Universal Village Program
About the Universal Village Program
The Universal Village Program (UVP) is a recent undertaking by Life With Dignity (LWD) staff allowing for participants to experience the true rural side of Cambodia. LWD works with several communities in Cambodia to empower locals and ensure they are able to improve their living standards. The Universal Village Program is an attempt to bridge the gap between our NGO and the public, allowing for participants to share in the joys and challenges of rural life in Cambodia. We are offering an opportunity for participants to join us and experience life in Cambodia in a unique and real way.
Derived from a concept of unity, LWD aims to allow both communities to come together and gain a deeper understanding of each other. This will allow for an increased understanding, respect and hopefully will lead to a better quality of life.
If you would like to experience Cambodia, meet new people and/or gain experience in an exciting development program, LWD’s Universal Village Program is for you!
Cambodia has one of the oldest and proudest cultures in Southeast Asia, and the mighty temple buildings of the old sacred city of Angkor Wat still keep this spirit alive. Now referred to as “The Kingdom of Wonder”, Cambodia was formerly known as the “Great Angkor Kingdom.” And although the country has suffered cruel wars and a bloody dictatorship, the people never lost their hope for being a great kingdom again. We see Cambodia as a burgeoning country with vibrant and determined residents striving to improve their situation. This helps to make participating in a UPV an unforgettable and valuable experience.
The most impressive part will be to see how the people beyond the borders of Phnom Penh live and what the rural aspect of Cambodia looks like.
What We Do
Life With Dignity is a Cambodian NGO that focuses on community development for rural populations through “Rights-Based Empowerment Programs.” These programs are designed to empower the communities to improve their living standards by claiming their rights as well as become self-sustainable in managing the community development work.
The primary beneficiaries for LWD’s projects include impoverished farmers, families without land, female-headed households, impoverished rural children, HIV affected populations as well as commune councils.
Some of the areas that LWD works in include:
- Community governance, leadership and development
- Human rights and advocacy
- Food security and nutrition
- Income generation
- Basic health care
- Water and sanitation
- Women and youth empowerment
- Climate change adaptation, disaster risk management and emergency response
- Humanitarian land mine action
Where We Operate
LWD primarily operates in rural and remote areas to assist vulnerable populations with building sustainable livelihoods. We currently work in 5 provinces in rural Cambodia. Each area has a program office in the district, with area management and staff representing LWD in that region.
The Universal Village Project Areas
UVP may occur in the following provinces:
- Kampong Speu
- Kampong Chhnang
- Svay Rieng
Our Arrangement and Host Program
The UVP enables visitors to participate in the rural development activities within LWD target areas through hands-on activities and learning about development practices. Participants will see the impact of the LWD operation in target rural areas.
It is aimed that participants will:
- Learn about development practices and the changes that long-term development initiatives encourage
- Meet villagers in their community and hear their stories
- Learn how we can help set people free from poverty and oppression
- Experience the Cambodian culture and customs
- Come face to face with the joys and challenges of development
- Be equipped and inspired to lead their community in real action
- Meet the poor, including those who have experienced hunger and homelessness.
Focus of the Universal Village Program will be the development work of Life With Dignity in rural Cambodia; and the life, culture and difficulties and joys faced by the people of Cambodia. There will be opportunity to learn, to participate in hands-on activities and a chance to spend time with ‘real’ Cambodian people.
The UVP is usually one week in the rural area (negotiable).
- Your Universal Village Program tour will be coordinated by Ieng Kimsrien (LWD Cambodia). Kimsrien has had much experience with leading groups from around the world.
- Kimsrien is accompanied and support by LWD staff in all the provinces and the staff in Phnom Penh.
Your Universal Village Program Stay includes:
- 6 nights of accommodation (Two nights in Phnom Penh in a quality and pre-selected guesthouse or hotel and four nights in the village – one in a family home in a village and three in LWD area Compounds)
- Breakfast in Phnom Penh (following from the night accommodation)
- All food in the villages
- All transport
- All actives and cultural opportunities in the villages
- Contact person who is always on hand
- English translators
- Amazing opportunities to live, learn and contribute to village life in rural Cambodia
- LWD T-Shirt
You will need to organize:
- Travel Insurance
- The rest of your stay in Cambodia (as you desire). LWD staff can help and offer any suggestions.
The cost of the UVP for five days in the field and six nights’ accommodation and all-inclusive of food, transport, translators (and much more!) is US$500.
This should be paid to LWD 6 weeks before your tour.
If you are travelling individually or in a very small group, LWD will try to match you up with other participants to make the UVP viable. The minimum number of participants on and UVP is 5 (negotiable).
Please contact LWD (firstname.lastname@example.org) ASAP if you are interested so we can best cater for your needs.
If you are travelling as a group, it is important that you contact Ieng Kimsrien as soon as possible to lock in dates email@example.com
LWD cater for student groups right through to groups of retirees.
If you are wanting to bring students under 18 years, LWD suggest 1 teacher for 8 students.
A group must consist of 5 people as a minimum.
The maximum number for a group is negotiable, though 24 is a guide as a total maximum, depending on the age of students, staff, area being visited and so on.
A designated adult from each group will be responsible for first aid for the group. LWD will provide a list of suggested medical items to bring.
Life With Dignity is a child safe organisation operating out of their head-office in Phnom Penh and regional headquarters in rural areas.
To this end, all participants must sign the LWD Child Protection Code of Conduct.
All participants over 18 must provide a current Criminal Check document from their home country.
There will be legal and medical forms to complete.
LWD will work with you on this.
Possible Activities List
Sample 5-day program
(Please keep in mind that all itineraries will be different – itineraries are finalized depending on group size, the time of year, village resources etc.)
Individual Expression of Interest Form [Download]– Please send this ASAP to have the best chance at travelling at a time that suits you.
Group Leader Expression of Interest Form [Download] – Please send this ASAP to have the best chance at travelling at a time that suits you.
Application Form, Consent Form and Photography Form [Download] (relevant pages to be completed by all participants). To be completed as soon as possible after your expression of interest has been processed.
Criminal Check History Requirements [Download] (all participants over 18 years must complete in home country and send copy via e-mail to LWD). To be completed within one month of the application.
Child Protection Form [Download] (all participants must complete and return to LWD via e-mail). To be completed within one month of application.
Medical and Legal Form Participants under 18 years [Download]. To be completed and returned six weeks before the UVP Tour.
Medical and Legal Form for all other Participants [Download] (18 years and over). To be completed and returned six weeks before the UVP Tour.
If you have any questions concerning our program or the application process, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org