10 years of Chab Dai: Making a coalition work

The Learning Community project is a definitive part of the Chab Dai programme, being the core of all our coalition-building events, key member trainings and collaboration activities. But since #10yearsofChabDai is all about highlighting the projects and people who have been fundamental to our vision, it seemed like a good opportunity to check in with the LC and its current Project Manager, Um Sam Ol.

Sam Ol started at Chab Dai as a Media and Communications intern in 2010 and, five years later, oversees the member application process, the resource library and our bi-annual member meetings, as well as key trainings for our member NGOs.

Um Samol, Learning Community Project Manager

Um Samol, Learning Community Project Manager


“Part of my time is dedicated to screening organisations who apply to be Chab Dai members but we also run the bi-annual member meetings and different types of member forums: directorship, business, caregiver and HR. We invite participants who work in the same area of focus and face similar things and often one of them may have a success or a lesson to share or a tool or resource that can help the others to be successful.”

Managing a diverse and dynamic coalition

Being the glue that holds the coalition together is not always straightforward, it seems.

“Our 53 organisations are so diverse and dynamic and have their own focus and as we are the central body, it can be challenging to link up with all of them.” Nevertheless, Sam Ol has seen some great results of capacity-building in action:

“A project coordinator at an NGO based in Banteay Meanchey gave us some really positive feedback about our Child Protection Policy training. The organisation was trying to promote child rights in the community, but they often saw violence, or parents forcing their children to go to work to bring income for the family. After some staff attended our training, they got the knowledge and skills to go back to their staff and pass on the training. Then their staff could train the community and they saw a noticeable improvement.

“The community character has changed in the way they react to the children. They know how to protect children and know what to do when the children are being abused or exploited. We see that they are now respecting their children’s rights more and we saw a reduction of violence happening.”
— Participant, Child Protection Training

Changing attitudes

When I ask Sam Ol how the human trafficking situation has changed in the last decade, he talks about a shift in attitudes, from focusing just on aftercare to taking a more holistic approach.

“In the early days, there were a lot of brothels and trafficking was really crazy and that’s why the shelters were needed. But later, the government realized that the best interest of the client is not living in the shelter but with their family. That is why now there is a shift to focus on family and community – a lot of organisations still offer care to the client but more community-based.

“And from the NGO perspective now, they’re not just focused on their own job, as before – they try to cooperate more because they believe that, working together, we can end this issue.”

The crucial contribution that the Learning Community team offers is support for services on the frontline, as Sam Ol says:

“Even though I work in the LC which is not directly benefitting the client, I serve in an indirect way, I can still be a part of it. With members who are working directly with survivors. This really inspires me to keep on going.”

Want to read more about the work of our different teams here at Chab Dai? Catch our interview with the Jeut Nung Dai team here, or take a look at our main website for more information.

Blog post written by Laura Gavin