by Mom Chantara Soleil
Of their community’s pride and joy, ten high-school teenagers in Angkor Chum district of Siem Reap province have been recognized recently as the firsts in the province, if not the country, for having successfully led a study on the progress in addressing challenges girls face in accessing quality education.
“In particular, the complete child-led process of the study is considered an outstanding example, not only for Cambodia, but also other countries promoting high level of child participation as such,” said Mr. Thap Ky Heu, Monitoring and Evaluation Official in charge of the study.
In May 2014, he added, a new Outcome Monitoring System (OMS) was launched across the seven countries, including Cambodia, Mali, Malawi, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. The more child-centred study for development interventions to address children’s issues have been considered as one of the most accurate assessment tools.
Through a Programme Partnership Agreement (PPA) supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Plan International United Kingdom and Cambodia, the tool was piloted successfully with ten high school goers, half of them are girls, in Angkor Chum district.
“I am so surprised to learn that, the result of the study is widely recognized. It was published in different forms with credit to all of us,” said Khum Douey, 17, adding that at first he and his team were not confident if they could lead the work.
The exercise turned out to be so simple but helpful. Only children know their issues better, ironically, ensuring meaningful engagement of children has been a challenge for child rights promotion activities.
The success accordingly proves to be a breakthrough. The ten child evaluators were officially recognized by the local authority and development counterpart.
Royal Government of Cambodia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on October 15, 1992 and has been supporting all endeavour to promote child participation as enshrined in the document.