Archives - ‘Cambodia’

The future of development

February 3, 2011 | Erica, DVM Program, Intern, Cambodia, The Center of Foreigh Languages (Generail English Program), IIC university of Technology, Rector's Assistant

How we look at the world is influenced by development. The outcomes of history have shaped our perceptions and influenced our decisions. This past weekend, I took a boat ride through the mangrove forests and fishing villages in Koh Kong province. Maybe it was the sun, the seemlingly infinite amount of water, or just the simplicity of it all, but I felt at ease, at peace, yet full of so many thoughts.

I believe the Western world has sacrificed something essential for the sake of rapid development. One of the villages had a large cement structure to store rain and drinking water for the village, but they were not capable of collecting enough to avoid buying water during the dry season. Another village had seen successful development in erecting more classrooms, but it was still recently that they only had two, and they remain to have only one female teacher (due to cultural traditions).

As least developed countries continue to develop, they do so more slowly than history has once shown. Their successes are still side-by-side to lack of basic necessities that people need to encourage their right to freedom. These communities are still concerned with what they need as opposed to the skewed perceptions of what they want. I feel that the future of development can and will be a more positive force if we change the way we think about development and learn from the knowledge and realities of small communities like these.

In terms of my own work at IIC University, a private institution, the need to develop capabilities, increase efficiency and retain staff are all very present issues. Although the university operates as a business, there is a genuine interest among it’s operators to solve these issues for the sake of a quality education for students. I think these good motives remain intact because the lack of good education remains a reality for many Cambodians, even in Phnom Penh. I’m not sure where the right balance between private and public services should rest, but I am sure that there is no mutually <exclusive answer.

It’s determined by the historical context of the community and the culture perceptions of it’s people.