People-Driven Ideas

People Driven Empowerment Changemakers in Rural Cambodia 6

The Cause

Impact-driven changemaking is a combination of hard work and good intensions, but it can only work through open dialogue and exchange. And while community development is often seen as an intervention from outside, it truly is a light to be sparked from within. Bringing the two notions together is a central part of our work

While most western communities rely on meta-data, market research and other surveys to determine the needs of the many. Unfortunately, forgotten communities such as Sen Sok do not produce this valuable information from which the change can stem.

It is therefore the responsibility of changemakers to do their homework. Over the years, Community First has evolved as a intrinsically people-driven organization. And today we focus on crowd-sourcing solutions to problems that the people we want to empower see as important.

Our programs engage the people right from the planning phase, and each initiative on the field is carefully developed with committees of community leaders and stakeholders through a democratically engaged decision making process.

Our Work

Before launching its 16-village wide development works, the Community First field team spent a year interviewing the families of Sen Sok. During that process, multiple focus group discussion and surveys were organized to identify and prioritize the implementation of the change villagers wanted to see.

In the process, we identify community leaders, and empower those famers who struggle with their rice fields through agricultural training, and those mothers who are concerned with the education of their children through local school support opportunities. These people are the changemakers from within and are our most important and precious asset.

Only once the development plan created and ratified are the water wells drilled, the farmer trained, and the schools built. Because the change can only start happening when people believe in it and see their leaders embrace the change.

The ultimate source of our projects’ sustainability is found in this participatory approach which invites individuals to build durable equity in each project instead of looking for a handout.

To this day, the same community leaders are caring for the self help groups and water well committees that ensure the long term success of each project.


What you can do


Do you work with a company, represent an educational institution or service club which would like to connect with an entire community  in need of your help?