Between October and December last year, UNESCO provided the opportunity to selected youth computer science students to improve their skills and learn how to develop mobile applications addressing social needs. This training program, part of the global UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative was implemented by InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia.
Geeks in Cambodia sat down with the course trainers, Ms Mouyleng and Mr Sokmesa as well as students, Channy and Chanmony to find out more about what the course entailed and how they benefited from the training.
Ms Chanmony, 24, is currently working as a commercial web developer and Mr Channy has plans to publish another mobile application on the App Store for Cambodia. Read the interview to find out more about how the program has taught and benefited these two individuals.
This interview has been edited for length, clarity and flow.
Hello trainers, please tell us why the course was created, and why there is a need to teach youth about mobile app coding?
Sokmesa: This training programme, implemented by InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia under the initiative by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), trains students to learn to code and create mobile applications.
Mouyleng: This training program also aimed at encouraging young developers to create mobile applications for social good, and to work in a team.
Do you think mobile apps or technology will be the most effective way of solving social problems?
Sokmesa: In Cambodia, there are more than 6 million Internet subscribers, nearly half of the nation’s population. This trend will continue to grow along with the increasing number of smartphone users, especially among youth and people in urban areas. This is a good timing for mobile app and technology solutions that address social problems.
To the developers:
Why did you decide to join the program?
Chanmony: Because I am interested in creating mobile apps. I also started learning how to develop mobile apps by myself when I have free time.
Channy: I wanted to learn how to build a mobile app with a hybrid method. Previously, I only knew how to develop it based on one platform, Android. But coming here to attend the course, I have learnt how to develop the mobile application for both iOS and Android.
So do you think it is important for youth like you to get more involved in the growth of technology here in Cambodia?
Chanmony: Yes of course, because now technology is growing and we cannot stay rooted in our traditional ways. We need to learn more and more about the technology and furthermore, I’m working in the technology field. So I need to develop myself to suit with the technology trend.
What is the most useful skill that you have learnt in the program that you can apply to your future jobs?
Chanmony: First is the development mobile application skill which I can now do. Before I joined the course, I did not know how to build mobile apps with simple code. I mean, I had basic knowledge about the code, but I did not know how to make it work.
Channy: Working as a team is important to me. Because I have never worked in a team before and when I work, I only do it till I am bored, then when I am bored, I stop easily.
Why do you think it’s important for you to develop mobile and sustainable solutions for the Kingdom’s social needs?
Chanmony: If we can create a mobile application that can help to solve such social needs, it will be very good. For example, when I was trained here, I created a mobile app for students to find scholarship opportunities. This app lists all the scholarships available in Cambodia and all the information that students might be interested in.
Can you tell me more about the app that you created?
Chanmony: This early version of the app provides information about the scholarships that are available in the universities across Cambodia. Information such as how many certificates are required for the scholarship; when they will be called to take exams, and other requirements. What major, what subject, and what the students have to prepare to get the scholarship.
Channy: Our mobile app lists all the active NGOs in Cambodia and it contains the ways to contact them as well as what they do.
What are your plans for the future? How are you going to use what you have learnt in the future?
Chanmony: I will be learning more about mobile app development. When we studied here, we only learnt about one technology, and I am now eager to know more. I will want to move on and learn about some other technology related to mobile application development.
Channy: For me, I am still in contact with my team. And we want to build another app and publish it into app store.
*Chanmony was previously a student at SETEC University and Channy was previously a student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.