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Our Vision

“The RDI team is driven by compassion to help reduce poverty by developing and implementing unique resources and appropriate technologies to empower communities towards sustainable change.”

RDI-Cambodia is a U.S.- Registered, Private, Non-profit, Organization working internationally. We are dedicated to serving the people of Cambodia in dynamic ways. Through numerous ambitious projects RDI has combined technology, education, and heart in order to help the people of Cambodia. While each project stands independent in its own right, the entire range of projects form a unique and strong outreach program that can only exist as a sum of all its parts. RDI is truly unique in this fashion and continues to receive accolades from its colleagues, benefactors, and local and regional governments. If you want to learn more about how the various projects work together, read on.

The RDI Strategy (overview)

How it works:

The core of the strategy is based our (RDI’s) relationships with the Cambodian people. By living in villages and getting to know the local people, personal bonds are created. Friends are made. Some friendships form into partnerships for work on other projects. Other friendships result in a simple, deep, and necessary love for the people that we are ultimately serving.


Outside of this important core, various projects are used to serve the immediate community that our team lives in. While gardening and raising animals as well as working side by side and teaching friends in the villages, we are able to meet needs while education takes place. However, this isn’t uni-directional education; we are indeed reaching and teaching the local community members, but in that process we simultaneously continue to learn more intimately about the Cambodian people, their culture, and their values. This is a key element for us, here at RDI, because it is this ongoing education about the people of Cambodia that allows the scope of our strategy to more accurately serve on the larger community level.

On a larger scale, the community is served by technology improvements. When we are asked to help install a water system at a school, or build toilets or sinks, we take the opportunity to offer our education program to the schools as well. This adds an additional personal touch. As the weeks and months of continued relationship building with the school goes by, we can better gauge the needs of the community. We get to know the school staff and families in the community. Wells may also be installed. From there, we have earned the trust to begin educational story-telling. We also have chances to show our educational films and short programs (that were initially designed for even larger scale use,) at the local level.

On the national level our studio produces TV and radio programming that is released on national television, radio and into the local marketplace. As stated above, various studio projects are developed and released on the local community level as well.

On the international level, we utilize help from individuals and groups who volunteer to assist RDI. During these short term trips many people understand and commit to the vision RDI has developed. In fact, many of the current fulltime RDI staff joined RDI after a short term trip to Cambodia. Ideally, RDI can grow and raise awareness about Cambodia and its neighboring countries by employing the efforts of short term teams. This allows our organization to be a vehicle for other individuals and outside organizations to help Cambodia and her people.

An example of the whole project:
Ideally RDI can most improve the quality of life for Cambodians when all of its projects are working together in harmony.

RDI visits a community and meets with village leaders. We propose a rain water harvesting tank and drinking water station project at the village school. Generally speaking, this is proposal is warmly received (if RDI hasn’t already been approached with a request from the community) As the water projects in the area begin, relationships with the community leaders are formed. RDI begins water and health education in the classrooms of the school. The education continues to the families of the community when the we introduce educational karaoke, films, and other live performances and storying. As new health concepts are taught, individuals with particular needs tend to become apparent and our medical staff can attend to those who need our help. By this time, bathrooms, water tanks, water filtration and drinking stations are implemented at the school and RDI has established relationships that allow us to begin agriculture and larger scale community farming projects. By teaching farming, to those with financial needs, further needs are met. Of course, all of these different techniques are approached with the idea that we are implementing sustainable change to the health and economy of the village, and as a result the process is slow and methodical and only successful after building trusting relationships with the people of the community.

In this particular example these things have happened:

1. A village has clean well water and bathrooms at its schools.
2. All the children have been taught by RDI workers.
3. Homes will have opened up for story method education.
4. RDI produced education and entertainment movies have been shown in the community.
5. RDI will have earned the trust of the village leaders.
6. Individuals within the community have worked on most of the projects and feel a sense of ownership.

(7.) In many cases individuals can begin new methods of making a living by learning the RDI farming techniques.

By this holistic approach RDI ends up with a project that is ongoing. It also figuratively (and in some cases quite literally) teaches men to fish without giving a man a fish.

for further information:
Detailed Sphere Strategy for the RDI Project

RDI has a plan for helping the people of Cambodia. This plan is being realized through a holistic strategy. By “holistic” we mean that it approaches “helping Cambodians” as a multi faceted “whole” and complete strategy that is a sum of all its parts; each part dependent on the others.

For example: Introducing technology is ineffective with realistic education. Education is unlikely to be absorbed without trust. And trust is hard to acquire without a genuine love for the people whom we wish to teach.(And it goes on and on: Technology that is merely given away may hold no value to the community. If the community earns, purchases, or builds the technology it is likely to be regarded as “valuable.” However, if the community cannot afford the technology, then the community may need education to build up it’s own economy or the technology may require locally available materials in order to be sustainable in the long term.)

This strategy is based on the idea that our work will be most effective if is based on building fundamental relationships with people. That way, our organization can work with the people and not just providing for them. In turn, they will be able to provide for themselves in the future.

The strategy for our work here in Cambodia is based upon a concentric circle concept and the level of involvement is directly related to the positions within the sphere.

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.