Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To NGO or not to NGO?

Why start another NGO?

In Siem Reap there are more than 300 registered non-government organizations.  Let that sink in for a moment...more than 300 registered NGOs in Siem Reap Province alone!

However, I am certain there are hundreds more groups that are calling themselves NGOs or charities or non-profits or social enterprises, but have no idea what they are doing.

This is a problem.

Cambodia, a country of about 14-15 million people has probably more do-gooders than the rest of the world.  Why is this?

There are no black and white answers.  I see and hear a lot of people coming here charmed by Cambodia and deeply affected by the poverty they see, and don't know what else to do.

This is where Learning Services comes in!

The Learning Service - Improving Volunteer Travel Facebook page provides lots of thought provoking links to consider and re-consider what it means to volunteer and/or start an NGO.

There is also a book coming out.  Find out more about Learning Service at their website.

Here are a few more links to continue researching the whys and why nots.

When Volunteering Becomes Big Business on Al Jazeera

Lessons I Learned by Daniela Papi

Good Intentions are Not Enough website and blog - very informative!

The Trap of Saving Cambodia film trailer and information.

Orphanages not the solution a website aimed at informing and educating travelers about the realities of orphanage tourism

Many of these websites are jumping off points for further reading and information about the volunteer industry.

Despite the negative image that is often portrayed about volunteering and NGOs in Cambodia, there is still a lot of good and amazing things happening.

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