In November, a major contract that allowed IBJ to open three new offices in several provinces, which has helped immensely in enabling in providing legal aid to the poor in these provinces will end. As a result, it is really important for IBJ to secure new funding. If anyone is interested in supporting IBJ Cambodia in providing legal aid to many of the poorest citizens of Cambodia, the fundraising page is: https://www.crowdrise.com/InnocentUntilProvenGuilty/
Work this week has been comprised of me continuing work on an analysis of how interviews have shown where there have been changes in provincial law offices, editing letters to stakeholders about funding, and a few meetings with a consultant and IBJ staff to work over the details for interviews being conducted in the field. With statistics harder to find for provincial offices, these interviews are key to determining the effects of IBJ's work in the provinces where they work.
Over the last decade, Cambodia has become home to many NGO's doing development work all over the country. There is a small "expat" community in Phnom Penh, that seems to be comprised of mostly French and German people who are working at NGO's, or are in school here. I was lucky to meet a few at the German Cambodian Cultural Center this weekend. I was really impressed how they all had really interesting stories about what had brought them to Cambodia and their lives, and yet they also all maintained really really humble attitude about what they were saying. The expat community on the whole is fairly lively, with events like documentary screenings, talks, salsa classes, and music most every night of the week, I think this will be a good way for me to get to know more of this really interesting group of people that live here.
My learning of the Khmer language is going slowly, but definitely seems to be appreciated by most people I try to talk to. Last week, a "good morning, how are you?" got me two absolutely delicious mangoes from a lady who worked at the guest house I was staying at. I also managed to talk (mostly gesture a kicking motion) myself into a pick-up soccer game on the street one evening, which was so much fun. We played with a tiny ball made out of a straw-like material, which took a little bit of getting used to, but worked really well for the small space we were playing it. I am really looking forward to playing again next week. Here's hoping for IBJ finding funding, more mangoes, better language skills, and more street soccer.