A Conversation with Phoury Bun

Author: Tinaishe Maramba

In an interview with SHARE (Supporting Holistic & Actionable Research Education)’s Tinaishe Maramba, Phoury Bun spoke about “capacity exchange,” transferring skills, knowledge, and resources between organizations and countries. As a research associate at the Cambodian Development Resource Institute (CDRI), Bun’s work involves partnerships, collaboration, and the mutual exchange of expertise. 

Phoury Bun

CDRI is Cambodia’s top independent policy research institute that “provides services to the public to enhance human resource development in Cambodia and the undertaking of research and analysis to contribute to the formation of policies and strategies for the country’s sustainable development.”

CDRI has been central in shaping and influencing Cambodia’s development, training officials at all levels to negotiate and manage its international aid effort since the signing of The Paris Peace Agreements in 1991, which established the creation of a free and fair democratic nation based on the rule of law and the protection of human rights. The settlement led to the end of decades of civil war.

CDRI works to achieve its mission in partnership with Cambodian public institutions, civil society, and international development partners, with respect for the value of local knowledge and experience. It undertakes projects in collaboration with international partners, like SHARE, a cooperative agreement between USAID and the University of Notre Dame’s Pulte Institute for Global Development that advances global education priorities to improve learning outcomes.


Describe your experience with capacity exchange activities between CDRI and the University of Notre Dame.

Since partnering with Notre Dame’s SHARE project at the start of 2022, we have embarked on a study called LIBROS (Learning to Improve Books Resource Operational System) to ensure children access to books as they develop as readers. In addition to collaborating on supply chain research, we focused on capacity-building and knowledge-exchange activities. The CDRI team and I participated in training sessions on crafting practical policy recommendations and how to use Google data visualization techniques and outcome mapping monitoring data to identify effective strategies to engage practitioners and policymakers with our research projects.

Recognizing that not all CDRI team members could participate in every activity, we created a “Pause and Reflect” session to regroup later and share critical insights and lessons learned. 

Tell me about your overall experience with the capacity exchange activities.

It was such an eye-opening and fascinating experience. I learned and shared different perspectives and approaches regarding our work with my team, especially regarding research. It also helped us reflect on our current practices, goals, and aspirations. Our involvement inspired our team to implement systems thinking making decisions looking at the fullest picture available. We are now able to take a holistic approach to problem-solving, considering how systems work and how to better improve them.

Our participation in SHARE’s capacity exchange activities helped us be more intentional and mindful of the policy recommendations we are working to generate. Before, most of our requests were a little too general and only geared toward the government and other stakeholders who develop and implement policy. The activities have helped us look at other partners to help us generate more actionable and targeted recommendations.

Do you have any recommendations for SHARE regarding improving our capacity exchange activities to yield more benefits for you and your organization?

One area for improvement would be the timing of identifying capacity-building priorities for local partners. These activities usually come six months or even a year into the project. Introducing capacity-building priorities earlier, possibly during the project inception phase, would make the process more effective and beneficial for everyone involved.

Cambodia Workshop
Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) and SHARE Capacity Exchange Workshop