Virak Chan (Cambodia)
Water and Sanitation Specialist
World Bank, Cambodia
Master of Integrated Water Management
2013/14 IWC Alumni Ambassador for Cambodia and the Mekong Region
Australian Alumni Association of Cambodia - Commitee Member
Virak studied Business Administration and a Masters Degree in Development Management at Cambodia's National University of Management. He then worked as a business development advisor, a researcher, a livelihood project implementer, a trainer, and a project manager for vulnerable youth capacity development. He has worked for private firms, research organisations, government institutions, and local and international NGOs.
In 2010 he was recruited as a Project Analyst at the World Bank, where he was responsible for the capacity building program for domestic private water providers in Cambodia. In this role he found that he faced significant challenges in understanding water and sanitation topics, so he decided to study the IWC Master of Integrated Water Management.
After graduating from the MIWM, I've found that the knowledge I gained has added great value in my current job and in my professional career path, being applicable for current and future demands in the water sector's development.
Australia seemed to me the most suitable place to study water management. It is also the only place that I could have had such a great chance at winning a full scholarship.
When I received my scholarship in 2011, my dream started to come true for my degree and career in water management!
What attracted you to the MIWM?
I was very excited to meet former IWC students and receive such positive feedback from them about the MIWM.
There are growing opportunities in Cambodia in the water and sanitation sector, however, the workforce is quite limited in professional skills in this area.
After comparing IWC’s program with other institutions providing water-related courses, I found that the MIWM has a uniqueness which is very attractive for a practitioner like me – for instance, the practical field studies, customised courses based on developed and developing contexts, and particularly the cross-cutting knowledge and experiences of classmates from many countries around the world.
I am employed as a Water and Sanitation Specialist in the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program. My main roles in this position are to supervise sanitation projects such as sanitation marketing, sanitation financing, and sanitation and hygiene behaviour change communication. I also support WASH sector partners in the development of water-related projects.
How is your new knowledge benefiting your country?
I will use these skills to provide harmonised and holistic insights to the sector and help broaden current thinking to better optimise the use of resources in my country.
I also hope one day to apply these skills in development contexts either in Cambodia or other developing countries.