Women in Barcamp Volunteerism

If there is one thing that Volunteerism has proven in the making of Cambodia today, we can have a good look at women in the Barcamp Cambodia community.

Throughout the 9 years of working with the volunteer team, it is imperative to underscore the importance of women contribution to this community. To the extent, they provides many type of support to the team on every level. However, in this article, I would like to bring up the experience from the volunteer team:

  1. The women are the team’s frontier: a thriving event requires people who are willing to expend their energy to make sure everything is at place for the event. Like the organizer team, the women in the team always work tooth and nail kindled by the community’s vision. It is evident at every Barcamp Phnom Penh’s event, where you can find them all over the place: from registration desk, to each session’s room… the event cannot be more animated and full of memories if not for the deep dedication from them.
  2. They do great job in raising public interests and awareness of the program: even though Barcamp is one unique event well-perceived in Cambodia, the work of public relation will never be undermined as we still need to learn and answer to the public’s interests. The women have been particularly active in this role, with their involvement with Barcamp always bring more attentions to the event. Thanks to them, every year we always receive boost and growth in public participation.
  3. Their contribution is getting bigger: Last year, as part of a team member’s initiative, Proeun Panhary led a project to shoot a short film to promote Barcamp, while another member handle making a promotional clip. What is remarkable about them is that they manage it without any funding. We can have those two video clips because the team and community work together to make it happen. But it is clear that the volunteer team is making more and more breakthrough.
  4. They strengthen the community: what is important about volunteering for Barcamp Phnom Penh is how will you carry on your experience and memory from the team and event. Some of them have gone out to work for partners of Barcamp community while some went on to run their own business, becoming an important player for future collaborations. Take a look at one of our volunteer, Tiv Keanita, who is also part of other community, often recommend highly passionate and talent people into the community. She always introduce them to the team who prove to be as supportive as the senior volunteers. This proves how much each volunteer has contributed back to the community.
  5. They are reliable sources for new ideas: the team always thrive to make each year’s event more special and unique. For this reason, we brave our volunteers to come up with innovative ways to make it so. They never fail us. It is somehow align with what I believe: young people’s heart and mind will be at the right place if given the opportunity to flourish. The volunteers are always eager to offer new ideas to the team, where we carefully examine and implement it. This helps make the event and team a really fun place for ideas.
  6. They are young and future leaders: when they arrive at the meeting, they bring an air of determination, and It is a determination to make a statement of intent. Each of the volunteer has their own stories and aspirations, each want to leave a mark at the team.  I can see that one day, they will grow to become leaders of their own rights. For example, Poeu Puthika who was part of the 2014 and 2015 team, went on to create her own team and organize an event to promote original songs and young artists. She was still in grade 11. Noun Sonisa, also a member of 2014 and 2015 team, is now part of many successful team such as Bophea Festival team. They both have and will continue to make impact to society.

One might define volunteerism differently with greater terms. But one can look at it in a simple way. The Barcamp Phnom Penh’s volunteer team has given me an opportunity to re-think its meaning. Maybe it is still too early for me to say that I have understood all there is about it. But for sure, right now, what I learned so far, is that woman does play important roles in making our community a better community. The team, and in particular women, that we assembled throughout the year has their hearts echo the same songs: a better community.


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