Cambodia is one of the least developed countries in the world. The gap between the living standard of the rural and the urban populations is wide. Agriculture and tourism hold great potential for Cambodia’s economic development, but the former lags behind due to shortcomings in infrastructure such as irrigation systems and roads. Tourism, on the other hand is developing rapidly in Cambodia, but not without negative side-effects. Rural poverty, break-down of social structures during the 1970s’ horrendous rule of the Khmer Rouge, the weak situation in human rights implementation by the government, and wide spread corruption mean that especially children and youth are at high risk of being abused and becoming victims of human trafficking. Particularly vulnerable are people who are living with disabilities. The indigenous minorities in eastern Cambodia are quickly losing their cultural identity and ability to survive as land-grabbing and illegal cutting down of their forests threatens their livelihood.
Key words: Human trafficking, vulnerable groups, advocacy
Implementing partner: Chab Dai Coalition
The project addresses the huge problem of human trafficking in South-East Asia by training local police officers and authorities to recognize potential cases of human trafficking and giving them knowledge and skills to assist the victims and maintain their dignity, and also refer them to appropriate support and care. Police, authorities, and community members together learn about human trafficking and human rights issues in community forums in order to improve common understanding and create mutual trust and cooperation.
The project cooperates with the Government and other NGOs and actors, and advocates against human trafficking on local, national, and international levels, and also participates as an advisor in national and regional processes defining policies to protect victims and prevent trafficking.
Key words: boys, sexual abuse
Implementing partner: First Step Cambodia, FSC
First Step Cambodia is a local NGO launched in 2010, designed to meet the needs of male victims and survivors of sexual abuse and their families, carers, supporters, and communities in Cambodia. FSC works in partnership and networks with other CSOs working in child protection.
Boys First is a unique project in Cambodia and, in many respects, South East Asia. It was established in response to extensive research, which highlighted the lack of awareness of and provision of service for boys and young men who are at risk of, or who have experienced sexual abuse and exploitation.
The objective of the project is that children and youth who have experienced sexual abuse or sexually harmful behavior recover and receive support from their families and communities as well as from professional social services.
The key aims of the project are increased capacity and awareness of service providers within the fields of government, social welfare, medicine, education, and law, to develop their own capacity and strengths, leading to the provision of sensitive and appropriate responses and services for all boy survivors and victims of sexual abuse. The project also aims to increase awareness and capacity of children, youth, and families to recover from their experiences.
The core activities are case support, prevention and protection, advocacy and awareness raising, and training and capacity building within social work service provision and in communities.
Key words: children, youth, life skills, families
Implementing partner: M’lup Russey (MRO)
There are more than 200 orphanages and residential care institutions in Cambodia. About 80% of the children and youth living in the institutions have at least one parent alive. Poverty and an uncertain future cause families to send their children to institutions, hoping that they will have better opportunities there. However, in institutions children and youth are often left without adequate human relations, devotion, and interaction. They become institutionalized and vulnerable to all forms of abuse.
The project goal is to have good living conditions for all Cambodian children and youth in a safe environment with strong family relations. Community-based solutions are promoted as an alternative to residential care and the project works in close cooperation with the Cambodian government, whose current policy also favors community-based care.
Activities include raising awareness in communities and institutions, support to families so that children would not be sent to institutions, life skills trainings for children in institutions and those who have left the centers, peer support, and development of safe foster care solutions
Key words: indigenous peoples, minorities, language and cultural rights, livelihoods
Implementing partner: International Cooperation Cambodia
International Cooperation Cambodia (ICC) was founded in 2000 and is a faith-based joint mission alliance/INGO located in Cambodia. ICC’s mission is: Together we enable the least-served people through enhancing knowledge, sharing skills, and facilitating reflection, in order to build up local capacity, responsibility and ownership.
The project development goal is: Indigenous minority communities in the North-Eastern region of Cambodia have dignity and a mind-set of possibilities to help them help themselves to adapt to a changing context, to advocate for their rights, and to participate as valued and active members of Cambodian society.
The strategic focuses of the project are self-sufficient livelihood, pro-active civil society, and legal justice.
The project uses 3 strategies to intervene in response to the needs:
- Capacity building; to ensure a basic foundation of relevant knowledge among target people
- Empowerment and mobilisation; to ensure that knowledge is transformed into practice
- Advocacy strategies; to ensure that relevant duty bearers are held accountable and take action
The project strategies are based on the UNDRIP and other relevant laws, regulations, policies, and strategies of the country.
Key words: food security, vulnerable groups, livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, water, agriculture, sanitations
Implementing partner: Church World Service (CWS) Cambodia
The project aims at improved socio-economic status of poorest and most vulnerable families in Choam Ksant district, Preah Vihear province, by capacitating especially the women to improve the food security, economic status, sanitation and health situation of their families.
The project is implemented through strong local partnership with community leaders and local actors in order to secure better services and improved living conditions for communities and to promote the equal status of the genders.
Main activities include increasing the involvement of women and building the capacity of the community councils, village development committees and self-help groups on leadership, project management, good governance, and disaster risk reduction. Community women and their families are trained in growing diversified crops that are resilient to climate change and in income generation in agriculture and non-agricultural business. The nutritional and health status of vulnerable families, particularly children, young girls and women, is improved by training in nutrition, safe childbirth, water, and sanitation.
Key words: Disability, youth, children, discrimination, advocacy
Implementing partner: Epic Arts
Children and youth with disabilities are often overlooked in the Cambodian society and find it difficult to access basic resources and services vital for their survival. Main reason for this is the general negative perception held towards the disability in the Cambodian society. People generally believe that disability is the outcome of person’s wrong deeds in their previous life. The disabled persons are perceived to bring bad luck for their families. This restricts their social acceptability and limits their access to education, social interaction and employment, thus paralysing the entire development of the children and youth with disabilities.
The project implemented by the Epic Arts organization aims at the children and youth with disabilities in Kampot districts becoming empowered through knowledge and skills, to live fully in their life and attain their rights. Duty bearers, such as authorities and parents, have an increased understanding of the rights of people with disability, and take an active role in promoting and creating a more inclusive society together with the disabled persons.
This is achieved though improving public awareness of the situation of children and youth with disabilities in Cambodia, using channels such as radio stations and social media. Through leading ‘I can’ -disability advocacy events, the Epic Art’s professional artists, themselves disabled persons, raise awareness and change perceptions of disability in local communities in Kratie and Kampot. Awareness raising through visual arts and music.
Epic Arts also produces disability rights themed art exhibitions, advocacy songs and music video on the life and aspirations of the disabled youth and children.