Universal Village Program
About the Universal Village Program
The Universal Village Project is a new undertaking by Life With Dignity (LWD) staff allowing for a low-cost way to experience the true rural side of Cambodia. LWD works with several communities in Cambodia to empower locals and ensure they are able to improve their living standards. The Universal Village Project is an attempt to bridge the gap between our NGO and the public, allowing for volunteers to share in the change we are making in this field. We are offering an opportunity for volunteers to join us and experience life in Cambodia in a unique and revelatory way.
Derived from a concept of unity, LWD aims to allow both communities to come together and gain a deeper understanding of each other. This will allow for an increased understanding, respect and hopefully will lead to a better quality of life.
If you would like to experience Cambodia as a local, meet new people and/or gain experience in an exciting development program, LWD’s Universal Village Project is for you!
Cambodia has one of the oldest and proudest cultures in Southeast Asia, and the mighty temple buildings of the old sacred city “Angkor Wat” still keep this spirit. Now referred to as “The Kingdom of Wonder,” Cambodia was formerly known as the “Great Angkor Kingdom.” And although the country has suffered cruel wars and a bloody dictatorship, the people never lost their hope for being a great kingdom again. We see Cambodia as a burgeoning country with vibrant and determined residents striving to improve their situation, which helps to make it an unforgettable and valuable experience to come and volunteer here. You will have the chance to visit the modern capital Phnom Penh, home of magnificent sights and sounds as well as truly unique day and night life. But the most impressive part will be to see how the people beyond the borders of Phnom Penh live and what the rural aspect of Cambodia looks like.
What We Do
Life With Dignity is a Cambodian NGO that focuses on community development for rural populations through “Rural Development through Empowerment Programs.” These programs (IRDEPs) are designed to empower the communities to improve their living standards by claiming their rights as well as become self-sustainable in managing the community development work.
The primary beneficiaries for LWD’s projects include impoverished farmers, families without land, female-headed households, impoverished rural children, HIV affected populations as well as commune councils.
Some of the areas that LWD works in include:
- Community governance, leadership and development
- Human rights and advocacy
- Food security and nutrition
- Income generation
- Basic health care
- Water and sanitation
- Women and youth empowerment
- Climate change adaptation, disaster risk management and emergency response
- Humanitarian mine action
Where We Operate
LWD primarily operates in rural and remote areas to assist vulnerable populations with building sustainable livelihoods. Six different sites that range through four provinces are currently LWD’s areas of operation. Each area has a program office in the district, with area management and staff representing LWD in that region.
The Universal Village Project Site
The Project Area is in Aoral District in the Kampong Speu Province, about two hours West of Phnom Penh. The rural area is famous for its green plains and the mighty Aoral Mountains. Our Universal Village Volunteers will participate in the government’s “Social Land Concession” project, funded by Japan Social Development Fund through World Bank and implemented by LWD.
Under the project, four hundred poor families have settled in on the new land since 2012. To ensure that these families feel secure enough to live on the new land, LWD has provided support ranging from emergency response to basic infrastructure development. Capacity building is also provided. You can be a part of this project and help us make these people feel at home there.
Our Arrangement and Host Program
The following is our projected schedule for your stay in Cambodia.
Day 1: Arrival
- Airport pick-up.
LWD arranges transport from Phnom Penh International Airport to your guesthouse.
- Welcome package (shirt, tourist info, emergency info, schedule info)
Volunteers receive all the information necessary for a relaxed and informative stay in Phnom Penh.
- Welcome dinner
Volunteers get a chance to meet the staff and have a Khmer dinner
Day 2: Orientation at LWD head office
During the morning, volunteers will get a chance to come into the LWD HQ and get briefed on information about their time here in Cambodia. They will also get a chance to tour the facility and meet the staff/management.
- Country information
Volunteers will receive information on the country and advice on any activities here.
- NGO information (Policies)
We will go over basic NGO codes of conduct.
- Cultural Workshop
LWD staff will aim to help the volunteers learn the basics of Khmer tradition
- Information about the volunteer work
Finally, volunteers will receive information on what they will do during their time here. Any clarification or requests can be handled at this time.
Day 3: Sightseeing
- During the second day, LWD staff will assist volunteers in touring Phnom Penh. The sights are not limited to but can include:
- S21 “Toul Sleng Genocide Museum”
- Wat Phnom
- Royal Palace
- Central Market
- Diamond Island
Day 4: Trip to Aoral
- Volunteers leave at 6:00AM from the guesthouse
- Arrival in LWD office Aoral at 8:30
Volunteers arrive in Aoral and meet the local staff who are deployed there.
- Short orientation
Volunteers then travel to the field to meet the residents, tour the village as well as enjoy a traditional Khmer lunch.
- Work after lunch
After lunch, volunteers begin their work according to the work schedule.
Day 5: Volunteer Day
- Volunteers will work the day in Aoral, according to the schedule provided.
Day 6: Volunteer Day and Return to Phnom Penh
- Volunteers continue to work in the village until lunch
- Return to Phnom Penh
After work, volunteers are transported back to Phnom Penh.
- Social event in the evening
After a period of rest, LWD staff will host a social event to show our appreciation for the volunteers
- Allocation of the Volunteer Certification
Volunteers receive a certificate indicating their time invested in the program
Day 7: Free Day
- This day is free for leisure.
In addition to the items mentioned in the schedule, your volunteer fee also includes:
- 7 nights of accommodation (during nights in Phnom Penh in a quality and preselected guesthouse and for nights in the village in the LWD Area Project Office)
- Breakfast for the time in Phnom Penh
- All food in the Village
- Contact person who is always on hand
- LWD T-Shirt
Please note, if you select the “Volunteer Only” package, the schedule for days 4-6 will apply to you, as well as the following benefits:
- 2 nights of accommodation
- All food in the Village
- Contact person who is always on hand
- LWD T-Shirt
LWD is pleased to present a low-cost and inclusive benefits package for volunteering.
All-inclusive “Volunteer and Stay” Package
Field-visit only “Volunteer” Package
Registration fees can be paid online through our PayPal account. After applying you will receive an email detailing how you can do this. The program fee can be paid in full when volunteers arrive at our orientation.
What you will have to cover:
- Travel insurance
- Souvenirs and spending money
In order to apply for this program, please fill out the following application form.
- Please send completed application forms to email@example.com
If you have any questions concerning our program or the application process, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org