Hitting the road to reach young Cambodian job-seekers

Communications coordinator, BBC Media Action, Cambodia

“I feel so excited about the roadshow, I have never ever seen an educational event like this in my village” shouts high school student Youm Piseth over the noise of our Klahan9 roadshow in Takeo province, Cambodia.

He is just the kind of person we want to reach and inspire.

Young Cambodians face high levels of unemployment. There’s stiff competition for jobs and a lack of career guidance and vocational training. Those in work are often on low wages, informal contracts and obligated to work long hours with insufficient on-the-job training.

Often young people want to migrate to cities or overseas but don’t know enough to make the necessary preparations or take informed employment decisions.

Klahan9 (which means “brave”) is an innovative multi-media project tackling these challenges by giving young people useful and inspiring information about jobs and economic security. Our TV show and Facebook page covers everything from how to search for employment opportunities more effectively and negotiate with parents and employers, to tips for writing CVs or starting your own business.

On the road

We knew we had to reach people in rural areas with little access to media so we made plans for a roadshow that would see us visiting villages in five provinces. To get to the heart of each community, we decided to spend two days based at a school, college or community centre. By taking the roadshow across the country like this we are set to cover more than 1000 miles this year.

With all the plans in place, we hit the road for the first time. After long journey to Takeo province, a poverty-stricken and mainly agricultural region to the south of Phnom Penh, we stopped briefly for lunch. Then it was all hands on deck. There was an excited flurry and some last-minute nerves as we set up the Klahan9 booth. But soon everyone was ready and we ran the final sound checks at the main stage.

It wasn’t long before the place was buzzing with young people asking us what Klahan9 was all about and why we were there. Our partners - the National Employment Agency and Open Institute worked alongside us, giving out information about employment, training options and entrepreneurship.

Young people were soon happily crowding around the main stage for the music, singing, magic shows and dancing. Our popular MCs, including a well-known Klahan9 presenter, did a great job getting the crowd involved by inviting people on stage to share their own stories. Our partners joined us on stage encouraging young people to be Klahan (brave) in pursuing the job they want.

I’m so happy we are able to reach and inspire people in remote areas who would not otherwise have access to this kind of information. As Youm told me, “the roadshow games are fun and educational which makes me brave to pursue my dream.”

Being brave and achieving one’s dreams is what Klahan9 is all about.


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