June 2019

Women and youth in the Chak Commune, Cambodia have limited opportunities to create social change and promote their interests and priorities.  This project, implemented by Assisi Aid Projects’ partner Live & Learn Cambodia, aims to strengthen women’s participation in decision-making processes, community level development, and leadership in the Chak Commune. The project is enabling women to exercise their voice and promote their interests in their communities.   

Advocates for Change 

A Gender Task Force has been established over the last year, comprising 26 male and female members, who regularly discuss and advocate for gender-based issues in their communities. Issues discussed include violence against women and the heavy burden of unpaid domestic work performed by women. Members received training and education in advocacy and gender issues. They used their new skills and knowledge to become examples of change in their community, running their workshops across five villages. 

 

Community Engagement with Local Authorities  

The project has built the capacity of the Gender Task Force members to identify issues in their own communities and become advocates to ensure local authorities respond to the different needs of women and men. In project areas, local authorities have been highly supportive of the Gender Task Force group’s focus on gender in their communities. Influential Commune Council members have invited the Gender Task Force group to attend the Council meeting each month, promoting valuable dialogue between the groups.

  

Gender and the Rights-based Approach  

The project provides practical training on the rights-based approach, to enable the Gender Task Force to develop knowledge on how to assess gender issues across their five villages. Members were then able to effectively collect information from their communities, in order to contribute to a community action plan. Training was also provided on advocacy approaches and facilitation skills, enabling group members to disseminate their knowledge and facilitate workshops within their villages.  

“It is important to have knowledge about women’s rights, in particular about the rights-based approach to help the Gender Task Force committee to participate in local community development processes.”  Ms. Song Ly, Member of the Gender Task Force 

Case study

Van Sela, is an 18 year old member of the Gender Task Force. Before becoming involved in the project, Van was very shy and was nervous when speaking to people. After participating in the project’s training sessions, Van has become particularly interested in discussions on gender issues, and has really enjoyed the role-plays conducted at the Gender Task Force capacity building sessions. She now has the confidence to voice her opinions and participate in Commune meetings. She recognises the project has been important in helping support community engagement and participation. Van has developed the skillset to problem solve and collaborate with others to address community issues. “I think that women can do everything like men, if women have clear goals and objectives.”

  “I think that women can do everything like men”