The plane doors swing open and the humidity of ‘Bodia swiftly slaps me in the face. My dehydrated hair from the plane trip quickly becomes damp with sweat and my drying throat begs me to smash a can of Aquarius. As time goes on, I start to find that Siem Reap is absolutely chockers with culture and the sweat gradually stopped bothering me. This beautiful country, with mesmerising farmlands and friendly people, begins to show its true colours and the work that needs to be done becomes clear.

Project commencing on a classic Cambodian scorching day filled with sweat galore Everest Recyclable Solutions (ERS) kicked off the month with a successful first round of waste collection, with most villages wanting a second round. The testing model confirmed the limited options to sell waste, which led the team to knuckle down and ideate new solutions for waste. They did, however re-establish relationships with GAEA, Siem Reap’s only waste disposal service, opening potential options for partnerships.

Our fresh off the block, Health Assessment team, have been smashing goals and sprinting through the design thinking process. The first two weeks were spent with clinics and hospitals empathising and understanding common issues, in order to define a problem in areas such as foreign influence, low Socio-Economic Status, young Infrastructure, transmission and education on health literacy. From this, the team has begun ideating solutions to the defined problem areas. This has involved strenuous research and creative brainstorming.

Our resident agricultural enthusiasts had split into 2 separate yet synonymous sections. Firstly, FarmEd Drones have been hustling and bustling finding local farmers to increase their understanding of issues faced in Siem Reap agriculture. The team have been utilising their drone, affectionately named “Lexi”, to collate aerial data of farmland, as well as, collecting soil samples across unstable terrain that have even given their 2IC PTSD.

The Proof of Concept team was tasked with testing the viability of the consultancy reports in Cambodia. Following up on a rudimentary report given in February resulted in the first sale in Cambodia!!

The most ENERGetic team spent time early in the month ideating solutions from the empathising that had been done by previous groups. They are currently considering two solar options, one being a small solar light that could provide light to less affluent communities in rural communities. The other is a larger solar panel and battery kit with the intention of replacing the unreliable, unsafe and overpriced grid power that is apparent here in Cambodia.

“I have a personal philosophy in life: If somebody else can do something that I’m doing, they should do it”.
– Neil DeGrasse Tyson

This philosophy bleeds into the Project Everest team in Cambodia as trekkers work within their teams and with local NGO’s to create a sustainable positive impact. They have learned to ballroom dance through regulations and cultural barriers without stepping on the toes of the top dog organisations in Siem Reap, being sure to provide something beneficial and new that isn’t causing competition in the local area.

Blake Pearson
FarmEd: Proof of Concept Team Leader – Cambodia – July 2017
Bachelor of Commerce, UOW

Photo Credit: Emma Jenkins

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