Technology is playing an increasingly important role in modern Cambodians’ lifestyles. But along with chatting, browsing Facebook and taking selfies, some people are trying to think of ways to use smartphones to bring about positive change in their lives and communities.
Pol Maneth won first prize in the “Using Technology to Promote Gender Equality” contest with a video produced entirely on her phone, showing that a small device can have a huge impact on the empowerment of women.
YT: Could you please briefly introduce yourself and the competition you attended?
Ms Maneth: I’m a 25-year-old entrepreneur programme facilitator and project officer at SHE Investments. The programme was organised by the Young Women’s Leadership Network and sponsored by UN Women Cambodia and the FRIDA Young Feminist Fund. It gave young women training in ICT with the ultimate goal of promoting gender equality. It aimed to encourage young people to find ways of promoting equality using smartphones. From the group of highly motivated young women who participated, 14 outstanding candidates were chosen to showcase their ideas.
YT: What is the main theme of your video? Why do you think it won?
Ms Maneth: I chose the theme “Women with Economic and Social Impacts” for my entry in the contest. To better convey the perspectives of my interviewees, I mapped out the content of my video prior to shooting it.
Additionally, I developed key ideas and based on these I came up with many questions for the women I interviewed in order to understand their motivation and hear about their actual experiences. By putting subtitles and having better audio in the footage, I was able to meet a high standard of videography. In a nutshell, I think I won the competition because I chose a very inspiring theme and touched people’s hearts, which helped it to go viral.
YT: What made you decide to enter the competition? What were the main challenges you faced in producing this video?
Ms Maneth: I have been very impressed by so many of the women I have met and approached, all of whom have so much potential to offer their communities, yet their stories are largely untold.
I was driven to bring these women the recognition they deserve, and to reach my target audience. The biggest challenges I faced had to do with time constraints and sound problems. I have a very tight working schedule, as do the women who appeared in my video. On the technical side, operating in an improvised environment without a microphone, the original sound quality was quite poor, but I managed to improve it somewhat.
YT: What is your main message for young Cambodians regarding technology?
Ms Maneth: Young people should be willing to explore new things and try to use their smartphones in a more effective way by examining interesting issues that can empower others. If young people want to learn from my experiences, I would be glad to help them.