“Make sure that the impact is as sustainable as possible”

Constantin (left) with Vannak (center) and Roman
Roman (right) with Vannak Pen (center) and another fellow in front of learning center Tonloab
BOOKBRIDGE does a lot – but what does it actually change in the lives of the people we work with? Roman Twerenbold is from Switzerland and works for an NGO that is active in Nepal. Before, he has worked as BOOKBRIDGE fellow at our learning center in Tonloab, Cambodia. In this interview he describes how BOOKBRIDGE has impacted his private and professional life.

Who are you?
My name is Roman Twerenbold and I was a fellow at the BOOKBRIDGE Learning Center Tonloab in Cambodia in 2015 and 2016. I’ve just finished my Masters Degree in International Development and I am working for an organization that supports livelihood projects in Nepal.

How did you get involved with BOOKBRIDGE?
I joined BB as a fellow during my Masters Degree for 6 months. My activities included co-teaching, developing new teaching exercices, promoting the Learning Center and supporting Vannak Pen, the HOLC in daily management.

Which 3 words describe BOOKBRIDGE best for you?
Connection: BOOKBRIDGE connects people from various backgrounds around a same idea. At the same time, people from different cultures and contexts come and work together for a specific project. Personnaly, I have made friends in Cambodia, through Germany and Sri Lanka. It’s a real family! Our bridgebuilder meeting in March was an amazing experience!
Conviction: BOOKBRIDGE believes in the importance of education and the opportunity for young people to learn and widen their horizon. By handing over the learning center to the community and the local Head of Learning Center, BOOKBRIDGE also believes in equality and empowerment to build a society where everyone’s potential is harnessed and fulfilled.
Innovation: Taking an innovative social business approach is a key aspect of BOOKBRIDGE. By combining learning and social impact at the same time, with a growing importance of the private sector in development, BOOKBRIDGE found a new approach to international cooperation.

What are your personal and professional learnings from the fellowship program?
Personally, I have discovered who I am in a completely different culture. I discovered many beautiful things in Cambodia and most of all, I have made friends that I want to visit as soon as possible. Professionally, since I want to work within international development, I gained on-the-ground experience with the opportunities and challenges of daily operations of a community development project, which is highly valuable. I learned that personal relationships are key as well as building on what is already available.

How do you transfer these learnings into your daily life?
When monitoring projects, I am more aware of the eventual constraints and local conditions but also the opportunities to make sure that the impact is as sustainable as possible. In other words, my professional life will benefit from this amazing experience. On another level, I know that implementing change can take time but even if you fail the first time, you know now how to take another look at a challenge.

Watch Roman’s video:

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