The education system in Cambodia continues to face challenges relating to poor quality and lack of access, particularly in rural areas. At the most fundamental level, too many Cambodian students leave school – often before completing their studies. As a result they are left with few practical life skills and little to prepare them to make a living, having cut their education short before developing good interpersonal communications skills, sound judgement and creative thinking ability.
In 2009, USAID launched the Improved Basic Education in Cambodia Project (IBECP), which is being implemented by World Education. As part of a consortium of groups assisting World Education, Equal Access is implementing a three-year life skills project targeting secondary school youth in Kampong Cham province.
EA’s approach includes schools, teachers, students, and radio stations in an engaging and educational multimedia project designed to encourage a more holistic approach to life skills education.
Drawing on the format and immense popularity of our We Can Do It youth radio series, Equal Access has developed a special series of the program repackaged for a younger audience (13-16 years old). The young hosts of this magazine-style radio program lead segments highlighting key life skills, such as decision-making, communication and self-confidence, which are tied to IBECP activities and the experiences of secondary students in Kampong Cham. The presenters are woven into a drama segment that inspires the imagination and creativity of listeners. In these dramas, characters discuss diverse subjects such as employment opportunities and goal setting. Listeners are challenged to think critically about the fictional characters’ decision-making processes and the presenters’ comments and questions about each episode’s topic.