Meas Sovannarith: From volunteer staff to project assistant at the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC)

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Meas Sovannarith: From volunteer staff to project assistant at the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC)

‘I don’t have money or a treasury to help my society, but I will try my best to educate the citizens on their rights and their duties in a democratic society, and the benefits of electing good representatives as their leaders. So, this is what I can do to help my country.”

These words were taken from a speech by Meas Sovannarith, 27, a Kandal province youth from a poor farming family who works as a project assistant at the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fear Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC).

Having started as a volunteer, his hard work led to his full time appointment in 2011.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

“I think that working in the organisation allows me to help people, and go directly to communities, which is why I volunteered for NICFEC,” said Sovannarith when asked why he chose to join the organisation.

“It is what I wish because I can help and educate the citizens in their communities in all provinces.”

From his nearly two years of work as a project assistant, Sovannarith has worked in five projects focusing on politics and democratic strengthening among Cambodian citizens, particularly among women, youths and minority groups. He directly observes and educates citizens in the communities where he works.

Sovannarith is currently working on two projects: a democratisation project that cooperates with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), and a project in conjunction with the Spanish NGO Paz y desarrol (PYD) that encourages women and minority groups’ involvement in politics.

Furthermore, Sovannarith also teaches NICFEC observers in the provinces for the upcoming election. He also is responsible for waiting for data from the observers from across the country; after the election is over, he will record the data. And when observers in the provinces need help, he must go out himself to offer assistance.

Working in the political sector is not an easy job, said Sovannarith.

“According to my own experiences, I also have been faced with some concerns in my work,” said Sovannarith.

“For example, when the observers have problems on the Election Day, we must go out immediately, and it’s risky because I cannot prepare myself first. And my responsibilities are many, since I have to control finance management and projects. So, I have to offer much time and energy.”

However, Sovannarith said that he is still able to succeed at those tasks because of his willingness to work and the satisfaction he gets from the job. A graduate student of English literature, he also aims to start a charity organisation to help orphaned children in Cambodia.

As an expert working on the election, Sovannarith has some suggestions to Cambodian citizens who are able to vote:

“I am pleased to announce to all Cambodian citizens who have right to vote to vote altogether, because each vote sets the country’s future for the next five years. So, we must vote for a party according to our willing decisions in order to get the leaders we love.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to