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Strengthening Gender Equality  for  Improved Social Protection for Women With Disabilities  

By Sokkan Visal,

Live & Learn Cambodia (LLC) as Linking & Learning Facilitator Cambodia

Amplifying rightsholder groups’ voices with innovative platforms, especially for women with disabilities at subnational levels, was necessary for  the  context of Cambodia where gender equity needs improvement.

As a contribution to improving community voices,  particularly women with disabilities, the thematic workshop on “Promoting Gender Equality and Building Capacities of Women With Disabilities” was conducted by SAORI Organisation and Live & Learn Cambodia (LLC) as Linking and Learning Facilitator assisted and provided SAORI technical support. It happened in Kampong Chhnang province on 20th June 2022. There were 105 community people from 2 districts, and most were the older women, while some of them were disabled. Furthermore, there were 10 technical government officials from departments in-line. This event was publicly posted and broadcasted by online newspaper Kampong Chhnang Province’s official Facebook  BTV News Blog and local revision BTV Cambodia

The meeting emphasised that relevant information sharing, such as policies and other mechanisms on social protection, social services, basic rights of rightsholders groups and so on with them, should be disseminated promptly.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Um Amraroth, Executive Director of SAORI, said,

Reducing poverty by promoting appropriate employment growth and strengthening careers and occupations will improve living standards and ensure access to social service assistance. Furthermore, increasing access to justice and freedom will certainly improve the provision of justice to protect the freedom and personal security of persons with disabilities, especially women and girls with disabilities. Moreover, it will increase participation in promoting the participation of people with disabilities in public life, politics, culture, art, religion, sports, recreation, and other activities.”

 One elderly woman with disabilities representing the participants from 2 districts said, “We, the people with disabilities, requested the government to give us some amount of monthly fund support, in particular the elderly woman with disabilities. Furthermore, public health care should regularly provide us health checks with no any charge.”   

During the event, H.E But Sophy, a provincial deputy governor, said, “She much appreciated seeing this event today. It was a good platform where government and civil societies could work together  to promote gender equity and social protection based on Cambodia National Disabilities Strategic Action plan 2019-2023. This strategy wished to provide full participation to people with disabilities and promote social inclusion”. Furthermore, in a subject to remind government officials joining the event, she repeated the words of Prime Minister Hun Sen that, “As government officials, we had to serve peoples effectively and accountably because we were peoples’ servants, not the owners.” She additionally confirmed that, “We had to put our efforts working together to combat all forms of social discrimination, especially the discrimination to the peoples with disabilities, while our country was living in a peace. I myself kept working to raise funds from our friends and charities to support peoples with disabilities.”

According to Mr. Chheang Chanty, Deputy Director of Provincial Department of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, based in Kampong Chnang province, illustrated that “Our Social Protection Policy Framework 2016-2025 aimed to reduce gender gap in education, to strengthen vocational training and civil service, to widen women entrepreneurship initiative, and to stop domestic violence and sexual abuse against women and children, and to uplift social morality, and so on.”

Based on his summary report, “There were a total of 7,031 people with disabilities living in 71 communes & Sangkat. Poverty was a big factor for our country’s development.”

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