TechCamp Cambodia Retrospective – Supporting Lower Mekong

On 24 and 25 September, TechCamp returned to Cambodia with the aim of supporting healthy waterways in the Lower Mekong.

For this edition of TechCamp, 50 members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) attended as representatives of the various nations connected to the Mekong. These countries include Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The two-day event, hosted by Raintree Cambodia, aimed to develop practical, technology-based solutions to tackle the challenges that each of the represented nations faced regarding the Mekong river.

Even though the event aimed to promote tech based initiatives, attendees need not have had any prior experience in tech as long as they had ideas and were passionate about preserving the Lower Mekong.

With attendees’ ideas being the focus of the event, the programme featured several segments to help further develop these potential solutions. These segments included an interactive training session with industry players and a 5 minute speed-geeking session.

The speed-geeking session provided a fast paced environment where attendees would watch groups present their ideas within a 5 minute time frame before moving on to the next presentation.

One big advantage of speed-geeking is that it allows many presentations to be enjoyed by the audience. After all, with all the great ideas that participants came up with, it would be a pity if any of the groups did not get a chance to present their idea!

Following the intense two-day event, TechCamp reported on their Facebook page that the event was a huge success and that the YSEALI members who participated had been equipped with the ability to create various tech-based initiatives. In this way, they were now able to implement different solutions to preserve the Lower Mekong.

For attendees, the event was thoroughly enjoyable with many highlighting the brainstorming segment and the 5 minute speed-geeking session as the best part about the event.

Moving forward, TechCamp will be embarking on several follow-on programmes including a small grant competition to provide funding for the projects that were developed during the workshop. This is also inline with participants’ feedback, where they highlighted that TechCamp could best support their work by providing seed funding.

If you’re interested in applying for the grant, stay tuned to TechCamp’s Facebook page for updates. Who knows, maybe you’ll be successful in the grant application and you could see your Mekong preservation idea being brought to life!

TechCamp is an initiative by the U.S. State Department that has been run more than 40 times throughout the world and it aims to empower attendees by training them in the use of low-cost, easy-to-implement technological tools and concepts.

Summing up this edition of TechCamp, perhaps this quote from Ambassador William A. Heidt, made during his opening remarks at the event, would be the most fitting.

“As TechCamp participants, you are now part of another powerful network which we will look to for technological support to protect our shared waterways.
If you didn’t get a chance to be part of this TechCamp, look out for the next edition and join this amazing, change-making community!