Sour Mouy: Closing the Gap for Young Cambodians

Sour Mouy is an online mentoring platform connecting people who can give advice, to people who need them, bridging a widening information gap in Cambodia’s young population.

Founded by Ou Ritthy, one of Cambodia’s rising changemakers. “Sour Mouy is a new initiative in the digital age to help fix the dividing gap between the students in the rural areas and cities. Plus, it can provide the less privileged and less informed students with the right tools and decision to succeed,” Ritthy explained.

Literally meaning “ask one” in Khmer, Sour Mouy is a web-based platform that allows  anybody to sign up and get advice from the carefully screened and handpicked mentors. With over 200 mentors on the site there’s practically an expert for any industry you can think of.

A search feature allows mentees to filter mentors by field of expertise, for example finding experts in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics(STEM) field, and simple click on the “Connect Now” button gives users the contact details to start receiving advice.

Sokry Zahron, Site Coordinator, demonstrating how to use Sour Mouy.

With some 210 mentees signed up so far, there is almost a 1:1 ratio of mentees to mentors, something that Site Coordinator Sokry Zahron is keen to address.

“Most high school students don’t know how to use the site, and also this platform is not widely known by the public. Our platform just launched earlier this year and we don’t have enough resources to get information about it to most high school students, especially those in remote areas,” explained Sokry.

“For students in remote areas even if information about Sour Mouy reaches them sometimes they don’t know how to use the platform and furthermore, it requires an internet connection.”

To get around their limited resources, the team utilises the conference platform BarCamp to bring Sour Mouy to provinces like Kampong Cham.

Currently Sour Mouy does not have a sustainable stream of revenue, but the team hopes to utilise advertising on the site to be self-sustaining before upgrading to a dedicated app.

Pech Pisey is the Senior Director of Programmes at Transparency International Cambodia and was a mentor since the beginning of Sour Mouy.

“Sour Mouy’s vision really resonated with me as it aims to empower youth in making informed decision about their lives and future. My past experiences taught me that having the right mentor with expertise and skills to inform me about academic endeavours and my career path was key in shaping my future. So this platform comes at the right time when youths are lacking  access to the right information and advice about their future.”

With plans to make the platform even safer for mentors and mentees to interact, and to find ways to make the costs of running Sour Mouy sustainable, the team behind the project are optimistic.

“Sour Mouy is the future. It is a forward-looking initiative and it can be a fast, low-cost, education, career, and civic engagement platform provided that we have the right partners to scale up. If more youth start using, I firmly believe that Sour Mouy can bridge the country’s skill gap and reduce the mismatched labour markets in Cambodia.”