As part of our governance, each year we conduct a monitoring visit with our program partner, HHA Cambodia. For the second year in a row, this monitoring visit was conducted virtually due to the pandemic. This was a wonderful opportunity for our Board of Directors to catch up with HHA Cambodia’s management team and celebrate their successes whilst reflecting on their challenges and how they have overcome them.
With school closures due to the pandemic, the education team pivoted their programs and are also taking the opportunity to improve other aspects of the education program. This includes:
- Teacher capacity building: Teachers have been provided with workshops and training to strengthen their knowledge and skills. They have also been given the opportunity to undertake research and share what they know through workshops to the team. Technology awareness has been improved, ensuring the education team can use technology effectively to work with students and colleagues.
- Curriculum awareness: The core issues about the new curriculum has been discussed with teachers to ensure they understand and can apply the methods. The goal of the new curriculum is to make learning more enjoyable, engaging students with goal-oriented and meaningful activities, and empowering students with knowledge, skills, and improved attitudes.
- Parental engagement: The education team has contacted and talked with their students’ parents about the learning issues they face. They have shared methods that parents can use to support their children to learn effectively at home during lockdown.
- Teaching session at school: 40% of students are unable to access online learning. To keep those students learning, the education team has set a ‘drop-in’ schedule for them to attend school in a socially distanced This gives the students the opportunity to continue their learning and receive handouts to complete at home.
There are currently 12 students studying in the sewing program. In-person classes were temporarily closed due to the pandemic. With permission from the Commune Chief, HHA Cambodia reopened the in-person sewing class again this week with COVID-19 safe practices.
Previously, HHA Cambodia was selling products produced by their sewing graduates on consignment throughout shops in Siem Reap. This income ceased to exist, as most shops closed due to the pandemic. There is still some income through custom orders, including those from Human & Hope for sale through our ethical brand, Hope on Purpose.
HHA Cambodia has been promoting their handmade face masks through their Facebook page and word of mouth and have received orders from other NGOs for distribution in their communities.
Although community workshops have been postponed due to the pandemic, these new projects were initiated in response to the pandemic:
- Covid-19 awareness raising campaign: awareness was raised about preventing COVID-19 through sessions at public schools in late 2020/early 2021.
- Mask and soap distribution: distributed face masks and soap to public school students and teachers and the general community in rural areas.
- Emergency food relief: distributed food packs to vulnerable families most impacted by COVID-19.
- Home food garden: provided hands-on training, seeds, fertiliser and farming materials to vulnerable families to start their gardens at home.
Currently, the focus is on the Home Food Garden Project, as it is crucial to support families to produce their own nutritious vegetables to eat and sell.
- The planned curriculum hasn’t been running smoothly. Response: Using video calls via Facebook rooms to connect with students. Learnt how to develop online tests and activities so that students can track their progress and avoid boredom. Diversified and simplified lessons and teaching approaches to ensure that students like learning and to improve the efficiency of teaching and learning.
- At most, 60% of students can access online learning, though this is inconsistent. Response: Continuing drop-in sessions for students who cannot access online classes.
- Students’ attendance is irregular. Response: Transferring Khmer, library, and art classes online (while schools are closed) so they attract more students and provide current students the opportunity to study more with the online learning platform. Recording videos while teaching for students to review and students with poor internet.
- It’s difficult to recruit new students due to lockdown measures. Response: Started to recruit students three months in advance.
- Difficult for students to seek employment due to business closures. Response: Create students’ FB groups and share job opportunity.
- Online learning is new for students, and some lack phone credit to access internet. Response: Provided phone credit to students and ran sessions on how to access the internet.
- Unable to run Home Food Garden training at HHA Cambodia’s location due to lockdown. Response: Provided training one by one at the students’ homes
- Unable to visit some families at their homes due to lockdown measures. Response: Continue communication via phone.
- 252 children have continued learning during school closures via online classes, drop-in sessions, and the support of their parents
- 60% of these 252 students were able to access online classes
- The teachers have demonstrated improvement in their online teaching methods
- The teachers have improved their knowledge and experience with teaching, designing tests and running educational games online as a result of capacity building workshops
- 12 students completed the sewing program, with seven securing employment and five establishing their own micro-businesses
- 18 graduates recently gained employment at an ethical factory and shops
- 34 students were supported with emergency food packages and home food garden training
- The teachers improved their confidence to teach life skills because of research and discussions during their work from home hours
- The seamstresses earnt money through mask production and custom orders
- 30,000+ villagers increased awareness on hygiene and COVID-19 prevention through the education and prevention campaign
- 27,000+ bars of soap and 27,000+ fabric face masks were distributed to rural communities, preventing the spread of COVID-19, and creating jobs for 35 women in the community
- 1,021 families received emergency food packs, preventing hunger and malnutrition
- 468 families were supported with training and resources to launch home food gardens, improving food security
- 97 students were supported with study supplies through the scholarship program.
We are pleased to report that the vaccination rollout in Cambodia has been progressing quickly, and all of HHA Cambodia’s staff members have been fully vaccinated, offering a higher level of protection against contracting COVID-19. We are looking forward to the day when all their students can attend their community centre for in-person classes.