1. Individual relationships:
The first sphere or “core” is formed around personal relationships, which is the most basic and essential need for all people. In order for RDI to reach the people of Cambodia in a long term self-perpetuating way, we must first have a real love for its people as individuals. For this to happen, a person must first gain both an appreciation and understanding of the language and culture. Because both language and culture are living entities, their acquisition cannot be learned merely from a book; and because they are inseparable, each is therefore impossible to fully understand without knowledge of the other. Only then, through the time of this acquisition, a bond relationship should begin to emerge.
2. Community Relationships:
Our second sphere is directed around relationship with community (a group of people who are closely connected; possibly by work, living situation or other means.) By building relationships within such a community we can reach a status or level of acceptance, which allows us to impact the community and gain a sense of belonging, to accomplish our goals.
After this acceptance a bond of trust can be formed between our families and the native people. Once the people have this trust, then they become open to our ideas and developments and will take them as their own. It is very important during this process of teaching and growing that the people learn how to educate within themselves and build within their own community. By taking time to build such fundamental relationships, you find that you are working with the people and not just providing for them. They, in turn, will be able to provide for themselves in the future. It is our belief that this sense of community can be very fulfilling for us personally, especially those with children, to find contentment in our roles as facilitators of health and education.
RDI originated with drinking water systems, but now includes toilets and hand washing facilities. Water systems and toilets are both tools that can be and should be used, but it should also be realized that they in themselves are only a tool for building relationships with schools or villages. We must be very careful on how and where we place these systems so they are not viewed as a gift to a single person or group. These should be placed so they are viewed as community property and the community is responsible for maintenance. Generally in our area we have targeted schools and relationships with schools and students as a bridge to share further education.
3. Provincial Relationships:
Sphere 3 in our circle deals with district/provincial level. We believe it is impossible for us to reach everyone in our district and province personally. We believe it is our responsibility to reach this target group by a variety of methods. One way we are accomplishing these goals is by using our children’s health and hygiene program in area schools. We have learned that parents listen and learn from young children in this culture and that communication deteriorates significantly as a child’s age increases. We also believe parents have a desire to learn from their children, as many were never given an opportunity to attend school. Those things presented in a unique manner (puppet shows and similar dynamic presentations) are especially being carried home and shared with the family.
Our educational program also produces a sense of good will in the community towards our organization. When the people understand that we are trying to freely show them the basics behind a better lifestyle, they express a desire and openness to learn more. We have spent a great deal of time developing and field testing our programs. We have approached it ourselves with a desire to learn and improve our program in hopes that some day others will adopt not only our approach, but a similar desire to explore, change, and improve the program to fit their target peoples. We see that it is only through others carrying on their learning to even more people that all in a district or province might be reached.
4. Serving the Country:
Final Sphere is defined as country. This sphere is much like the last one but our ability to have personal contact is very limited. In the final sphere we can only hope to develop media tools with the same general intent as in the last sphere, raise awareness of a better lifestyle and health education. The media tools we have developed generally are audio and visual in form. (The majority of Cambodians are still limited to oral forms of information processing. We believe written material is not really effective in Cambodia. We do believe change is occurring in some segments of the population especially groups found in urban areas. Materials should be developed for these groups, but this is low priority in our present overall strategy.)
Once again at this level we have no designed program or plan to bring people instantly into better living standards. It will be a process through education, cooperation and understanding of a community as a whole built from a core, the central sphere of personal and community relationships.
Anything developed for the larger sphere i.e. videos, music, etc. should and does have use for training and sharing with the inner spheres and full advantage should be taken of it.