ADRA Cambodia Supports Initiative to Fight Violence against Women and Girls

Facilitators team up with government officials to provide training, create awareness.

ADRA Cambodia, and Adventist Review
ADRA Cambodia Supports Initiative to Fight Violence against Women and Girls
ADRA community training in two provinces in Cambodia seeks to tackle the scourge of gender-based violence. [Photo: ADRA Cambodia]

A team from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Cambodia recently conducted training sessions to help community leaders tackle the ongoing scourge of violence against women and girls. The December 2023 training, led by ADRA’s TOGETHER (“uniting TOwards Gender Equality for enjoyment of women’s and girls’ Total HEalth and Rights”) Project team, enlisted the support of regional authorities in Thalaborivat, Stung Treng Province, and Choam Ksant and Rovieng, Preah Vihear Province, for the campaign, “UNITE! Investing to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.”

The campaign aimed to engage people in conversation by generating awareness and sharing important information about sexual and gender-based violence and promoting well-being. It would do this by highlighting key issues and findings from the TOGETHER Annual Survey and advocacy research on underage girls working at restaurant chains and the relation of sexual and gender-based violence to early marriage and early pregnancy. These are critical areas of focus for TOGETHER, organizers said.

The events conducted in three locations saw a total of 633 adolescents and parents or caregivers (422 of them female) participating in the campaign events focused on 15 villages. According to organizers, the campaign included the support of regional government officers, including Son Sokha, Women’s Affairs director in Stung Treng Province, and Phorn Keo Phon, deputy director of Women’s Affairs in Preah Vihear Province.

The TOGETHER team included learning specialist You Heng Heng, assistant project manager Sem Rithy, and project manager Roth Rumnea. They shared key findings from a survey and advocacy research results on dropping out of school, early marriage, unintended pregnancy, and underage girls’ work. The events were broadcast on local television shows​ through the provincial information offices in Preah Vihear and Stung Treng.

Facilitators also helped parents and caregivers to reflect on the topic by inviting them to discuss some questions. Among the questions discussed were, What are the root causes of gender-based violence? How does the violence affect women and girls? When you see gender-based violence happening, to whom do you report it? And, how can you prevent it from happening in your community?

“Together, we must invest in the prevention of gender-based violence to women and girls,” Provincial Council member Khoy Bunthan emphasized. He welcomed ADRA and other agencies that, according to him, “are always ready to support and fund campaigns such as this in the community.” Bunthan advised every agency to keep working with the community to prevent gender-based violence and share key issues and findings from the Annual Survey and advocacy research on underage girls to create even greater awareness.

ADRA Cambodia is implementing the TOGETHER project thanks to generous funding from Global Affairs Canada. Supported by the ADRA, SickKids, and Salanga nonprofit organizations in Canada, this six-year project will ensure that nearly 200,000 people in Cambodia, Kenya, the Philippines, and Uganda are enabled to exercise their health-related human rights.

The original version of this story was posted by ADRA Cambodia.

ADRA Cambodia, and Adventist Review