Poverty Reduction among Youth – Development of Youth Volunteers’ Skill Sets for Increased Employability

Pilot initiative on expanding volunteerism in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Photo by UNV Cambodia


This project contributed to the creation of decent work opportunities for Cambodian youth through skills development and volunteerism. It implemented volunteer programmes focused on developing transferable skills of youths, who were matched with volunteer placements and were able to pursue paid opportunities after the programme. It facilitated skills training and accreditation of youth and provided tools to engage in social entrepreneurship. In addition, the project contributed to building the capacity of the Government of Cambodia in implementing mechanisms to manage volunteers and enhance cooperation with the private sector, civil society and academia.

Lessons learned


Building on the success of the implementation of the project, MoEYS has already committed, with a budget of $85,450, to the implementation and expansion of the Volunteer for My Community (VMC) programme from 12 to 18 provinces. UNV and MoEYS are coordinating memorandums of understanding with a variety of stakeholders, including universities, organizations involving volunteers and the private sector to implement a new framework to be piloted with VMC volunteers in 2020 and beyond.

To improve the understanding and recognition of soft skills gained by young people through volunteerism, standard soft-skill training modules and assessment tools will be finalized, which will also ensure a standard quality of soft-skill training across youth volunteerism programmes. To further improve the recognition of volunteerism and soft skills by employers, MoEYS, with UNV support, will continue to develop a framework for the skill recognition and transfer of youth volunteering work. 

Way forward


MoEYS officials demonstrated increased understanding and capacity in supporting and managing various youth volunteering programmes. Given the ongoing need for capacity-strengthening opportunities, the project team delivered training and orientation on the topics of project management, volunteer management, resource mobilization, result reporting, monitoring and evaluation to youth-centre staff and other MoEYS officials in the target provinces.  

Since the project lacked an overall communications strategy, a more coherent communication policy and outreach materials were created to boost the visibility and awareness of the volunteers’ platform. 

Results Highlight


  • Over 8,100 young people (58% female) from 25 provinces increased skills in community-based entrepreneurship development.
  • The National Guidelines on the Support and Coordination of National Youth Volunteers in Cambodia were finalized and adopted by MoEYS.
  • Public-private partnerships for volunteerism and acquisition of transferable skills were fostered, which resulted in the creation of a total of five partnerships with Voluntary Service Overseas, WEduShare, the International Labour Organization, the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia and the Cambodian Scouts.
  • Three pilot initiatives on expanding volunteerism are being successfully scaled up from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport by incorporating them into its national youth volunteering programme called Volunteer for My Community. The Ministry has planned to roll out this programme into six more provinces, with the objective of expanding it into all 25 provinces of the country.

Key features


Youth and youth organizations


Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS); Cambodia Volunteering Network; United Nations Volunteers (UNV)




July 2017-March 2020

Mostly contributing to

“Through volunteerism, the UNV-IBSA project provided additional opportunities for Cambodian youth to build skills, exchange expertise and improve employment opportunities. Importantly, it is contributing to closing the gender gap by building the skills of women and girls with less access to formal education.”
Ms. Alexandra Solovieva – Chief, External Relations and Communications Section, UNV