In Cambodia at least 60% of the population are under the age of 30, and less than 38% of adolescents ever enroll in lower secondary school (MoEYS, Education Strategic Plan, 2014). Faced with poor education outcomes, stagnant rural economies, and limited income generation opportunities, many youth leave their villages in search of whatever work they can find. They travel to Phnom Penh and other provinces within Cambodia, or cross Cambodia’s porous borders to Thailand and further afield, often using illegal and highly risky migration channels. Without the education, skills, knowledge, behaviors, and support networks that are necessary to help them stay safe and attain gainful employment, these youth are extremely vulnerable to forced labor, abuse, and exploitation, including labor and sex trafficking.
World Education works with schools, nonformal education facilitators, education officials, and Child Protection Committees in Prey Veng, a province near the Vietnam border, to deliver quality interventions that support youth to stay in school or enroll in nonformal education classes and build the foundation skills, life skills, practical skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that can help vulnerable youth achieve better learning outcomes and protect themselves from exploitation.
World Education’s strategies include working with upper primary and lower secondary schools to reach vulnerable youth before they drop out and migrate, and utilizing peer educators and technology to reach out-of-school and migrant youth. Interventions include scholarships to address cost barriers preventing the most vulnerable youth from staying in school; remediation for those at risk of academic failure; life skills education on topics known to be essential for keeping migrant youth safe; and the roll out of WEI’s recently developed Khmer-language safe migration website targeted at youth, with accompanying training curriculum. World Education is also working to revitalize Student Councils in secondary schools as a vehicle to foster youth participation and to address the low perceived relevance and quality of education that is known to contribute to persistently high school dropout rates in Cambodia.
Access a photo story on our youth development work.
To read more about World Education’s projects that promote youth development and safer migration, click on the following links:
- Youth on the Move (2013-2016)
- Accessing Information about Migration and Safety (AIMS) (2013-2015)
- OPTIONS: Combatting Child Trafficking and Exploitation through Education (2004-2007)
- ConnectEd (2011-2012)
- Pre Industry Life Skills Project (2011)
- Developing Life Skills for Garment Factory Workers (2012)
- Sports Diplomacy Project (2009-2010)