Water Festival in November.

Spirituality and Religion

The official religion of the Kingdom of Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism, which is practised by the majority of the population, who visit monastery temples found throughout the country.

Example Itinerary


Day 1-2: Say hello to Cambodia

The group will arrive in the capital of Cambodia at Phnom Penh International Airport. Your first night’s accommodation is pre-booked and can be shared room, dorm-style, or camping tents. The specific accommodation selected will differ based on the requirements of the group.

At the accommodation, the group will have a chance to settle in and acclimatise to the humidity and heat, before meeting for an evening orientation session. After dinner, the group will learn a little about GVI and specifically about the community development projects we run in Cambodia.

Day 3-7: Jungle Adventure

Travel to the Cardamom Mountains and trek for four days through the thick, lush jungle. Sleep in hammocks slung between the trees.

Day 8-9: Learn about Cambodia's history

Transfer back to Phnom Penh and spend the night exploring the vibrant city. The following day you will explore the Royal Palace and the local food markets. A visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Prison S21) and the Choeng Ek Centre are two of Phnom Penh’s most important historic sites and are well worth a visit to understand Cambodia's history.

Day 10: Travel to Siem Reap

Catch up on admin on the bus and prepare for the service component.

Day 11-13: Service and Reflection

Project work: Urban plastic cleanup and cultural context reflection session.
Project work: Conversational English or planting food gardens & Khmer lesson.
Project work: Educational games and activities at a local school or community center, and leadership skills reflection session.

Day 14-15: Rest & Relaxation

Aside from exploring the mighty temples of Angkor, you will have the chance to visit impressive landmarks. Your team may also opt to travel south to relax on the white sandy beaches around Sihanoukville.
During the group’s final day in Cambodia, they will gather for a farewell presentation and organise a final group meal to celebrate everyone's achievements, before flying home.

**Your trip can be extended to include additional side trips and/or further service work.

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


 

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures are in place throughout each GVI program. Learn more.

Support

Once a participant books, our support team will oversee their pre-departure journey. This helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Once a participant books, our support team will oversee their pre-departure journey. This helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


What's Included

General
Groups

A rest and relaxation activity/excursion

24/7 backup and support

A dedicated trip co-ordinator

Access to local medical facilities

Comprehensive health and safety procedures (Emergency Action Plans and Risk Assessments)

First aid equipment

All meals

Group leader and teacher

Highly experienced and well qualified GVI field staff

In-country transport is arranged

Pre-departure information

Up-to-date safety and country information

Exclusions