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Guest Thinkers

Hope and Progress

I just got back from a glorious week in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. John Nash and I were consulting with two different local grassroots NGOs. Our role was to help build capacity around research methodology. This was my second time in Cambodia and the first for John. I am still digesting the week and still trying to catch up on sleep (difficult indeed). Nonetheless, here are some thoughts that still linger with me today.

  • Development and progress is happening. I know local folks do not feel like progress is quick enough (I hear you) but there is an evident difference between what I saw five years ago and what I saw last week.
  • I was utterly impressed with the overall capabilities of the groups we worked with. The intellect, drive, and curiously were well above what I expected.
  • The Ministry has put forth some ambitions ICT in education plans. The Master Plan calls for training on technology leadership. This is big, progressive, and forward thinking. I hope this comes to fruition. Mabye large funders will see the promise of developing technology savvy leaders.
  • People need people. Ok, let me explain that one. We were there for the start of Water Festival. Although there were a few stages set up and the regular scene of street venders, the big draw was just being together. Folks were walking, talking, and simply experiencing humanness. It was powerful.
  • I am honored to be working the Khmer people once more and energized by the progress both on the education and economic front. I know there are persistent issues (I am not blind to those). But what we saw most often is hope. With the doom and gloom of the world economy and constant attacks to the education system, hope is a good thing.


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