Youth on the Move (YOTM) is World Education’s regional initiative aiming to reduce the vulnerability of potential migrant, and migrant, youth to trafficking, exploitation and abuse through improved learning outcomes, life skills, and knowledge about safe migration.
Faced with poor education outcomes, stagnant rural economies and limited income generation opportunities, many Cambodian youth leave their villages in search of work within Cambodia and further afield, most often using illegal, irregular and highly risky migration channels. Without the education levels, 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.
Youth on the Move Cambodia currently focuses on Prey Veng province which is a major source area for trafficking and child labor; suffers from severe food insecurity; and has among the lowest education achievement rates and highest migration rates of the entire country. Working alongside local education officials and working groups, Youth on the Move Cambodia partners with upper primary and lower secondary schools in migration-prone areas to reach vulnerable youth before they drop out and migrate, and utilizes peer educators and technology to reach out-of-school and migrant youth. Interventions include scholarships to address cost barriers preventing vulnerable youth 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 World Education Cambodia’s recently developed Khmer-language safe migration website targeted at youth, with accompanying training curriculum.
YOTM has recently shifted to revitalizing Student Councils in secondary schools as a major vehicle to foster youth participation and address the low perceived relevance and quality of education that is known to contribute to persistently high school drop out rates in Cambodia. Under YOTM, Student Councils organize a range of enriched learning activities and youth voice opportunities, and provide peer-education in Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills, safe migration, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.