Youth Chhlat: Engaging Cambodian Youths in Sensitive Topics

Topics such as sexuality, reproductive health and rights, gender and family issues are sensitive topics that people generally avoid talking about, especially Cambodian Youth. As part of the ‘Learning About Living’ program introduced by OneWorld, Youth Chhlat is a project that utilizes text messaging to answer youth’s questions about these delicate issues.

With 96% of Cambodian youths having access to mobile phones and over 30% of them using them to send and receive text messages, this Youth Chhlat service combines computer based e-learning system with a mobile phone Q&A service where the youths can send a question anonymously to a short code and would receive a reply within the next 24hours. More than just using text messages, teens can also send a question via email or Facebook’s private messaging system. As the questions will be answered by a counsellor, this enables the youths to be able to receive detailed and accurate answers in the most fun and engaging way possible. Even though most questions revolve around sensitive topics, this method allows the youth to have a relatively ‘safe and private platform’ to enquire about their doubts without having to face the fear of judgment.

Also, to better engage with the youths, Youth Chhlat utilizes InSTEDD’s Nuntium which is a tool that bridges Youth Chhlat’s main platform to a number of different operators. Using an exclusive 4-digit code, Nuntium is able to recognize the code and automatically sends the message to OneWorld’s cloud-based Q&A platform, which would then be addressed by a counsellor and sent back to Nuntium to be passed on to the mobile operator. With Nuntium functioning as a middleman, this allows the process to be simplified for Youth Chhlat as they would not have to create different codes for every mobile operator in Cambodia. They will also be able to focus their efforts on developing their technical platform used to address young people’s day-to-day problems.

Available in both English, Khmer and Khmer-Latin, a phonetic version of the Khmer language that youths use online, Youth Chhlat aims to encourage the youth to talk more and engage in sensitive topics such as sexual, gender and reproductive health and right issues.

Find out more on their Facebook Page here.

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Article adapted from: http://www.ictworks.org/2015/10/05/how-sms-messages-revitalize-the-lives-of-cambodian-youth/