A lot of work goes into preparing communities to work together and achieve their goals. Residents learn collaboration in Cambodia communities of Leap and Ta Trav, as they continue their empowerment journeys.. At this time, they’re spread out at a safe distance in shady spots throughout their respective communities. Outreach field staff then facilitates the discussions that will form the framework of the collaborations to come.

Over time, community members deepen trust with one another through their dialogue,. They begin to voice the issues they face and finding commonalities with their neighbors. Outreach staff keeps notes on discussion topics to maintain momentum through further consideration in future meetings.

Community members in Leap Village, Cambodia meet with a member of Outreach Cambodia's field team

It may look like a pleasant chat (and it is!), but for a community unaccustomed to personal empowerment, even gathering to discuss their issues is a landmark event.

the meaning of the meetings

The goal of these meetings in Cambodia is to ultimately develop both communities into their own formalized, organized teams. Not only do they find shared causes and establish roles for each community member within their teams. They achieve recognition as an independent Community-Based Organization, or CBO, which then puts the power squarely in each community’s hands.

A community that reaches the point where they can be recognized as a CBO is one that epitomizes self-sufficiency. Building on the experience and confidence from earlier projects, CBOs are able to access resource networks like government offices and submit grant proposals directly, without Outreach facilitation, to help achieve their goals.

Even more community members in Leap Village, Cambodia meet with a member of Outreach Cambodia's field team

Early stages of community-led development involve a lot of meetings. They provide a structure that will go on to serve community-led teams as they take on more and more responsibility as part of their empowerment journey.

This collaboration in Cambodia is a family affair. Kids tag along with their parents and sit in, listening and observing. One of the wonderful things about Outreach’s community-based approach to sustainably addressing issues of poverty is that even witnessing it is an empowering act. What begins as just another errand they have to attend with their parents becomes an ongoing masterclass in developing critical thinking skills and problem-solving strategies as children watch the adults in their community work together, committing to providing opportunities for future generations through their efforts.

It’s a big deal. We can’t wait to see all the amazing things they’ll achieve together.

How to Help

Speaking of “togetherness,” everyone in the Outreach family empowers everyone else — and it all starts with our donors. Outreach donors make all our work possible, and 100% of all donations go directly to support our work in communities worldwide. You empower us, we empower our partners, they inspire us, and we tell you all about the difference you make. What a lovely cycle. Give today to get in on the action!