Interface of international volunteering and national youth programmes Perspective from a local organisation

Continuing on the theme of Local Perspectives, Catherine Cecil from Youth Star Cambodia presented on some research that Youth Star conducted in partnership with United Nations Volunteers in 2008. The research is titled ‘Volunteerism, Harnessing the Potential to Develop Cambodia’.

Founded in 2005, Youth Star Cambodia provides support and opportunities for young people to grow and develop alongside the communities that they work with. Their work now focuses on two areas – the young Cambodian volunteers themselves and the work these volunteers do with communities in promoting health and
sanitation and supporting livelihood opportunities.

“Volunteerism as a way of contributing to young people and their society. Volunteers themselves are transformed as their communities are transformed.”

Youth Star’s research gives us insight into the concept of volunteering in Cambodia, particularly the mixed way that it is understood, how volunteering can be used a tool for building social capital in communities, and some of the positive and negative implications of international volunteer programs. Again, it is insights from the perspective of local organisations that can help inform the good practice of the work of IVCOs going forward.

“It is important to have regular communication between international organisations and local expertise.”

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