Youth of the week: Sem Panhavuth

Youth of the week: Sem Panhavuth

111207_04

Sem Panhavuth, 29-years-old, started as a volunteer for global NGO Handicap International. Now, he is a full-time employee, managing an information system of road crashes and victims. After demonstrating an outstanding work ethic during his time volunteering, he was promoted to an employee in only three months.

System control and management of statistics was new for Sem Panhavuth when he began the job, as he had just graduated from the Royal University of Phnom Penh with a degree in information technology. He excelled at Handicap International quickly, despite his lack of experience, by learning from his environment and diligent self-study.

“I needed time to get used to work, since I was supposed to follow their structure. I wasn’t that comfortable with things at first, really,” he said.

He added that his director’s kindness and encouragement put him at ease with the job. “I wasn’t shy to ask others when I had a concern or question,” he said. “Also, listening to people really helps you to improve.”

After enough hard work and training, Sem Panhavuth created a system for organising traffic accident data. It is now used locally and internationally by Handicap International.

“Our traffic accident data has updated and changed format every year. The reports are much more professional now. We can compare data between countries, and evaluate the risk of traffic accidents,” he said.

“This achievement required a lot of research. We expect our data process to be a model for other countries to follow.”

According to Sem Panhavuth’s data collection system, 80% of traffic-related fatalities were caused by head injury last year. Handicap International is an advocate of wearing helmets while driving to reduce this extreme number.

Some of their campaigns bring Handicap International to schools and universities, both in Phnom Penh and in the provinces. Handicap International has launched especially strong campaigns through local media. Sem Panhavuth was once a guest speaker for a broadcasted seminar.

“Once, I was invited to be a speaker for raising awareness for traffic issues. In high schools, we train some students peer-to-peer. In the villages, we also encourage traffic safety,” he said.

Sem Panhavuth plans to build on his current career and eventually become an expert in his field. He thinks that traffic experts are needed in Cambodia, because traffic safety is still relatively new.

He values the knowledge he gains every-day from working at Handicap International.

“I have the opportunity to join in on training seminars, locally and internationally. Training allows me to improve on my strategies and it requires critical thinking,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from

  • Conflict lingers on Paris Accords

    As the Kingdom prepares to commemorate on October 23 the 27th anniversary of the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which ushered in an end to nearly two decades of civil war, there is political conflict on whether the tenets of the agreement are still being

  • EU agrees VN trade deal despite rights concerns

    The EU on Wednesday agreed to a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, a country described as having a “major rights-abusing government”. This comes amid the 28-nation bloc preparing the procedure for a possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade agreement on