Notes from Kinyei vols James + Joel

Expert Barista and IT vols – James and Joel spent a few weeks with our team in early October. Hop over to their blog to hear about their time, and follow the rest of their Southeast Asian adventure.

Here’s a glimpse…

“We are still yet to convince all of Kinyei’s staff that we are not twins. It really doesn’t help that our names both start with ‘J’. Most of the time James was shortened to just ‘Jam’

Our time at Kinyei has been fantastic and it has allowed us to meet so many amazing local people. I’m sure it won’t be long before we return to Battambang in search for some local Kinyei hospitality.”

Angkor Art Explo

There’s an art thing happening in town today and for the next week involving artists from all over Battambang including art shows, parties and a travelling exhibition (on bicycles) through the countryside between Battambang and Siem Reap which is probably going to be amazing – I have no idea how Battambang’s very urban art scene is going to be received in the towns and villages of Cambodia’s less media saturated countryside, but stay tuned because we’ll probably be live blogging it.

Kinyei is acting as the festival HQ for the week so if you need to find out what’s happening where, drop by and pick up a festival guide. Oh and here’s the full program, you should probably check it out.

Startup Weekend Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh just had its first Startup Weekend, a worldwide phenomenon of high energy events where participants get together to choose and launch a business in 54 hours. The Cambodian incarnation was held in Phnom Penh’s Hackerspace – an innovative co-working & community oriented project in its own right – and attracted around 30 participants.

We went down and helped out on a couple of the startup teams, getting a taste for entrepreneuring in the Phnom Penh tech scene, and came back really excited for some similar all-in, collaborative startup events here in Battambang.

The Phnom Penh Post did a write up on it:

This was Cambodia’s first-ever Startup Weekend, a chance for the Kingdom’s future business leaders to prove their entrepreneurial mettle by building a business in 54 hours.

“There are a lot of Cambodians that have great business ideas,” Darren Jensen, Startup Weekend’s Phnom Penh leader, said.

“But for whatever reason they are too worried about executing them. So Startup Weekend is all about actually getting out there and executing.”

Which you should check out before it disappears behind the pay wall.

St 1.5 Cafe marks 9 months

We’re turning 9 months…!

Read on for the highlights of the last few months at the cafe:

Our new look

Cafe and office staff took the opportunity to give the place a face-lift while Justin, Mel and Katie were retreating in Indonesia. The place has never looked so alive, overflowing with ingenuity, and a smart new menu set on a cafe designed blackboard.

Dream team

We’ve increased our staff by 50%! After five months of training up what is now our highly qualified barista staff (really! based on feedback from customers), we had an intense hiring round in April. We recruited some of the best and brightest to learn from our best and brightest. We now have seven dedicated cafe staff, including our newly appointed cafe supervisor – Sean.
We’ve also hired on two part-time Kinyei office staff members who focus their efforts on administrative, accounting and project specific work. We’ve loved having a full and lively office! It won’t be long before we’re going to have to relocate to accommodate the growing project staff.

Team Kinyei in June 2011 - we're growing

Team Kinyei in June 2011 - we're growing!


Temporary experts-in-residence: barista & food scientist

Recently the entire barista team – Sakana, Untak, Sopheap, Sakhey, Sotheareak and Sean – had the awesome opportunity to learn alongside Kinyei volunteers extraordinaire and Mel’s dear friends, Mikey and Ariana. June and July saw coffee making focus groups, hospitality trainings and team building workshops led by the Melbournite team of two, intimately familiar with coffee shop culture. Thanks to their expertise, the Kinyei cafe team enhanced their confidence in communication skills, milk steaming techniques, and smart operational practices. A huge thanks to Mikey and Ariana for their tremendous job in the cafe – and of course for the crafting ideas.

Mikey and Ariana our hospitality training volunteers from Australia

Mikey and Ariana came in June to share some much appreciated hospitality experience with our team

We were also fortunate enough to connect with a recently matriculated food scientist. Erin Hiller, sister of Shannon, friend and fellow Battambangian, came through to fine tune menu items as well as do some cost optimization research on locally available ingredients. Sakana, our resident baker, and Justin spent some quality one-on-one time with Erin. The results? Quality control for our snacks and baked items, and a better informed staff, plus some really fun food experiments to be done – including homemade caramel. Erin commented,

“The staff at Kinyei are extremely kind and welcoming, I think the jokes even started after the first few days that I was there. Hopefully I can make it back one day as it has become one of the top places I would like to revisit and explore more.”

Menu expansion

Macaroons and an old family fruit cake recipe are now available! Check back soon and we may even feature some of the food experiments we’ve been having fun with – eggs benedict and poached pear french toast. Not bad additions to your morning latte!

Other projects:

Soksabike is gearing up for a blow out tourist season. We’re entering a new chapter in the development of a new 2 day community development education cycling tour and just yesterday hosted 20 applicants for an information session on what it means to be a tour guide with Soksabike. A recruitment drive, the creation of a multi-day tour, and potential partnerships with local, national and international businesses means that the Soksabike project has been anything but quiet this rainy season. Kinyei also recently hosted the Pepy Tour folks for an information sharing session about our projects. We’re also excited about a social impact survey we recently undertook to gauge our footprint on the local families and industries we visit.

Peppy visit Kinyei in August

Peppy visit Kinyei in August

A huge thanks to Jan, a Soksabike supporter from Germany who stopped in Battamabang for 2 weeks on his cycling journey through South East Asia to help research routes and stops for Soksabike’s new tour.

Check out more at

Sammaki news –

Sammaki opened its doors to the public with a bang in late May. Over 200 showed up, a good mix from all over – Battambang, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sisiphon. Since its launch in May, the community gallery and studio space has been bustling with people piling in for workshops, Sunday tea parties, lectures, and educational crafting with local youth groups, in addition to the daily foot traffic from tourists passing by. None of this would have materialized without the endless energy of the founding members, and local artists who have come together to make possible the vision for a community space to appreciate and celebrate art.

Samaki workshop

Samaki workshop

The latest news is the exceptional solo exhibit by newly minted resident artist, Bo Rithy. His show, Mother’s Sweat was a tribute to his tireless mother who braved the daily plights of poverty in Cambodia to raise her family. Have a look at the show.

We’re thrilled with the success of Sammaki since the concept of community-run /community-engaging spaces aligns with the core of Kinyei’s vision. We’re especially excited that it’s getting so much traction in the national press. Pretty rad, guys!

If you’ve dropped by the cafe why not drop us a line on Trip Advisor

We’re currently #5 out of 25 restaurants in Battambang

Barista championships and the future

Kinyei staff are honing their latte art skills for Cambodia’s barista championship coming up in October. We’ve also been encouraged by the requests we’ve gotten for our staff to train new baristas in cafes in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

The quality espresso coffees coming out of Kinyei Cafe

The quality espresso coffees coming out of Kinyei Cafe


How can you stay involved?

Have a quick take of our abbreviated Kinyei material needs list below. We’re working to get a comprehensive list up on the site to accommodate the many inquiries we get on how to pitch in or get involved with Kinyei

Our tech list includes

+digital cameras (used or new) with all the photography workshops we’ve been hosting at the open workshop series, our team and the greater Battambang population is increasingly hungry for cameras to help realize their professional + creative ambitions
+computers (used or new) with our expanded team, our computers are stretched across one too many laps these days, we’re looking for a few extra to have on hand, also for affiliate groups we work with who come by hoping to hop on a machine
+quality USB keys – these can be excrutiatingly hard to find in Battambang

Interested in being an expert-in-residence?

We’d love to host short or long terms visitors with skills or knowledge they want to impart to our teams and/or projects. Contact us!

If you have any of these spare please drop them by Inspire9 ASAP

With Kinyei’s growing coworking community, recent photography workshops and new hack night we find ourselves in need of more tech resources!

I’m in Melbourne working at Inspire9 until 3.30pm on Friday, so if you find yourself looking to get rid of any old or unneeded tech items please drop them by Inspire9 and they will come with me on my journey back to Battambang and be put to good use by many grateful young tech savvy Cambodians.

Quality tech resources are difficult to find in Battambang; not to mention the ones that are available are way to expensive for the majority of Cambodians and local organisations. Tech goods are some of the most valuable resources for our work with the community here. They enable the local organisations and groups we work with to share their stories with the global community and access more help, resources and mentoring from the global market.

We need:

  • laptops, laptops, laptops!
  • small handheld video cameras (need a recommendation for best one)
  • digital cameras – a decent point and shoot is great
  • if you want to get something special, we like for refurbished models
  • DSLR or something akin to Canon PowerShot G10 – a compact camera with manual options
  • usb keys
  • old and outdated portable media players
  • phones
  • mp3 players

Where is Inspire9:

9/83 Dover St, Richmond Melbourne (just down from Richmond Station)

Thanks for your support, we will be sure to keep you posted on your stuff’s journey and the awesomeness it will enable in our growing tech savvy Battambang community.


Hacker Space!

qrcode A few guys here are starting up a hack night – basically a creative space for working on tech projects and doing skillshares. If you know anyone who likes to tinker, please point them in the direction of our sign up form . English is not really a requirement, just motivation and a thing for self directed learning!

Battambang gets WordPressing at Kinyei in June

On Monday 13th June Kinyei commenced its first session of a 4 week open workshop series on WordPress with Alexandra Roberson and Seavyi Yonn as the facilitators. It took place at Street one and half Cafe Shop. Many people from NGO organizations, schools, and myself joined the workshop series for four weeks every Monday from 5:00 to 6:30pm.

I think the WordPress workshop helped me improve and learn many things such as, new and up to date technology, blog designs, web site for the Kinyei organization and my own blog posts.

There are many reasons why I attended the WordPress Open Workshop Series:

  1. I can know and learn the latest technology
  2. Create my perfect WordPress blog
  3. Upload images and video
  4. Learn the importance of widgets to attract people who read your blog. Widgets make it easy for viewers to quickly look at the right of page and navigate to most recent post etc.
  5. People around the world can use WordPress and blogging platforms to share their information, stories and activities via text, photos and video.

These are just some of the many important points I learned at the WordPress workshop series.

The Most interesting point that I found at the Workshop

Learning how to upload pictures to your website was the most interesting point for me in the workshop so I’m going to share how to do this with all of you. Uploading pictures is very important for my blog or and organisation’s website. I think that the reader can understand the activity by just seeing the picture and the text description. It enables the reader to make sense of what you’re talking about easily and quickly.

Here are the steps to uploading pictures to your blog:

First, you need to re-size your picture using Irfan view, Photo Shop or other image editing programs.

Second, save it for ‘the web’ to reduce its file size – (this optimises your images for your website by reducing the time it takes to load your image when a user visits your page).

The participants practise upload picture and video

The participants practise uploading pictures and video

Third, I click on insert picture in WordPress and chose the picture I want to upload. I upload picture which I have already re-sized.

Fourth, I select where I want the image to go by aligning it either to the left, centrel or right of the blog post.

Fifth, I like to tell the readers or audience (including Google as it cannot read images so you need to describe it to Google using descriptions) about my picture by adding alternate text, image title and caption to describe my picture.

Using pictures with text description in our blog or website helps attract and hold viewers attention.

What makes for a good workshop learning environment?

Learning is not only dependent on your instructor but also your classroom environment. I think that Kinyei is a good environment for learning through workshops. For example, at the WordPress workshops they had equipment such as a projector, computers, tables, chairs and a white board  that the facilitator could use to present their workshop. Moreover, Kinyei is a warm and friendly place because it has snacks and drinks for when we had break time. They also asked the participants to complete a feedback form at the end of the series so they can learn how to do it better for the next one. I really like this activity because Kinyei can know about the points they need to improve and the positive points of things they did well. Kinyei always pay attention, take care and are friendly to everyone in their workshops and other projects.

Learning WordPress at Kinyei was a great time for me. I learn many things about WordPress. It also gave me the chance to interact with both Khmer and Foreigners through English language. It’s good time for me to practice English and share ideas about Cambodians and Westerners.

See student’s photo contest from June’s photography open workshop

Battambang goes snap happy in May hosting an open workshop series on photography

Thursday 5th May 2011 marked the beginning of the Photography Open Workshop Series at Kinyei, taught by Mr André Vandam. Andre is a freelance photographer who is interested in the history of Cambodia and capturing that history through photography.He start to follow his passion as a photographer and traveler in a couple of years ago. He changed the direction of his career from teaching to photography a couple years ago. His passion for photography has grown into a full time career while living abroad in China for 2 years and now Cambodia. In China he enjoyed photographing many beautiful landscapes. He will stay here (in Battambang) for two years as a photographer with his wife who is a volunteer at the Battambang’s Provincial Education Department.

This workshop series catered to organizations in Battambang needing to up skill their staff in how to take quality photo’s. This enables us to visually share our programs and community initiatives online with supporters and stakeholders.

15 participants attended the workshop series from many organizations around Battambang. Half the participants were foreign volunteers working in Cambodia who brought a Khmer counterpart to ensure the skills were passed on sustainably.

I am Untac, a participant in this amazing workshop and want to share what we learned. I got something that I never expected I would get from this workshop. That is taking a perfect picture by knowing how:

  • To use shutter speed, appeture and ISO,
  • The camera balances light,
  • To use the rule of thirds and
  • many more useful photography principles that we never knew.

For the last workshop session we had a photography contest and I got second place for the photo below. What do you see? This is what I see when I look at this photo:

“While I am sad this picture makes me better. If I am glad this picture reduce it because when I am sad this picture tell me that not only you who sad, I am also. And when I am glad this picture tells me that No… you have to help somebody to get them as happy as you because there are still many people around you who want happiness.”

This is a photo in Battambang along street 2 that I took for the contest

This is a photo in Battambang along street 2 that I took for the contest

Because the photography workshop became so popular, Kinyei and Andre are running another one this month for those that missed out first time round. We still keep practicing and sharing our photography with each other on our very own Facebook Page called Battambang Photography. Be sure to check out the awesome photography coming out of Battambang by following us on Facebook.

Khou Sopheap – New to Kinyei Cafe

First things that I found at the Kinyei Cafe Shop

Cappuccino at the Kinyei Cafe Shop

Cappuccino at the Kinyei Cafe Shop

Kinyei cafe is a social enterprise where the profits go towards Kinyei’s Community Based Organisation Open Workshop program and other community initiatives. I have worked at Kinyei Cafe since early May 2011. I saw a job announcement at the University of Battambang. I felt interested so I applied for a job at Kinyei. After I have worked there, I got the cafe skill that i can run my own business and have developed other skills such as English, communication, the ability to interact with different cultures and work experience in making coffee. I think that the cafe shop at Kinyei is a good place for Cambodian people and foreigners learn about eachothers cultures. We will learn together and share the education. Because Kinyei opened the shop and other programmes, I get more education to develop myself. I share this learning with young people in the community who don’t have a job to do. I use my salary for my studying and social living. It’s a good idea that the managers pay some English school fees for the staff here. So, there are many wonderful things to do at Kinyei Cafe Shop.

Kinyei Cafe shop located in Battambang city, Cafe opens from 7: 00 am until 7: 00 pm, Monday to Sunday. We serve the espresso coffee drinks , tea , baked goods and others such as fresh spring roll, hommade yogurt, fruit, honey milk….We also provide free fast speed Internet.

I have learnt to make a lot of things both drink and snack. The drink I most enjoy making is the Cappuccino. “Cappuccino is very popular for the customers here like to drink it” said by Mr. Sean who is the supervisor at Kinyei Cafe. Here is a video of how we make Capuccino at kinyei. So if you want to try a delicious drink and snack which is served by us, we welcome you to come and pay us a visit!

Sean teaches new staff how to make a cappuccino at Kinyei Cafe from Kinyei on Vimeo.

Kinyei Cafe’s characteristics and specific policies are a very important part of my work. I think that if we don’t have good characteristics, it is hard to work as a team or group. Today, I work at the cafe with Sean, Palla, Utac, Sakana, Sakhey, Sothearak, and Chenda. Our characteristics have similarities which are:

  • Friendly and welcoming,
  • Hard working,
  • Attention to detail,
  • Taking initiative,
  • Willingness to learn,
  • Happy to share what we already know and
  • English competency.
Staff celebrate Khmer New Year at Kinyei Cafe Shop

Staff celebrate Khmer New Year at Kinyei Cafe Shop

My colleagues and I have an idea about the policies and that is to provide excellent espresso coffee drinks, fast professional service and high quality products. So the cafe team really enjoy taking care of our customers with delicious coffee, fast service and friendly smiles.

Working at the Kinyei Cafe shop is a good place for me to learn, share education and culture between Cambodians and foreigners, access learning work shops,and develop my skills. Kinyei bring me brightness life in the future!