Kickstarter completion!

Thanks to all who made our Kickstarter campaign such a resounding success! We managed to finish the 45 day period with $10,186. That’s $1,686 beyond our target! The extra funds will support staff wages and recoup unforeseen start-up costs (including the espresso machine customs saga). The support from the local and international community has been overwhelming, even past the Kickstarter completion date when all sorts of in-kind support has been offered.

Looking forward to a great year of Battambang espresso!
Listen to our favourite Battambang anthem!

“What do you want to create?”

Backers, cheerleaders and enthusiasts! Thank you for your unceasing support!

For the last Kickstarter update we wanted to celebrate surpassing our $8500 target  and our 100+ backers, so the Kinyei Cafe staff took the streets to interview the folks of Battambang, and get their ideas about what they wanted to create and achieve in life. Check out the update, and the video by our fantastic team of amateur journalists below. It’s here in time with a mere 50 hours left on the Kickstarter!

Please watch this video and get a glimpse of what people here in Battambang hope to create.

What do you want to create?

Pass it along and help us smash 10k with our final 48 hrs!

Love,
Kinyei

Film crew – Sakana, Srey Pheak, Untac, Phalla, Sean, Enrico
Producer – Justin

How to tie a kromah

Srey Pheak and Sakkana helped put together a guide for those who will be receiving kromah scarves for donating $50 or more to our Kickstarter campaign. The distinctively Cambodian kroma is a ubiquitous, all purpose item that can be worn in many ways, including:

The "fisherwoman" and the "men's working belt"

The “fisherwoman” style sported by Srey Pheak (left), which is worn to help protect the wearer from the sun. Sakkana (right) is wearing her kromah around the waist in the style of male laborers, who use the kromah as a sweat rag and towel for a midday bath.

The daydreaming "market shopper."

Srey Pheak’s introduces the whimsical “market shopper.”
Stylish young people wear their kromahs on the way to work and on trips back to their homelands.

The 'grandma' and the 'rice harvester'

The “grandmother” kromah style is loosely arranged (left), while rice harvesters wear their kromah tied tightly across the forehead.

It should be noted however that this is not an exhaustive list and that your kromah will also make a handy grocery bag, nappy or makeshift concrete sieve, when required ;)

2010 Reflections – collaborative learning spaces and emergence vs control

Collaborative learning spaces like the Phnom Penh Hackerspace, Kinyei, Barcamp Phnom Penh, and unconferences around the world are born of two common realizations. Firstly, people actually want to learn, share ideas and make things together. Secondly, a lot of traditional institutions just get in the way of this. While Hackerspaces generally run with this principle in a very technical direction, Kinyei was started to adapt the same principles to community development, as a response to a lot of the well meaning but suffocatingly top-down and community development initatives you get from large NGOs. Our belief is that groups can self-organize, and that self-organized groups can do more, or at least different, things for their communities than any outside help can hope to.

Kinyei started in 2010 as a facilitating outfit for projects that came to us looking for a sounding board. business coaching, and help connecting with global conversations on their specific issues through social media. We’d just connect them with the people and resources they were looking for. As of the last few months we’ve been setting up a physical space for all this to happen in, which will hopefully grow the community of people doing things here, and the help they can give each other. The only structured thing we run is our popular open classroom: high school kids teach each other email and facebook, something they’d normally have to shell out at phone shops to learn; Travelling volunteers share their passions and groups run sessions amongst themselves on topics from Khmer poetry to child protection.

Next year we’re going to launch a fuller schedule and a few unconferences—barcamp-style conferences where the schedule is made by the participants and anyone can present—to get people excited about using the space as a platform for collaboration and peer-learning. The obvious wins for us have been the sessions that have grown organically out of being available; the basic tech peer-learning sessions have added real value in areas that are clearly important to people, and have cost next to nothing, and there have been a few social projects that have come a long way because they had the space to use to meet and present in.

Our successes have been met with as many dilemmas and questions about how to proceed. One of the main, ongoing problems is balancing between being “open” in a supportive way and being “open” like the park down the road is open. If you offer too much support then you bleed out all the initiative from people that they require to make their projects work. If you don’t offer enough, then why are you even there?

That’s been an ongoing issue that I’m not sure we’ll ever really solve. Every time a scheme stalls here we wonder if we got it right. There have been enough successes though to make us believe we’re on the right track, and as we continue to tweak the process and add fantastic partners into the mix, we’re really excited to see what will emerge from Kinyei’s first year in full operation, 2011.

Justin Lorenzon
Kinyei co-founder