Andrew Smith of Austin, TX
$1031.75 (27% of total budget)
Boys Respecting Empowered Women (BREW)
In 2012, PCVs serving in southern Cambodia planned and facilitated a successful youth development event for high school-aged boys called Boys Respecting Empowered Women, or BREW. This event focused on building leadership skills, raising awareness on issues of health and gender and allowed for a rare opportunity for Cambodian students from different provinces to exchange ideas on how to better their communities.
This year , PCVs are continuing the momentum of last year’s BREW. In June of this year, PCVs and counterparts will invite 60 participants for a three-day-workshop focusing on topics related to health, career planning, gender issues and community engagement.
Culminating in a field trip to the southern Cambodian beach town, Kep, the bulk of this year’s BREW will be held in Takeo Provincial Town at the local Provincial Education facilities. The primary aim of BREW is to allow attendees to discuss topics usually misunderstood or overlooked in public school settings while gaining knowledge and skills in areas needed to succeed after graduation.
An emphasis on counterpart planning will be present in this year’s BREW as last year we identified that counterparts could benefit from far more involvement and hands on work in this workshop.
With regard to presentations and activities, many NGOs and organizations will be sending trained presenters to facilitate sessions and engage students on a variety of topics. PCVs and host country counterparts will also be relied upon to deliver ice breaking activities, offer translation services and administer pre and post action monitoring and evaluation assessments.
The communities involved in this project are five schools in the provinces of Takeo and Kampot in Cambodia. Male high school students in grades nine, 10 and 11 will be the main participants in BREW.
Gaps in subjects at state high schools are one of the main things that BREW seeks to address. Specifically, topics often uncomfortable for teachers to discuss such as prostitution, HIV/AIDS prevention, and personal and professional gender norms will be one of the main focuses. Arming students with this valuable and often life-saving information will help them to be successful and safe citizens during and after high school. These kinds of topics were, surprisingly, enthusiastically supported by parents and teachers last year and it has been clearly indicated by members of the community that similar topics would b e supported again.
BREW also helps students to develop their English speaking, listening and comprehension skills. While many technical topics at BREW will be delivered in Khmer, some discussion sessions and less-technical ideas will be conducted and communicated in English. This is usually requested by administrators, students and teachers alike. The practical experience with English goes a long way to improving the skills of student participants.
The change to discuss these topics and the attention students gain at BREW also helps to address a crucial problem in Cambodian classrooms – lack of participation due to shy or unconfident students. BREW creates a safe space for students to talk about their ideas in an encouraging environment, free from judgment.
Project Update – Fall, 2013
Vignette: Samnang, an 11th grade student from Chea Sim High School in Takeo town, proved to be the epitome of a youth leader. From assisting in major roles of the preparation of the workshop to recruiting and managing his own group of peers during the weekend, Samnang was an organized and efficient leader (his PCV was a K5 whose close of service took place prior to the camp so he was on his own to lead his group). If his example of leadership does not prove the weekend’s sucess, I don’t know what would. In addition, his thoughts and opinion recorded in his assessments are extremely insightful and well thought out. His roles included securing a projector and screen–during a last minute rush to find this technology after our initial source fell through–and reserving a field for our group soccer match.
- Our pre and post assessments were compared and percentage increases in successfully answered questions were phenomenal: an example was the “time management strategies and techniques” question’s success increase from 65% to 90%! Every question improved from the pre-assessment to the final assessment.
- Ryan’s group of boys have shown an incredible confidence boost since the camp. Their personal confidence in social environments and in the classroom is obvious to him and their fellow peers. Their current willingness to answer questions and express opinions specific to topics is a definite indirect result of our Camp BREW.