Sem Kong, SSI’s first alumni, joined our team several years ago. Now, serving as our Country Director, he graciously oversees and leads the development of our programs. As an organization, we are more than excited to congratulate him on this recent accomplishment of being elected as the provincial ESWG Vice Chair. Read the interview below to learn more about his role and why this is a big accomplishment in striving to achieve equitable education for Cambodia.
1.) What Does ESWG stand for? ESWG means Education Supporting Working Group.
2.) What is the purpose of ESWG and what activities does ESWG conduct? The purpose of the ESWG is to help the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MOEYS) do a better job in providing quality education throughout Cambodia. Our ESWG has quarterly meetings at the provincial office in Kampong Speu. At these meetings, all members of this working group, including non-government organization (NGOs) who are working in education, come together to discuss concerns, give feedback on challenges and share best practices. After meeting in Kampong Speu, the ESWG members bring important matters to the national level through the National Education Partnership (NEP). The NEP gathers information from all 24 provincial ESWGs of Cambodia. All of the members in these groups work together to relay challenges to the national Ministry of Education and propose solutions to overcome these challenges. As a rural ESWG leader, I have the opportunity to ensure voices from rural areas are heard and realistic solutions are proposed.
3.) Are members of the ESWGs and NEP paid for their service? No, we volunteer our time.
4.) Why did you want to serve on the leadership team of ESWG? I was surprised and honored to be nominated for this position. I did not expect the nomination but I was happy to help my community by taking this position because it gives me an opportunity to take a leadership role in improving education throughout Cambodia through collaboration with the government and other NGOs.
5.) What are your duties as the Vice Chair? I coordinate with all the local ESWG members by inviting them to join meetings both in Kampong Speu and Phnom Penh. I also closely collaborate with the Chair of our ESWG.
6.) Is there any other information you feel is important about ESWG and how this group is working towards improving the education system in rural Cambodia? Of course, ESWG has worked closely with the local community and schools for some time. They have met to talk about all the challenges and have many good ideas to propose to the ministry. Some of these challenges the ministry might not know or care about so it is our job to bring a strong voice to wake the ministry up and ask them to focus on overcoming these challenges.
"What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it." ~C.S. Lewis
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