NGO Training Team Teaches Tibetans Skills

A team of Cambodians trained by a local NGO has returned from a teaching mission in Lhasa, Tibet, sharing with others the skills they were taught in Cam­bo­dia.

Srey Vanthorn, Kchao Veisan, and team leader Heng Sentik left Feb 20 for Tibet, where they stayed for four weeks, teaching management skills to 25 employees of Tibetan NGOs.

“I feel proud that I have been asked—that my organization has been asked—to deliver training abroad,” said Stey Vanthorn. “It is a real opportunity for me, and for Cambodia.”

The three Cambodians were trained at VBNK, a Cambodian NGO that provides management training skills to NGO managers. The acronym stands for the Khmer words for Institute for Management Skills Training.

Since 1997, the organization has been teaching Cambodians a range of skills, from staff management to budgeting, problem solving to fundraising.

“We offer management training in the social development sector,” said director Jenny Pear­son.

She said VBNK works in part by pairing Cambodian managers with mentors, who are often expatriates working with other non-governmental organizations, who help them learn the ropes.

One former mentor, who worked with Handicap Inter­national in Cambodia, was reassigned to Tibet and discovered the NGO community there had no management training program.

So she contacted Pearson to see if a team of Cambodian trainers could be sent to Lhasa to teach what they had learned. The Cambodians were pleased to be asked, but realized it would be a challenge to take material they had learned in Khmer, translate it into English, and teach it through interpreters to people who speak Tibetan and Chinese.

Despite the difficulties, the training mission was a success, said VBNK technical adviser Conor Boyle. He said the team will return in November to finish the first round of training, and has been asked to start a second session for additional groups that will conclude in March.


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