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

Now, even more good news about how we got here.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Before Outreach expands our work 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-driven 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 make it for the right reasons, and can eliminate a lot of the unknowns that might otherwise limit our shared success.

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 indigenous facilitators on Outreach’s unique approach to empowering communities and ensuring sustainable, community-driven 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): Indigenous facilitators take their first steps into communities and meet with 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 that’s 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 in order to reach their 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 working steadily to lay the groundwork in Cambodia for more than a year, and have assembled a world-class group of dedicated poverty-fighting experts who share our mission and embody our principles. The first few community-driven 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 hopeful future, and continue 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 some of the nuances of our new home. We’re thrilled to be there!