During 2006-7 an informal dialogue began between staff in the School of Applied Social Science and staff in the Psychology Department of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) on ways they might work together. A further partner - Roehampton University - became involved and a multi-institutional partnership was formed.
During this time, a British Council funding stream had a call for applications and the partners decided to apply for a joint project. The bid was successful and the funding started in September 2007 and will run until August 2010.
The overall project lead is Mrs Nhong Hema, Head of Psychology, RUPP. The UK project coordinators are Liz Cunningham (SASS) and Lindsay O'Dell (up to August 2008 of SASS, now at the Open University). Our Roehampton University partner is Dr Marcia Worrell.
The project aims to provide an increased knowledge base for each of the partners. In the short-term, the project will contribute to the generation of a Masters programme at RUPP and will provide material to feed into and inform the Masters programmes currently offered at the Universities of Brighton and Roehampton.
The project goal relates to a wider impact - that of the Millennium Development Goals. The UNDP estimates that 40% of people in Cambodia fall beneath the poverty line and exist on less than $1.00 USD per day. Post-conflict issues do not enable them to work productively, to get along with family and neighbours, or solve ordinary problems in a peaceful way. The RUPP has the capacity to train students who will go into the field of counselling and family social work, and also to encourage its staff to do research in areas that will impact individual trauma and the social ills that follow prolonged conflict. The RUPP is the only Higher Education Institute in Cambodia that offers a degree in Psychology. This programme will enable the RUPP to contribute to long-term healing and thus enhance the capacity of people to do productive work within the families and societies.
Outputs will include a dissemination conference in Cambodia and several academic journal articles on the process of working in partnership as well as research findings from joint work.
If you have any questions or comments on the project, please get in touch with Liz Cunningham.