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Ribbon HUNDRED 2020
How can we create the change makers and leaders of the future?

Liger Leadership Academy

location_on Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Liger learners are taught to become 'Change Agents', to take initiative through an inquiry process by seeking real-world problems and creating solutions through a combination of project-based, experiential and opportunity based learning.
Jeffrey Holte, Director of Education, Liger Leadership Academy
Imagine you’re 13 and writing a book about the economy of your country, it gets printed and then thousands of people are reading it. The work is very real, compelling and motivating - everything we do here is for real.

Jeffrey Holte, Director of Education, Liger Leadership Academy


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2020

HundrED 2018

Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
4 288
Updated on March 17th, 2022
about the innovation

What is the Liger Leadership Academy?

Why we do it?
In developing countries, a strong education can offer individuals a hopeful future and a chance to make lasting beneficial change in their community. However, in underfunded school systems where few high-quality schools exist, children can have very limited opportunities to develop the skills and attributes necessary to be change makers. Careers in STEM or entrepreneurship can create livelihoods for individuals and positively impact whole communities, but without an already strong economy, it is difficult to fund education in these fields. This means that children from around the developing world, in particular, lack the opportunity to develop to their full potential and communities miss out.

How we do it
The Liger Leadership Academy is a not for profit school that recruits children from various provinces in Cambodia to change their lives and expand their opportunities and in doing so create the change agents for the future of the country. Through a six-year program of project-based, opportunity-based learning and a focus on entrepreneurship and STEAM, students are learning the skills to create change in their own communities and beyond.

The Approach
At Liger, students learn about the world around them by becoming active change agents in that world. The school embodies a design thinking approach, encouraging students to think deeply, brainstorm ideas, plan and implement solutions to real problems. Liger allows for at least 25% of the time for experiential learning off campus. This could include long-term projects such as building an artificial reef off the coast of Cambodia, working with experts and politicians to affect policy change, or even researching, writing and publishing groundbreaking books on the economy, wildlife, geography, indigenous communities, etc. Students are also free to spend a couple days a week on a long-term (1-3 year) research project of their choosing, to fit around their essential learning. Liger students work in partnership with the government to create STEM projects that are not too demanding of resources and money.

Personalized Learning
The learning is truly personalized and differentiated towards a student’s interests, skills, and passion. Every effort is made to accommodate a student’s interests. If a pupil wants to go on a week-long seminar on business start-ups or a two-day course on birds with expert ornithologists, the school arranges this. Students create a portfolio of their best work which is representative of their unique learning journey and personal growth.

Who is a Teacher?
In addition to learning by trained teachers, Liger invites industry experts from around the world to visit the school either in person or virtually. At Liger you will find anything from skype guitar lessons to visiting geologists leading geological fieldwork throughout Cambodia to filmmakers mentoring our students on documentary projects. Working with these and many other international experts means there is no end to quality learning opportunities. The school puts a strong emphasis on Cambodian culture so that, as well as understanding and experiencing other cultures, the children take a deep knowledge and pride in their own country and culture.

The Students
Liger travels around Cambodia and select students with significant potential, based on how they exhibit leadership, ingenuity, creativity, and enthusiasm - not just academic skills. 

Liger Leadership Academy has the potential to scale the program to other countries as we believe the program can significantly enhance the learning for all students. We are currently completing comprehensive documentation of how to develop a Liger Leadership Academy in various locations around the world.


HundrED Academy Review

They create real-life solutions to local issues and have high aspirations. Students are change agents who have make the most of their opportunities.

- HundrED Academy Member

It has a potential for scalability as methodology is being developed now on how to use this model in various contexts.

- HundrED Academy Member
Through a six-year program of project-based, opportunity-based learning and a focus on entrepreneurship and STEAM, students are learning the skills to create change in their own communities and beyond. Liger is based on collaboration, and the way in which Liger uses project-based and experiential learning is replicable within other school contexts.
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

See this innovation in action

Liger Leadership Academy on BBC World News
How a school in Asia is creating future entrepreneurial leaders — by opting out of traditional teaching methods
Cambodian high school nurtures entrepreneurs to create change
Liger Academy launches ‘The Geography of Cambodia’ - Khmer Times
Trader-backed school invests in the future of Cambodia | MarketVoice
Girls Who Code, Boys Who Cook: Cambodia's Future Leaders
Young guardians of the SEA - Khmer Times
A small school in Cambodia is showing entrepreneurship can be taught - March 2018
A Girl From A Groundbreaking School In Cambodia Visited Google - Sept. 2018
Cambodian Teams Through to ‘Semi-Final’ of Tech Challenge - June 2018
Young leaders tackle gender
Jeff Holte introducing Liger Learning Center School | HundrED Innovation Summit
Passion for tech takes Cambodian girls to the world stage


Achievements & Awards

July 2019
Technovation Team Makes the Global Finals
June 2019
The Geography of Cambodia book published by Liger students - 1000 to be distributed to schools
April 2019
University Business Model Competition - 2019 National Winner - Only high school team in competition
March 2019
Liger Marine Research Team - First place in the "STEAM Action" at International STEAM conference
February 2019
Liger students get grant to create first ultimate frisbee league for girls in Cambodia
August 2018
Liger students begin work on launching first Cambodian satellite thus creating the space program
March 2018
Student Business: Journeys of Change Business Launches - a fully operational bicycle tour business

Spread of the innovation

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Develop a project idea
Develop an idea for your experiential project-based learning experience. Ideally, teachers work together with students to determine the best idea for the project. For some projects, the teachers determine the projects ahead of time.
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Deciding Your Big/Essential Questions
Decide the big or essential questions you will try to answer when this project is complete.
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Choosing What Students Will Learn
Decide the main learning goals or outcomes you will focus on for your project.
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Creating Project Templates
Planning for projects is critical. By completing a project based learning plan for each project allows for a greater chance of success.
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Making Meaning With Your Project Product
Ideally, the project will contain a final product or action that causes change or serves a meaningful purpose. If students are working on something real and meaningful they will be more engaged and will learn more deeply.
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Sharation! Sharing/Celebrating the project
Celebrate the project by sharing with others what your students have achieved.
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