Saint Paul Institute, CAMBODIA Exchange Program with Brescia University and Bergamo University (UNESCO Chair and Tovini Foundation), ITALY from 17th March to 9th April, 2019.
- April 24, 2019
As part of enhancing education and social work in the South-South countries of the world, the South-South Project was created and implemented under a three-year MoU among Italy, Cambodia, and Tanzania. Participating in Italy were the UNESCO Chair & Tovini Foundation and two universities in Brescia and Bergamo. In Cambodia the Saint Paul Institute (SPI) participated, and in Tanzania it was Ruaha Catholic University. In 2017, a group of four social work students and two social work lecturers were sent to Tanzania to Ruaha Catholic University to experience social issues and education in that country. Then in 2018, a Tanzanian group of one professor of Kiswahili and three students in education came to Cambodia to learn about Cambodian education and Cambodian social problems and solutions. This year, from 17th March to 9th April, 2019, is the last year that the Cambodian and Tanzanian groups met together to receive knowledge from Italy on better structures and problem-solving strategies and methodologies used in education and social work. The purpose of this project has been to promote the long-term cooperation and collaboration between South-South countries and to help one another through receiving experience from a North country like Italy.
Still to be resolved in Cambodia as well as in Tanzania are issues of the quality of teaching techniques and materials; questions about the educational structures and settings in education; and various social issues such as children with disabilities, the elderly, drug abuse, immigration, and waste management. In Cambodia, the government, in collaboration with partner NGOs, has been striving hard to tackle these issues by establishing centers for children with disabilities, rehabilitation centers for drug abusers, and technical training centers, but these do not yet provide the quality required. Cambodia does not have enough human capital, technical and professional persons, and qualified structure settings in each of these fields and is also lacking financial assistance. Far away from Cambodia, Tanzania is lagging behind Cambodia in providing support structures for disabilities and rehabilitation centers for those addicted to drugs. Tanzania also has fewer human resources in the field of social work and fewer programs to help those in need while in Cambodia people tend to be more aware of the issues and have services with a little higher level of quality than in Tanzania.
Learning from the experience of the North country, Italy, has provided a lot of ideas, knowledge, and skills for working with the homeless, drug addicts, the education of children, child with disabilities, the elderly in homecare and hospice settings, agriculture cooperatives to help farmers, and immigration. These new ideas will help the two countries of Tanzania and Cambodia initiate various programs to handle the issues. This program does not only provide ideas about solving education and social issues in Italy. This South-South project also equips us with the ability to understand the importance of human rights and the re-thinking of education to get a better quality of learning in all countries around the globe without any discrimination. It also assists us to know the importance of networking among the South-South nations, becoming aware of how countries can collaborate and promote development with one another without assistance from the North countries.
Therefore, this three-year program has provided very fruitful experiences and invaluable lessons learnt from each country, especially Italy, on how to handle social issues and education problems. The ways of dealing with all social issues and education in Italy will be a great model for the two countries to integrate into their unique approach for their respective countries.