Forum for Girls to Learn, Share, Create and Lead Kick-started

by Mom Chantara Soleil

Kimleang, 16-year-old girl from Thalaborivath district of Stung Treng province, who attended the provincial launch of the so-called Girls Lead project of Plan International Cambodia along with her four female and male friends, was thrilled and enthusiastic to be part of the intervention.

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“I am so happy to learn about this new project. I believe that I will be able to gain new knowledge and practice it so that girls and boys in my community can enjoy equal opportunities to help our country, said Kimleang who wishes to become a good doctor.

Financed by Plan International Germany, the Girls Lead is a five-year intervention to capacitate and engage girls and boys as leading agents in innovative process to address gender inequality in Cambodia.

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“Cambodia has made significant progress in bridging gender gaps in various sectors. However, there are still some challenges demanding our joint effort, particularly the gender roles and stereotype,” said Country Director of Plan International Cambodia Mr. Jan Jaap Kleinrensink.

“For instance, girls are expected to shoulder daily household chores. Indeed, 2016 study proved that 98% of girls were engaged in the routine. Also, less girls are having access to tertiary education, and negative perception remains there for girls and women’s in leadership roles.”

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“Particularly for the north-eastern part of Cambodia, including Ratanak Kiri and Stung Treng, early marriage is still common. Domestic violence, limited child rearing ability, weak health as well as malnutrition for both the mother and the children are common among young couples.”

Mr. Jan Jaap Kleinrensink continued that with more than 80 years of grassroots development experience in over 70 countries across the globe, Plan International can tell that Cambodia is not alone facing the hurdles.

The Girls Lead project directly implemented by Plan International Cambodia in network collaborations with Child Advocate Network (CAN) and Young Women Leadership Network (YWLN) will effectively address the gender gap mentioned, he added.

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According to the project owner Ms. Lorn Borrmey, through the intervention, it is expected that girls and boys in 52 child clubs in Siem Reap, Stung Treng and Ratanak Kiri province will learn through a new model called #Champions4Cambodia used to stimulate in-depth, evidence-based gender, and contextualised concept.

They will then share the knowledge attained with their community via live educational and consultation show branded as #BellSound, create collective actions through small grants for gender equality, and lead through role modelling and advocacy at commune, provincial, and national levels – she added.

With all said, Kimleang and her friends who are already part of the child club will be main actors determining the success of the projects.

To learn the details of the project, please click:

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A Good Model of Community-based Social Workers Reflected

by Mom Chantara Soleil

Plan International and partner (Social Services of Cambodia) in cooperation with Save the Children, World Vision and Child Fund has organised a reflection on current practice of a model of the so-called ‘community-based social workers’ – community volunteers trained to provide psycho and social counselling to children.

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According to child protection expert in charge of the project Mr. Ty Sovannary, the event does not only intend to draw lessons to not only improve future implementation, but also to build evidences for government to standardise the mechanism across Cambodia.

H.E. Nhep Sopheap, Secretary General of the Cambodia National Council for Children, who presided over the event here in Phnom Penh applauded the endeavour to put in place the skilled social workers as well as the progress.

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About half of Cambodian population are under the ages of 25. Disasters, remaining poverty, domestic violence, migration of parents leaving behind children, and imprisoned parents are reasons placing children at risks of trafficking, exploitation as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuses, she said.

Latest study available suggests that children still experience violence of different forms by intimate partner, parent, adult relative, or community member. The experience significantly hinders their development and social participation.

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One of two children experienced physical violence, one of four suffered emotional mistreatment, and one of 20 was sexually abused, highlighted the 2013 report.

These said, community-based social workers have been selected and trained to provide psycho and social counselling to child victims in piloted areas.

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Experience shows that communes with community-based social workers effectively help re-integrate particularly severely violated children into their society.

The studies added that there are only one social worker for between 25,000 and 30,000 people in Cambodia currently.

Despite the hard work of the Royal Government of Cambodia, there are some gaps remain, continued H.E. Nhep Sopheap, so skilled community-based social workers supported by development partners play an important role in addressing issues faced by children effectively.

Successful Experiences from ADB-Funded Project Shared

By Mom Chantara Soleil

Plan International Cambodia in collaboration with Ministry of Environment has shared successful experiences and lessons learned from 36-month intervention to mainstream climate resilience into development programme for learning and replicating purpose.

Financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and managed by Ministry of Environment and Plan International Cambodia, the project carried out by 20 civil society organisations from June 2016 to February 2018 benefit almost 57,000 Cambodians (about 52% are female and 34% children) in 17 provinces.

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H.E Sabo Ojano, Environment Secretary of State, chaired the dissemination session along with Dr. Ancha Srinivasan, Principal Climate Change Specialist Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank, and Mr. Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, Country Director of Plan International Cambodia.

Over 100 participating delegates from implementing partners, government and community counterparts, development agencies, private sector and beyond for learning and replicating purpose attended the session taking place today here in Phnom Penh.

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Awareness raising about climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) to over 5,600 children, youth and their teacher, engagement of youths in provincial and national debates on the issues, and support for official CCA and DRR curriculum rollout of schools are among the project’s key achievements.

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Through consultative processes with communities and concerned authorities, it also produced one policy brief on the role of children in CCA in Cambodia, established 20 school vegetable gardens, and improved water supply and sanitation systems in 26 schools – grassroots community climate resilience mechanisms.

From the project, a number of participatory knowledge products have also been developed as guiding and reference documents.

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Former Dropout Rural Girl Carving Herself to the Top

By Mom Chantara Soleil

“Here I am, because of education, I get to know myself better and I am walking the path toward what I want. My learning journey does not end there,” says 26 year old Sim Lida.

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Born to farmer parents in a remote village of Srei Snam [literally mean royal concubine] district, almost 100 kilometers from the world known Angkor Wat temple of Siem Reap province, Lida is now a state teacher at the secondary school she graduated from, while managing to pursue her master degree in philosophy in Phnom Penh capital at the same time.

“These days, I have to catch night bus on Fridays to come to Phnom Penh for my master class during weekends, and return in the evening of Sundays to my teaching during working days at 28 Makara secondary school back at my home town,” she continues.

“I do no regret that I could not make any saving from current month wage of 1,000,000 riels [roughly US$ 250], as I have to continue investing on my education myself, and I am proud of what I am doing.”

From a girl who froze one-year schooling at the age of 8 – because no one from her village was going to the school located about two kilometers from her community, and the path to school was too quiet, heavily shaded by trees and bushes – she is not only a single girl, but also a sole person there who completed university study.

“I was asked and warned that, why I need high education? And I have to travel far away from home for that. I may end up having no one wants to get married with. The query doubted me why it is OK for other young girls to migrate to work in Thailand, and it is not OK for me to travel to the city for my study?”

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“I told myself that I am not giving up. I am overcoming the pressures on me and trying to prove to my world that key value of a girl should not be defined by her ability to handle housework. Because of the preparation of a pot of soup and a pot of steamed rice, a girl should not be deprived from her schooling!”

In terms of livelihood, Lida is convinced that if one goes to school now when they are young, they can run an income-generating business later in life. But if one sacrifices their childhood for the business, it is not easy to go for schooling later on.

“I thank my parents for allowing me to pursue my dream despite the social pressures, and a field officer of Plan International Ms. Huon Sathea whom I respect most, for giving me the means and advice, especially when I was at secondary school.”

“I remember that day, I cried asking my parents to allow me to go to Phnom Penh [the capital city of Cambodia almost 500 kilometers away from my home] to apply for state university entrance example. Ms. Huon Sathea assured my parents that I can stay with her family in the capital. She helped me all the way through, I finally arrived Phnom Penh on the final day of the university to accept application form. I made it.”

Emerging from a leader of children’s council in a remote Cambodian community to supporter of various initiatives to promote girls and women’s role, Sim Lida has recently been selected among the three finalists for the Hear My Voice 2018 award initiated by a high profile Norwegian business leader Anita Krohn Traaseth together with Plan International Norway.

“All my engagement with development activities in my community inspires me to go further. I used to lead children’s council at my school doing a lot of activities not only for the school but the whole community. My friends and I ran an evening English class when we have free time in order to practice our teaching and sharpen our knowledge of the language.”

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During her university life until now, Lida has been part of various women’s leadership networks. She and her friends initiated experience exchanges, community homestay, and beyond – engaging her students, children and youth in her community – the last stronghold of notorious Khmer Rouge wherein complete civil war can be achieved until 1997.

“I am always very passionate about encouraging girls to dream and to realize it. I hope to continue running session to equip practical skill among girls to, first and foremost, know themselves and their potential, know what they want in life, and know how to plan and work out the planning toward their dreams.”

For Lida, the biggest challenge most young girls in remote community are facing is that they do not know what they want.

With this a drive, she finds herself enthusiastic to work with children and youth in grades 11 and 12 at higher secondary school in order to inspire them because, as she says, “knowing ourselves and what we want is a step toward what we want!”

Lida is now mobilizing resources to organise exposure visit among the children and youth to universities, successful businesses and other institutions beyond her community – activities that she believes will help the children and youth to sharpen their dream.

“When I have time I invite resource persons to share knowledge on career planning, financial management, leadership, project management, and the like to the children and youth in my community. These are means contributing to realisation of their dreams,” she says.

Cambodia Launches Milestone Guiding Manual for Child Participation

by Mom Chantara Soleil

Cambodia has launched its milestone ‘Guiding Manual of Good Practices for Child Participation in National Policy Dialogue and Program Development’ – an effort made possible by NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child (NGOCRC) through the support from Plan International and UNICEF.

Grounding on best practices and good lessons learned of local and international NGOs working in child and youth development, this important manual intends to provide practical guidance in applying the child participation minimum standard compiled by the Cambodian National Council for Children (CNCC) since 2014, particularly in national policy dialogue and strategic program development.

“Only the children and youth understand best about their situation. They, children and youth, under the age of 25, make up about 51 percent of the country population. And as enshrined under article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have a right to participate in all matters affecting them,” Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, Country Director of Plan International Cambodia addressed the dissemination of the manual attended by concerned representatives from concerned government institutions, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and youth delegates.

He added that, “Enabling their meaningful participation to have their views taken into account in decision-making, policy making as well as programming will, thereby, contribute vitally to further promote the country’s socio-economic development.”

The assistance of Plan International Cambodia to the NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child (NGOCRC) to compile the manual is financially powered by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (known in short as SIDA) and Plan International Sweden.

According to Hor Kosal, official in charge of the work, in putting together this manual, consultations and interviews were undertaken with key leading stakeholders engaged in child participation. This consisted of children, civil society and government stakeholders.

The principal target audience for this manual are government and civil society stakeholders who are seeking to strengthen child participation in national level policy dialogue and the strategic development of programs. It also aims to be accessible to child stakeholders engaged in the exercise of their right to participation.

 

ប្រតិភូកុមារកម្ពុជាពីររូបចូលរួមកិច្ចប្រជុំពិភាក្សាពិគ្រោះយោបល់ប្រចាំតំបន់ ស្តីពី ការកេងប្រវ័ញ្ចតាមប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ីនធើណិត

ដោយ​ មុំ ច័ន្ទតារាសូឡី និង ហោ កុសល

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ក្មេងប្រុស និងក្មេងស្រីកម្ពុជាចំនួនពីររូបតំណាងឱ្យប្រទេស ចូលរួមនៅក្នុងកិច្ចប្រជុំពិភាក្សាពិគ្រោះ​យោបល់កុមារក្នុងតំបន់អាស៊ានដើម្បីកំណត់ការឆ្លើយតបរួមគ្នារបស់ជាតិក្នុងការបញ្ឈប់ការកេងប្រវ័ញ្ច និងការរំលោភផ្លូវភេទលើកុមារនៅតាមប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ីនធើណិតតាមបណ្តារដ្ឋជាសមាជិកក្នុងតំបន់។

កិច្ចប្រជុំនេះធ្វើឡើងចាប់ពីថ្ងៃទី 7 ដល់ ថ្ងៃទី 8 ខែកុម្ភៈ នៅទីក្រុងហ្សាកាតា ប្រទេសឥណ្ឌូណេស៊ី ហើយ​គណៈប្រតិភូកុមារកម្ពុជាអមជាមួយមិត្តភក្ដិរបស់ពួកគេមកពីប្រទេសពីរក្នុងចំណោមបណ្តាប្រទេសអាស៊ានដទៃទៀត កំពុងរៀបចំកិច្ចពិភាក្សាប្រកប​ដោយផ្លែផ្កាមួយជាមួយតំណាងប្រហែល 100នាក់ មកពីស្ថាប័ន​រាជរដ្ឋាភិបាល​ ភ្នាក់ងារ អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិ និងអង្គការមិនមែនរដ្ឋាភិបាលដែលពាក់ព័ន្ធ ក្រុមហ៊ុន​ឯកជន​ និងស្ថាប័ន្ធអនុវត្តច្បាប់បរទេស។

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“សម្រាប់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា យើងមានក្មេងប្រុសអាយុ 17ឆ្នាំ ម្នាក់ឈ្មោះ បុប្ផា មកពីខេត្ដស្វាយរៀង និងក្មេងស្រីឈ្មោះ វៃ អាយុ 17ឆ្នាំ មកពីខេត្ដព្រៃវែង ដែលពួកគេជាអ្នកដឹកនាំបណ្ដាញតស៊ូមតិកុមារ និងមានបទពិសោធន៍     ជាច្រើនទាក់ទងនឹងកិច្ចការពារកុមារ និងបញ្ហាសិទ្ធិកុមារ”។ លោក ហោ កុសល មន្ត្រីកិច្ចការពារកុមារនៃអង្គការភ្លែនអន្តរជាតិ (Plan International) អមដំណើរកុមារ​ទាំងពីរទៅកាន់ទីក្រងហ្សាកាតា ក្នុងនាមជាអ្នកមើលថែក្មេង។

លោកបានបន្ថែមថា កុមារដែលមកពីតំបន់អាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍នឹងត្រូវបានស្នើសុំឱ្យផ្តល់អនុសាសន៍ និង​សំណូមពរនានានៅក្នុងការបង្កើនកិច្ចខិតខំប្រឹងប្រែងដើម្បីដោះស្រាយបញ្ហាកិច្ចការពារកុមារនៅលើប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ីនធឺណិត ជាពិសេស ដោយសារកុមារគឺជាអ្នកដែលទទួលរងផលប៉ះពាល់ដោយផ្ទាល់ និងប្រឈមនឹងហានិភ័យ​ទាក់ទងនឹងអំពើហិង្សានៅតាមប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ីនធឺណិត។

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ការសិក្សាជាច្រើនបានបង្ហាញថា ខណៈពេលដែលការរីកចម្រើនខាងផ្នែកបច្ចេកវិទ្យា​ជាសកលកំពុងតែ​រីករាលដាលនៃការតភ្ជាប់ទំនាក់ទំនងនៅតាមប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ីនធឺណិត កុមារនិងមនុស្ស​វ័យក្មេងបានបន្ត​បង្កើន និងចូលរួមញឹកញាប់នៅក្នុងសកម្មភាពជាច្រើននៅតាមប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ីនធឺណិត។

ខណៈដែលការរីកចម្រើនខាងផ្នែកបច្ចេកវិទ្យាជាសកលផ្តល់ផលប្រយោជន៍ដល់កុមារក្នុងការទទួលបានព័ត៌មាន ការប្រាស្រ័យទាក់ទង ការកំសាន្ដ និងព័ត៌មានទាក់ទងនឹងវប្បធម៌ ដែលអាចជួយការអភិវឌ្ឍ​របស់​ពួកគេ ​ស្របពេលនោះដែរ វាក៏បង្កហានិភ័យជាច្រើន ដោយសារតែទំនាក់ទំនងទាំង​នេះបើកឱកាស​ថ្មីៗសម្រាប់ការបន្តអំពើហិង្សាប្រឆាំងនឹងកុមារ។

នៅប៉ុន្មានឆ្នាំចុងក្រោយនេះ តំបន់អាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍បានក្លាយទៅជាចំណុចក្តៅគគុកមួយដែល​កំពុងតែ​កើត​មានឡើងករណីរំលោភបំពាន និងការកេងប្រវ័ញ្ចលើកុមារនៅតាមប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ីនធឺណិត ។

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ការបញ្ជាក់ចំពោះនិន្នាការនេះ សមាគមប្រជាជាតិអាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍ (អាស៊ាន) បានកំណត់កិច្ច​ប្រឹងប្រែង​ក្នុងការដោះស្រាយបញ្ហានេះជាអាទិភាពមួយសម្រាប់តំបន់ដូចដែលបានបង្ហាញនៅក្នុងផែនការសកម្មភាពតំបន់អាស៊ាន ស្តីពីការលុបបំបាត់អំពើហិង្សាលើកុមារ និងការប្តេជ្ញាចិត្តរបស់រដ្ឋជាសមាជិកអាស៊ានចំពោះ​របៀបវារៈ​សម្រាប់ការអភិវឌ្ឍប្រកបដោយនិរន្តរភាពនៅឆ្នាំ២០៣០។

វាគឺជាភាពវិជ្ជមានដែលបរិបទជាក់លាក់នៃករណីក្នុងប្រទេសកម្ពុជានឹងត្រូវបានគេដឹងឮ និងយកមក​ពិចារណាតាមរយៈវត្តមានរបស់គណៈប្រតិភូកុមារកម្ពុជាពីររូបនៅវេទិការប្រចាំតំបន់ដែលរៀបចំឡើងដោយអង្គការសម្ព័ន្ធសិទ្ធិកុមារអាស៊ី (Child Rights Coalition Asia) ដែលមានការគាំទ្រពីអង្គការយូនីសេហ្វ (UNICEF)។

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Two Cambodian Child Delegates at Regional Consultation on Online Exploitation

by Mom Chantara Soleil and Hor Kosal

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Two Cambodian boy and girl are representing the country in ASEAN regional children’s consultation intending to identify integrated national responses to end the online child sexual exploitation and abuse in the region’s member states.

Happening from Feb. 7-8 in Jakarta of Indonesia, the Cambodian child delegates along with their peers – two of each of other ASEAN countries – are sitting down for a productive discussion with about 100 representatives from governments, relevant United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations, private companies, and foreign law enforcements.

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“From Cambodia, we have 17-year-old boy Bopha from Svay Rieng, and 17-year-old girl Vay from Prey Veng who are among the leadership of the child advocate network and very experienced in child protection and child rights issues,” said Mr. Hor Kosal – Plan International’s child protection officer acting as chaperone for the two children during their trip to Jakarta.

The children from Southeast Asia, he added, will be asked to provide their recommendations and inputs in the development of efforts to address online child protection, especially since children are the ones who are directly affected and at risk of online violence.

Studies show that as the global technological advancement moves towards online connectivity, children and young people keep up and engage in an increasing variety and frequency of online activities.

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While this is beneficial as children gain access to information, communication, entertainment, and culture, which can aid in their development, this also poses risks because it opens new opportunities to perpetuate violence against children.

In recent years, Southeast Asia has become one of the emerging hotspots of online abuse and exploitation of children.

Witnessing the trend, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has listed the effort to address the issue as a priority for the region, as demonstrated in the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Children and the commitment of the ASEAN Member States to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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It is positive that specific context of the case in Cambodia will be heard and put into consideration through the presence of the two Cambodian child delegates at the regional platform organised by Child Rights Coalition Asia with the support from UNICEF.