Voice.Global website

Celebrating Innovative and Inclusive Impact at Voice@8: The Power of Inclusion


by Voice Cambodia Linking & Learning Team


Voice in Cambodia's closure event: The Power of Inclusion
Voice in Cambodia’s closure event: The Power of Inclusion


On the 5th of April 2023, Voice in Cambodia, operated by Oxfam in Cambodia, in collaboration with Live & Learn Cambodia, the country Linking & Learning Facilitator, organised the closure event for the Voice programme after eight years of impact and collaboration with grantee partners and rightsholders. It spotlighted the successes of Voice in Cambodia with the theme of “The Power of Inclusion” at Hotel Cambodiana, Phnom Penh.

This extraordinary event was an event for everyone to join to see the fantastic works of the grantee partners and rightsholders, and for everyone to participate, learn and connect. The event comprised of a market fair with booths from Voice grantee partners, simultaneous unconferencing sessions on three different topics such as learning sign language, drawing your feelings out, and screening a story of the indigenous communities in Cambodia.  


One of the grantee partners' booths in the market fair
One of the grantee partners’ booths in the market fair


A film screening session focused on stories of indigenous peoples
A film screening session focused on stories of indigenous peoples


It was followed by the formal event to officially mark the end of the Voice programme. There was an opening performance of a Khmer traditional New Year dance called “Trod” by an Indigenous community. This was followed by a fantastic welcome remarks by Chairperson of the Board of Live and Learn Cambodia, a short video message from His Excellency, Remco Johannes van Wijngaarden, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Kingdom of Cambodia, and a message by the National Director of Oxfam in Cambodia addressing the efforts of the Voice team and the hard work of the grantee partners who implemented amazing projects. There was also a storytelling session with two amazing individuals whose lives were impacted by their Voice projects.  


Together, let’s create a world where everyone feels included, supported, and empowered to project their unique voices,” said Socheata Long (she/her). 


A huge number of people joined us in this section for the whole day event. The hall was filled with more than 100 people, including grantee partners, public audiences and government officials.  


Panell discussion on “Our journey toward the power of diversity and inclusion!” where five speakers from the five rightsholder groups were invited to share
Panel discussion on “Our journey toward the power of diversity and inclusion!” where five speakers from the five rightsholder groups were invited to share


The highlight of the formal event was the panel discussion on “Our journey toward the power of diversity and inclusion!” where five speakers from the five rightsholder groups that Voice works with came on stage to share their challenges, lessons learned and impactful changes they saw after implementing their project through the Voice grant. One of the speakers, Thida Kuy, the co-founder of LoveIsDiversity, shared that:


“The Voice-funded project has elevated LoveIsDiversity’s internal team as this is the first grant our group received, and it pushes us out of our comfort zone in a good way where we learned about standard operating procedures for our groups and get us ready for future fundings. Besides that, we also see a lot of positive changes. For example, our audience sends messages to our page saying that our page creates a space for them to be themselves, while some even tell us that we have saved their lives.”  


The panel discussion highlighted the impact of the innovative and inclusive approach of the Voice’s grantee partner. At the same time, as shared by one of the speakers, Mrs. Chhoun Narom from the ARV Users Association, one of the activities of their project hit two birds with one stone:


“As the group that we work with are people who live with HIV, one challenge they have is that they are not confident with themselves due to the stigma that society gives them. To combat this, we created a peer-to-peer support group that allows our community to share support and create a safe space for them to connect. Later on, we brought them to local authorities and have them voice out their concerns. Not only did they gain confidence from speaking with local authorities, but they also had their issues heard from the local authorities and found solutions together.”  


An impactful message was also shared by Mrs. Nika Tath, founder of Nika’s Seeing Hands Massage Therapy Center:


“Before asking for others to support us we have to support ourselves. First, we have to believe in ourselves that we can do it, and with that internal belief and the support of others, no matter what our backgrounds, we can achieve anything.” 


Towards the end of the panel discussion, Mr. Lorang Yum, Coordinator of The Cambodia Indigenous People Alliance, shared an important note on inclusion in an indigenous community and how it is about recognition and respect. It means two things:

1) Indigenous peoples are included, for example, in decision making; and

2) Indigenous peoples with disabilities and indigenous women are included. Recognition means formal recognition by the government of indigenous rights. Respect is more about implementation or practice.


La Chhouk during their fabulous performance
La Chhouk during their fabulous performance


To spice things up, the formal event ends with two amazing performances by La Chhouk, featuring diverse models and their beautiful and encouraging ending message for our audience:  


Helping Older People is helping yourself today and in the future! 

Older People deserve free health care and social pension from the government! 

Love your children as they are!  


This is followed up by the 2nd performer, KESORRR, which features the remarkable song Me You and Us. We should celebrate the diversity of the rightsholder groups’ culture and speak out about the empowerment we have in ourselves to stand firm and fight for what we believe in.  


Participants enjoyed danced to the tune of  "Me You and Us" sung by Kesorr
Participants enjoyed danced to the tune of “Me You and Us” sung by Kesorr


Wrapping up the formal event, we moved to the outdoor space with the market fair booths of Voice grantee partners. In this evening’s agenda, theywere able to network with each other, exchange contacts and most importantly celebrate each other’s works over the past eight years. Toward the end of today’s celebration, Voice gave out certificates of appreciation to all the grantee partners in recognition of the hard work they have given to create a more inclusive Cambodia.  


Ishita Dutta, Voice's Global Programme Manager, shares her closing message to everyone
Ishita Dutta, Voice’s Global Programme Manager, shares her closing message to everyone


“Although this may be the end of the road for Voice in its current iteration, your crucial work to build just and inclusive societies is far from done. We will continue to work together and explore how we can contribute to enhancing the sustainability of your projects and organisations.”  


“Time to test YOUR power and YOUR will to create a responsive and inclusive society.”

With that, we can conclude that the celebration was full of connection and love!


Watch our wonderful event highlights here:


Voice is committed to providing safe spaces filled with integrity and respect for ALL people as well as for financial resources.

Click here for more information on our Whistle-blower policy & Procedure