Four CamEd students are developing an app that aims to revolutionise the charity donation landscape by addressing three challenges: lack of information, difficulty in donating, and fear of scams.
The students are working to compete in a Business Model Competition organised by the National University of Management (NUM). The competition is open to students from any university.
The competition consists of three rounds, with 100 teams of three or four students participating. In the final round, 12 teams are competing for the grand prize. The CamEd team, which is developing the Brosar Charity App, comprises Eng Linna, Sim Khyleng, Cheat Yout Vathanak, and Phim Phousovitou. All four sophomores are majoring in Accounting and Finance.
A business model for people in need
Despite the name of the competition, which suggests that the project is for profit, the Brosar Charity App is non-profit because the team wants to make a difference in society by encouraging people to donate more. The funds can then be used to help the 30 percent of Cambodians who are poor.
Vathanak told Kiripost, "There are people living on the streets and in slums. We want to promote donating within society to help them because you know that Cambodians are charitable."
As some Cambodians now have more disposable income and are aware that giving back to society through charity is good for the overall development of the country, they are donating more often now than in the past.
For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Cambodian tycoons including Kith Meng and other philanthropists donated $30 million to purchase vaccines.
Addressing challenges people face when donating
Initially, the team conducted a survey of 120 people from the general public and subsequently, having an on-site exploratory study at six different universities: CamEd Business School, NUM, the Institute of Foreign Languages, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, and the Royal University of Law and Economics.
This was to gather data on youth attitudes towards donations to charity. The team found that three out of four people believe that they have not donated enough, and that a lack of information, difficulty in donating, and fear of scams are the main barriers.
Additionally, the survey revealed that 97.5 percent of participants stated they would like to try using the app, and almost three in four people agreed to the pricing model, which is to charge one percent plus a fixed 50 cents per donation to sustain the app and team operations.
"The profit will be invested back into the charity," said Khyleng.
Through Brosar Charity App, people can donate both monetary and non-monetary materials. Additionally, students have the opportunity to volunteer at Brosar Charity App. This is beneficial for both the project and students because the team can save expenses on hiring staff, while the students can gain experience.
Regarding non-monetary donations, such as personal computers and electronic devices, the team will distribute the electronic devices to third-party charity organisations, such as TeacherTech.
Partnering with other organisations
Based in Phnom Penh, TeacherTech is a free English literacy, IT, and community outreach project founded by David Anthony to provide free learning materials and free education to Cambodian children who cannot afford proper education.
Students at TeacherTech are taught English and digital literacy.
Last month, the Brosar Charity App team visited TeacherTech. Through CamEd Business School and various donors, five computers, and many other learning materials, clothes and toys were donated.
Linna stressed the importance of transparency. Partnered charity organisations are required to submit their internal reports, which can then be read by the public through the app and other social media platforms, such as Facebook.
“People are afraid of scams. They don't know a reliable place to donate. That's what prevents them from donating,” said Linna.
With Brosar Charity App, each charity organisation will be carefully verified by a third party. In addition, reports will be published for donors and the public.
The team also has a long-term vision to seek grants from international organisations.
In addition, the team has contacted many local businesses, such as ThreeBakery, Minimal.leaf, Pho Sovannaphumi, Kintan Buffet, Ten11, Lucky Supermarket, AEON MaxValue, Prime Cineplex, Probowl Sports Academy Cambodia, Songkran Restaurant, Burger BOI, and many more for charity partnerships.
These partnerships will form a part of the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, in which they can participate in charity activities to create a positive impact on society.
The plan is that through these potential partnerships, people who donate through Brosar Charity App can receive coupons or discounts at the partner companies. Another idea is that surplus items that bookshops, bakeries, companies, and markets have, can be donated through the app instead of being thrown away.
Hong Sarou, the owner of 12 different charities in Siem Reap, has decided to cooperate with Brosar Charity App. He said that he mostly receives funds from foreigners, and that if the team creates this app, he would like to be featured on it to raise funds to upgrade the charity.
As the final round of the competition is Saturday, the team is ready and excited to show their progress to the judges as well as the audience because their project can have an impact on Cambodian society.
Currently, the team uses Facebook and Instagram to promote the project. In the future, TikTok will be additionally used to spread information about Brosar Charity App.
Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, with between 17.8 percent and 30 percent of its population living below the national poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and People in Need (PIN), respectively.
For the 30 percent of Cambodians who are poor, they do not have the resources to meet their basic daily needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare because their monthly income is $60. This means that they only have $1 to spend on three meals per day.