Cambodia | Expansion | New Communities | Outreach International

First, the good news: Outreach is thrilled to announce our newest expansion into Cambodia!

Second, more good news about how we got here.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Before Outreach expands into a new country, we do our homework.We assess a given location’s suitability by first studying the Multidimensional Poverty Index, an annual report issued by the UN that takes a broad view of ten poverty-related measurements and factors to comprehensively determine the intensity of a given country’s situation, and helps us determine how effective we can be in facilitating community-led development.

After that, members of our Field Operations team visit a prospective location and meet with local NGOs as a sort of poverty-resolving courtship period; exploring our commonalities, assessing strengths, and building trust. It’s not a quick process, but it ensures that whenever we make a decision, we’re informed enough to make it for the right reasons, and can eliminate a lot of the unknowns that might otherwise limit our operational effectiveness.

Once we’ve incorporated in-country leadership, we tackle the final stage of our setup: Staff training. Field Operations staff and experienced Outreach facilitators from our established locations work together to instruct new in-country facilitators on Outreach’s unique approach to empowering communities and ensuring sustainable, community-led solutions to chronic poverty through presentations, seminars, group activities and examinations, ensuring everyone in the Outreach family is working toward the same goal, using the same tools.

If You Want to Go Far, Go Together

It’s after all this work that the real work starts (concurrent with this fun part, where we get to share the news with you): In-country facilitators take their first steps into communities and meet with members of every household, gently and respectfully learning about the people with whom they’ll soon be working, and sharing details about themselves to ease anxiety and build the kind of trust thats crucial to unifying a committed team. Meals are shared, stories are exchanged, all in a sincere effort to encourage community members’ authentic participation in the work ahead. While working for Outreach might be a means of income, it’s never just a job.

With foundations in place, it’s time to build. Community meetings are facilitated by Outreach, but led by locals, who find their voices and share with one another the issues they face in their struggles with chronic poverty. These issues are prioritized by the community to determine the most-pressing matters at hand, and plans are proposed to reach shared goals. Every step taken is a step taken together– from identifying resources, to budgeting, to role-playing scenarios intended to build experience and confidence, to mobilizing teams to perform the labor that implement solutions.

Small Steps, Big Strides

We’ve been hustling steadily to lay the groundwork in Cambodia for more than a year, and have assembled a world-class group of dedicated poverty-fighting, empowerment-promoting experts who share our mission and embody our principles. The first few community-led projects are underway, alongside partners who have already demonstrated the enthusiasm and dedication crucial to long-term success. We can’t wait to share their stories with you in the days, months, and years ahead as we work together to build a happier, more empowered future, as well as continuing to brighten new horizons all over the world.

For now, take a look at our brand-new Annual Report, which shares more specifics our initial steps into Cambodia, and spotlights some of the nuances of our new home. We’re thrilled to be there!