In July this year the Intercultural Innovation Camp – iiCamp in short – took place in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The iiCamp was themed: Learn A Language Khmer.
The task was, together with Cambodian students, to develop the content for the mobile Khmer application, which should be used later by tourists and make considerations for their marketing. It was clear from the beginning that it would not be possible to create such an application in just under 3 weeks, not mentioned the sales of the product.

But that is not the real target of the Intercultural Innovation Camp. The main thing is the development of intercultural dialogue, on an equal footing among all stakeholders. Such a dialogue is created most easily via projects and the teamwork of the necessary activities. The selection of the projects for the iiCamp is carefully taken to ensure that part of the tasks can only be implemented by Cambodian partner students.

Many Questions, which were discussed and solved in the iiCamp

What does it take to bring a viable product on the market ? What terms are important and interesting for tourists? Where is the best place to record the language files and which photos are best suited to the individual terms?

Many questions arose, which were discussed and solved jointly. The regular meetings in the morning made sure that everyone in the camp knows about the current state and mutually agreed on the next activity. Already on the second day the iiCamp developed their own dynamic. The project task was understood and was now constantly integrated into the daily routine.

Much was surprising. It turned out that the Cambodians were far from united to know exactly how some words should be pronounced correctly in their language Khmer, because written and spoken Khmer are not really one and the same. With our usual symbols, phonetics quickly reached its limits. How does somebody speak only 24 different vowels of Khmer language, which are mainly formed in in the throat somewhere. This is the reason, why there is no phonetic transcription for this fascinating language available. Depending on the combination of our letters, we can find another way to understand the pronunciation in a kind of phonetic spelling?

Presentation of the App in a 5 star Hotel in Siem Reap

Equally exciting were the first approaches to sell this App. The iiCamp members showed the smartphone application to different hotels in Siem Reap. They received great interest and more appointments. One appointment was done with the marketing manager of a five star hotel. The idea was to give companies the option to advertise in the application as part a payment. If you want to advertise in the application for your own company then contact us over [email protected] youcan-trust.

Now after the camp, we communicate and develop the pictures and voice files associated with the pre-defined categories, via internal groups on Facebook, Excel Spreadsheets and Dropbox. The activities take place among the participants and means sustainability of our iiCamp.

I do not want to miss one second of the camp. Of course, there were situations where it was difficult to find a solution or to come to the same thinking. However, this was an important part of my individual but also our collective development process.

Profits from the application is intended to promote Cambodian students. Because the country is still one of the world’s poorest and jobs are very rare.

Next year the iiCamp will be also in Yogyakarta ,Indonesia. Here we will use our app development and customize it to Bahasa. The theme for the iiCamp in Cambodia in 2013, will be the development of a cookbook with typical dishes from the Khmer cuisine.
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