I wasn’t expecting the level of technology development I noticed when I was in Cambodia. Although, the majority of the population still live in rural areas and the country is still recovering from the Khmer Rouge regime and internal conflicts. In the major cities, it is very easy to find free wifi spots and people are very active on social media. Even if they don’t own smart phones or live in rural villages they would still access the Internet by visiting Internet cafes located in town.
Most of the teenagers I worked with have a Facebook account which they use regularly. In fact, the students at NFO take daily computer classes and are proficient in Microsoft office. I also noticed a lot of local businesses advertise their social media accounts with their customers, especially in tourist towns such as Kampot and Siem Reap. Most of my internship was spent trying to help create awareness of NFO by utilizing social media. However, my target audience was not Khmer people but instead foreigners who would come to volunteer with the organization. I did noticed that the Khmer staff helped promote the organization on social media. Every time I would post something on our Facebook page, the NFO teachers and staff would share it on their personal pages or would interact with the posts. For non profit organizations in Cambodia, social media represents an important tool to enhance their communication with their constituents. I noticed that when I started posting volunteers testimonials followers became more engaged, this is a great way to attract potential volunteers. Additionally, when I launched the #meetourNFOteachers campaign, Khmer followers including the staff interacted more with the page, this helps boost the morale of the staff and showcase a behind the scenes look to the followers.
Overall, I was very happy to see how our social media presence grew during my time working with NFO. In a month and half we gained over 70 new followers and our posts reached an average of 1000 people daily. We also received several messages from people all over the world expressing interest to volunteer or sponsor our students.
By Patricia Chourio.