Today’s Cambodia is a youthful one, with approximately 59% to 65% of its population being 30 or below. Because of this many young Cambodians still lack opportunities to maximise their skills, leadership capacity and educational outcomes.

As a result, an entire generation of future leaders risk having their potential capped.

Though all Cambodian children have a right to free basic education by law, this isn’t always the reality. Fewer than 30% of children enrol in secondary schooling, with an even smaller number entering tertiary and higher learning. Outside of the classroom, it is often even more difficult to access personal development opportunities, co-curricular activities and community-strengthening exercises, as a result of both families and schools being unable to afford them.

At Oaktree, we don’t believe that this is fair.

As an organisation run by young people, we recognise the huge potential of Cambodia’s future leaders. Which is exactly why our impact is centered around working with local communities to help build the programs and organisations necessary to help these leaders build skills, develop networks and kickstart their futures.

Our Cambodian Partner

2018-2022: Kampuchean Action for Primary Education

KAPE is the largest local education NGO in Cambodia, influencing over 150,000 children at 300 schools across 11 provinces at the primary, secondary and tertiary level. KAPE’s mission is: “To work with government, community and other stakeholders, to empower vulnerable children and youth to achieve their own right to quality education through innovative approaches.”

Since 2019, we have been supporting KAPE to implement a flagship program: 'Kampuchean Young Leaders' Action' (KYLA).

  • Location: Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum province, Cambodia.
  • Duration: In its 3rd Year!
  • Focus: Youth leadership and empowerment

Program Details:

KYLA aims to increase the opportunities for young people living in rural areas in Cambodia.

For the past three years, we have been working alongside the dedicated team at KAPE to build a unique cross-age mentoring, networking and impact organisation: Kampuchean Young Leaders’ Action (KYLA).

With assistance from Oaktree, KYLA is mobilising a talented pool of Cambodian university students and young professionals, providing them with strong, practical training in outreach and community development.

This allows them to then go into partner schools across Cambodia and facilitate a wide range of different leadership and capacity-building initiatives with regional high school students. From debating to student-led forums, community advocacy/development projects, careers counselling and even student exchanges; the goal of the KYLA program is to prioritise holistic development of each and every young person involved. In doing so, we’re building the skills and networks needed to empower the next generation of local young leaders.

Going forward, they’ll be the ones leading the charge on the most critical issues affecting their communities, only further magnifying their impact Cambodia-wide.

KYLA is our very first youth empowerment project, for more information, please download the Case Study of this project to find out more!

We have been working with KAPE for many years prior to commencing the KYLA program, and we would love for you to check out the Case Studies linked below to see how our impact has grown and developed

Haven’t quite got time for that? Keep reading for a quick snapshot.

2013-2018: The Girls' Education Initiative 

GEI supported vulnerable youth, particularly girls, to receive secondary level education and opportunities for tertiary level education through the provision of scholarships. In addition, GEI provided livelihood skills and support to the families of students facing financial barriers to accessing education, and also completed outreach activities to enhance community awareness of the rights of children and the importance of girls education.

Oaktree amplified the impact of our funded programs by providing GEI scholars with the opportunity to lead an evaluation of GEI in their own school in 2017. Training and supporting student beneficiaries to evaluate GEI was valuable for the evaluation and the students - download the Case Study of this evaluation to find out more.

2011-2013: The Beacon School's Initiative 
BSI transformed three public secondary schools in rural Kampong Cham into ‘beacons’ or models of innovation, for other schools in Cambodia to replicate. Through scholarships, teacher training, science labs, computer labs, bio-gardens, life skills, student councils, effective school management and community participation the three schools made huge gains in shifting away from traditional learning to fostering teacher and student leadership and engagement. KAPE worked with district, provincial and national levels of government to implement BSI, recognising the need to influence systemic change and lift standards within the Cambodian public education sector.