by Mom Chantara Soleil
Cambodia has, for its first time, a national guideline for child participation officially launched today – another move resulted by the partnership with Plan Cambodia and Save the Children.
Since the 1992 ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – according to H.E. Soeung Sarsochetta, Secretary of State, Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training who presided over the event – the government has made possible opportunities for child participation. However, there are still constraints due to limited skill and knowledge to ensure meaningful child participation, especially among adults.
“Thanks to the technical and financial assistance especially from Plan Cambodia, we have now a guideline to ensure fruitful engagement of children in development discussion and activities. I encourage the application of the guideline at grassroots community, sub-national, national and international levels,” she added.
Seven teen year-old Heng, vice-president of Child Advocate Network covering 11 municipality and provinces of Cambodia, appreciates the effort: “The guideline will provide more rooms and confidence for children like me to raise our concerns. It also assists our child clubs across Cambodia to facilitate and measure effectiveness of child participation.”
Led by the Cambodia National Council for Children (CNCC), the development of child participation guideline underwent theoretical review and various consultations with children themselves as well as concerned government bodies and NGOs.
“For next step, Plan will work with CNCC and the NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child to capacitate existing bodies of the Department of Local Administration at commune, district and provincial levels to come up with action plans to well engage children and hear their voices,” said Ty Sovannary, Child Rights Specialist with Plan Cambodia.