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Duth Kimsru

MA in International Development, Environment and Conflict, Dublin City University

Kimsru works with PEPY Empowering Youth in Cambodia. She received a fellowship award in 2016-17 to study on the MA in International Development, Environment and Conflict at Dublin City University.

Everyone has the potential to bring positive change in our society and it starts with all of us individuals

Before I travelled to Ireland in September 2016 I was working at a local Cambodian organization called PEPY Empowering Youth located in Siem Reap province for three years. My first year experience was as a ‘Dream’ project manager working directly with rural secondary school and high school students at Krolanh District. Dream classes aim to support students to plan ahead of time for their future studies or career paths. After one year, I was promoted to the position of program manager with responsibility to oversee all the projects at the organization. I worked with the program team to provide trainings to talented Cambodian youth who will become role models of other young people in their communities. I also facilitated Youth Empowerment classes on a wide range of topics such as self-esteem, leadership, emotional intelligence, sustainable development, and other relevant development issues in the areas. Our organization has partnered with Donabate Portrance Educate Together School (DPETNS) in Dublin for about five years and it is through this educational partnership that PEPY receives funding from Irish Aid. Without this partnership I would not have had the opportunity to participate in the Irish Aid Fellowship Training Programme to study a master’s degree in Ireland.

Currently, I’m studying an MA in International Development, Environment and Conflict in Dublin City University. The subject gives me a wider understanding of development issues both in the global North and the global South and practical examples of how development agencies and governments can address these issues. I believe it is very relevant to the work that I have done at PEPY as many of the case studies and topics can be added into the curriculum of the Dream and Youth Empowerment Projects. Importantly, it allows me to link the program that we are implementing to overall development goals. My class is very small with just 9 of us from different countries such as Kenya, Congo, France, Spain, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and Ireland. The diversity makes the class discussion very interesting and we can learn from different perspectives.

I think the course also gives me different perspectives toward various development actors. The knowledge that I am gaining from the course will be very beneficial for Cambodia as we have so much to learn to develop our country in a sustainable way. I hope to continue working on educational partnerships and I particularly would like to look at the impact of the institutional partnership between PEPY and DPETNS. I think it is very important to assess the effectiveness of this partnership and where we can make improvements to strengthen our friendship. This will help me to keep up to date with the current activities that take place in both institutions and I would be more effective when I resume my role once I return back to work.

The Fellowship Training Programme gives me an opportunity to empower myself and open up my mind.  I will do my best to raise awareness to those around me about our responsibility to contribute to wider goals such as the UN sustainable development goals. Overall, I hope to connect more people who work in education or related fields. Everyone has the potential to bring positive change in our society and it starts with all of us individuals.  As a woman, I also believe in the power of education and I will pass on the knowledge and skills from the course and experience living abroad to both current and future generations. As many believe that if you educate women, their children, grandchildren and the community will be educated.