Charlotte MÜller
Intern(Main Focus on Gender Democracy)

I am now looking back at my three months internship at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Cambodia. I came here, because I was interested in the work of a foundation in general. I was also curious to know, what it means to work in the Development Corporation and to learn more about the beautiful and exciting country Cambodia.

One of my main projects was in helping to research about the garment industry in Cambodia, comparing the country's industry with its competitors in the region such as China, Bangladesh or Vietnam.
I searched and collected information regarding the sourcing criteria of global clothing buyers and how Cambodia’s garment industry remains competitive in the global clothing value chain.  The research process also led me to write a short paper of what I had investigated.

Besides my research, I attended at several meetings with for example partner organizations and other NGOs and I participated at some events such as the Green Night at the Meta House or the launching of a film about Cambodia’s forest (“Our forest – our future”).
I was also able to visit the radio program of our partner organization, called "Women's Voices, Women's Choices".

Aside from gaining insight into the two programs “Gender Democracy” and “Resource Governance”, I also learned much about the brutal Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia, by visiting the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and participating at a launching of a research about forced pregnancy during the Regime.

By working on the ‘Gender Democracy’ program I got a better understanding of the situation of women, especially garment workers, in contemporary Cambodia. Moreover, I learned a lot about the fast-developing country Cambodia and the problems that come along with it. Last but not least, by getting into the network of the foundation, I understood much more about the role of the HBF Cambodia within the Development Corporation.

When I arrived in Phnom Penh I found a flat within four days through the Facebook page “Phnom Penh Housing”. In the beginning I had to get used to the busy traffic – riding a bike between a lot of motorbikes and cars was quite an adventure sometimes. 
Phnom Penh is a fascinating city to live in, where there is always something going on. Besides all the markets, the Royal Palace, the Killing Fields and the S-21 Museum, I sometimes went to events at the German-Cambodian cultural center “Meta House”.

My time at the Heinrich Böll Foundation has spun away and I feel that I have gained a lot of experience that I would never have had as a tourist in Cambodia or outside of the foundation. The time I have spent working at the HBF have been thoroughly rewarding and I thank all the staff for so warmly accommodating me.