Meet Marie Rousteau…

How volunteering in Cambodia can help me realize my dream

Marie Rousteau at Siem Reap Food CoopMarie Rousteau has a Bachelor in Business, a Master 1 in Project Engineering in Solidarity and Social Economy, and is just about to finish her Masters 2 in International Fair Trade at the University of Toulon in France. With a passion in biological food, social economy and fair businesses, Marie decided to offer her service at a start-up food cooperative in Siem Reap, Cambodia. She has just arrived to town and we had a chat with her to get her first impression.

Marie, why did you decide to apply for this volunteer position?

I’ve been working every summer since I was 18, and I’d previously done two internships, so I know what it is to work! Marketing and communications interest me because I love to write, especially when it’s for organizations like Food Coop. But it’s not only about that! I also like to be creative, and I’m always interested in new opportunities that challenge me. I’m aware that I’ve never had an experience focused on marketing or communications (I never really had the opportunity) but I’m keen to learn, and I want to learn in a cooperative where solidarity is the main principle and where everybody has the right to be heard!

So what is your internship project all about?

Food Coop was funded in 2016 by a group of social entrepreneurs who wanted to make healthy options and affordable food available to everyone. During this three-month summer internship, my mission is to help them develop new communication and marketing strategies, as well as come up with ideas on how to get more potential customers to visit the shop through social media and marketing. I would also like to improve the partnership and trust between the cooperative and its partners, including local farmers and producers.

How this project is going to help your future studies and career?

I’ve been studying related subjects for a few years, but I never got the chance to make use of my knowledge in real life, so it’s become my first motivation to discover the relevant tools and implement what I already know! Secondly, my dream is to open a touristic and ecological farm. It’s one thing to learn how to take care of a business, but it’s a whole other challenge to let people know about the business through clever marketing and other means of communication. Through this project I really simply hope to use my creativity, learn to be efficient in my work, gain a rich experience in the end and come back with a lot of skills!

How is your daily life at the Food Coop?

I come to work on my bicycle, since it’s just a ten-minute ride from my apartment. I spend the day at the shop with the staff and customers, and I’m currently at the stage where I’m still very much just observing and taking notes on how the food co-op works. I often have meetings with farmer partners and the founder. My working hours are flexible, as I like to be involved in all the initiatives and events that we run to raise awareness on sustainable food and recycling activities.

What will make your internship successful?

I would consider my internship successful if at least one of my new ideas are implemented and remain implemented by the time my internship is complete.

We look forward to hearing Marie’s thoughts again at the end of her three-month internship. We thank Marie and wish her the very best of luck!