NGO Forum

NGO Forum

NGO Forum’s vision is that well-informed citizens and civil society organisations in Cambodia positively influence pro-poor, equitable and sustainable development, supported by a transparent and accountable government.

NGO Forum’s overall goal is to ensure that citizens and civil society organisations are well-equipped to contribute and influence policy making and implementation processes for the benefit of poor and vulnerable people of Cambodia. They regularly analyse proposed legislation, providing important feedback and commentary to government and the wider legal sector.

NGO Forum host round table discussions for many working groups made up of other NGOs and are instrumental in actively engaging in policy dialogues, debates and advocacy for the poor and vulnerable people in Cambodia.

Find out more on the NGO Forum website.

NGO Forum regularly analyse proposed legislation, providing important feedback and commentary to government and the wider legal sector. NGO Forum host round table discussions for many working groups made up of other NGOs and are instrumental in actively engaging in policy dialogues, debates and advocacy for the poor and vulnerable people in Cambodia.

Students need to be flexible and resourceful, with good collaboration skills. NGO Forum operate within a highly dynamic environment, where schedules and timelines may change quickly. Students will gain experience in social research, policy analysis, monitoring & evaluation legal research. Activities may include a work-related field trip.

Accommodation: Typically hotel twin-share accommodation.

Activity Timing*: Winter Vacation (June - July), Session 3 (December - February)

Activity length: 4-6 weeks

PACE Units*: ARTS3000, LAWS4052, LAWS8099, MQBS3000

*Please note: unit availability, timing and activities are dependent on partner needs and are subject to change. Not all units are offered each session.

Location and highlights 

NGO Forum's office is situated in the Russian Market (Toul Tompoung) area of Phnom Penh. Toul Tompuong is a rapidly developing space of trendy eateries, gyms, coffee shops, markets and clothing outlets of various prices. Phnom Penh sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers, with an established riverfront that is a hive of tourist activity.

The city has many historical sites that are easily accessed by tuk tuks, including the Royal Palace, Central Market, Wat Phnom, Toul Sleng and the National Museum to name a few. Spotted around the city are Buddhist temples (wats) along with an alluring and abundant cafe culture, clubs, bars and a diverse food scene to suit every budget.

Students heading to Cambodia with PACE International will have the option of participating in a 2 night/3 day trip to scenic Siem Reap & the UNESCO Angkor Wat temples during your activity. The in-country provider Buffalo Educational Tours (BET) will facilitate this trip at an additional cost to your activity cost. The cost will be dependent upon student numbers & will be paid in-country to BET.

Previous Activities

LawStudents focused on researching indigenous land rights and comparing the main modes of land ownership and land use for indigenous communities. The completed research was used for a review of the 2001 Land Law policy that was submitted to the government ministry.
LawA student worked on a research report, providing a review of a concurrent land conflict issue. NGO Forum were able to use this report as a basis for further research and interaction with stakeholders to provide help on this case. Students also visited the local communities who were undergoing land dispute claims.
LawStudents provided legal support to NGO Forum's three core programming areas (Land and Forestry, Environment and Agriculture and National Policy). Students reviewed and made recommendations for policy processes to ensure land security and housing rights for displaced communities contributed to securing land tenure for indigenous people and strengthened forestry governance further improving policy processes.

This decision reflects a similar decision that has been made in respect to Macquarie International student travel.

This means that all PACE International in-country activities (including student-nominated activities) in Session 1 and Winter Vacation will need to be cancelled.

Our students’ health and safety is our primary concern at PACE International.

We understand this news will be quite disappointing and some of you may have queries or concerns regarding your unit enrolment.  Please contact our teams at PACE International, or your appropriate Faculty, if you would like to discuss this further.


PACE International applications are open to all currently enrolled students at Macquarie University. To be eligible you must:

  • Have completed one session at Macquarie University
  • Be enrolled – or eligible to enrol - in a PACE unit as listed in the Partner search on the PACE International website
  • Hold a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) on or above 60* (LAWS units require a LAWS WAM of 70* or above).
  • Be assessed as suitable using the PACE International Selection Criteria

* If you do not hold the minimum required WAM you can apply for special consideration in your application form.

Please note that placements are allocated based on number of places available at the partner organisation, students’ skill set, student preferences and unit requirements. While we aim to place all eligible students, some placements are very limited, and applications will be considered competitively. Please also note that activities and partners are subject to change.

In assessing your suitability, PACE International will review all components of your application including your application form, academic transcript, CV, and referee report. We may also seek advice from your home Faculty, Student Wellbeing, and/or Macquarie International.

If your WAM is under 60 (or under 70 for LAWS), or if your transcript lists Academic Caution or Disciplinary Issues, you will need to complete a special consideration form alongside your application to provide further information.

In some cases, we may require additional information to properly consider your suitability and may invite you to either submit additional supporting documents or to attend an interview with PACE International staff.

Before I apply

  • Use the PACE International Partner Search to learn more about our opportunities
  • Receive academic advice to see how a PACE International activity will fit into your degree
  • Check you meet the eligibility requirements
  • View the PACE International information session online or visit one of our drop-in sessions
  • Read through the Application Top Tips for advice on submitting your best application
  • Review the Example Application Form to plan how you will answer application questions
  • Refer to the Ethical Volunteering Guide for more information about ethical community engagement and how PACE International works internationally.

How do I apply?

  • Submit an online application form during the key opening dates and apply through the Current Opportunities page.
  • Select your preferences for host organisations (if applicable). Please research our partner organisations before you apply.
  • Attach to your online application a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV), your academic transcript and the contact details of your referee

An automatic reference check will be sent to your referee on submission of your application. Once you have submitted your application, you will be notified via email on the outcome of your application.

Application Timing

SessionApplicationsOverseas Activity
Winter VacationFebruaryJune-July (4 weeks)
Session 2AprilSeptember (2-4 weeks)
Session 3JulyJanuary (4-12 weeks)

Activity Cost

PACE International managed activities incur an activity cost. The Activity Cost is dependent on the location, work requirements, time frame and duration of your activity. Additional costs, not included in your activity cost, are paid for directly by you. Financial support is available through grant funding.

  • Accommodation
  • Pre-departure training
  • In-country orientation
  • In-country management
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance for activity duration
  • Field trips
  • International airfares
  • Visa (where applicable)
  • National Police Checks
  • Unit tuition
  • Vaccinations (where applicable)
  • New/renewed passport (where applicable)Personal travel insurance and all related expenses for personal travel and leisure activities
  • Incidental living and travel costs (e.g laundry, transport, souvenirs)

Funding options

There are a range of funding options available to assist you with the associated costs of a PACE International activity. For more information on eligibility and application requirements see the Funding tab on the PACE International website.

Contact us

Phone: +61 2 9850 4473
Instagram: @mqpace

Make an appointment or attend a drop-in session: If you would like to speak to a PACE International staff member, please email us at

Student experiences - Seini Hafoka

What do you study and where did you go on your PACE International activity?

I am an undergraduate student studying Law and Social Science with a major in Criminology. I undertook my PACE International activity in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and worked with the NGO Forum on Cambodia.

What was your role or project at your host organisation?

I worked with the NGO Forum’s Environmental and Agricultural Program. I specifically worked on the Climate Change Policy and Monitoring Project. It promotes awareness of climate change impacts in Cambodia by engaging local and international NGOs, government agencies, researchers, environmentalists’, educators and students. I was really excited to work with an organisation that brings multiple perspectives together to build resolutions that suit everyone.

My role within the Project was to develop a policy brief on Australian climate change initiatives that could be implemented in Cambodia. I was fortunate enough to attend multiple workshops and meetings where I heard the perspectives of other organisations, politicians and members of the community. Hearing from the Cambodian people themselves greatly informed my research because I didn’t feel like an ‘outside’ party conducting secondary research. It was great to experience their input first-hand.

What attracted you to the PACE International program?

The opportunity to experience a new country and its culture whilst earning credit points towards a unit was too attractive to pass. I felt safe knowing that PACE International has been running for years and was impressed by the various partner organisations. Essentially, I was searching for a PACE program that could transform my way of thinking. I knew that being in a foreign country and working with their people would spark new interests in me. I was also excited to work with other students from the University who shared similar interests as me.

What advice would you give a student who is thinking of applying for a PACE International activity?

Jump right in. If you’re certain that you’re eligible for the available units and meet all the prerequisites – take advantage of it! I only considered PACE International in my final year, and I wish I had taken advantage of it earlier. There are endless opportunities for students to experience different workplaces, cultures and people. It is a unique feature of Macquarie because not many other Universities give you the opportunity to work overseas whilst earning credits towards your degree.

As long as you do your research on the country and activity you’re interested in, there’s nothing to fear. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Cambodia was a country that I never thought of visiting before undertaking PACE. I’m glad that I took the chance because I experienced so many things that I never thought I would.

What was the best part of your PACE International experience?

The best part of my experience was meeting so many different people. When you’re born and raised within a certain cultural context, you tend to forget how the other side of the world is living. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a working-class family, so there is a lot that I take for granted. The ability to attend University, earn a decent wage and move freely – it’s something you don’t consciously think about.

When you meet others, who don’t have the same freedoms as you, but are willing to make your experience in another country worthwhile – it makes you grateful. Grateful for the opportunities and platforms afforded to you, and grateful for their generosity and time to make you feel welcome. I met so many wonderful and interesting people at NGO Forum, at my in-country host organisation and within the wider community. We shared our stories, dreams, food, and laughs – and I feel like this was the highlight of my experience because they taught me more than I could have ever taught them.

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