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Two Teams, One Vision

We have something exciting to share with you!

We are the Meaying Houamjai Phathana Association (MHP) team, reflecting on our two-day exchange visit to Phnom Penh and Kampong Chhnang in Cambodia which we made on 30 & 31 October 2019.

Allow us to introduce ourselves: MHP implements the project ‘Ethnic Youth own Action Research in Bokeo’ as part of an Innovate and Learn grant in Laos. The project strengthens the capacity of youth for community development. Other areas look at testing and scaling up positive change approaches that enhance the abilities of MHP in providing a voice to rural and ethnic youth, with a chance to identify and document the important issues in our communities and make a greater impact with the support of social media and smartphone technology.

One of the highlights of the exchange visit was visiting LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, Intersex, and Queer/Questioning) couples and the Bophana center, through the support of the Cambodia Linking and Learning Facilitator; This Life Cambodia. Bophana Center is a leading organisation that collects archival photographs and historical voice and event recordings from around Cambodia, offering free access to the public. Most importantly, Bophana Center trains and supports young Cambodian filmmakers in broadcasting and new media, and are professionals in producing media with the highest quality and capacity.

On the first day of the exchange visit, we met with LBGTIQ couples from CamAsean to gather knowledge on how to collect stories, produce story-telling videos, mobilise the LGBTIQ community members, and how to use Facebook Live as a tool to connect with one another and with the public. The couples shared their experiences and stories on legal challenges, gender inequality, harmful social norms and practices towards them, as well as cases on extreme discrimination and violence.

They, however, believe the challenges encourage them to stay driven in their efforts to create a strong LGBTIQ community and work together to solve problems using technology and social media (Facebook & Line) both locally and with other countries effortlessly. Additionally, grantees shared creative ways to collect stories from rightsholders through art such as creating photo exhibitions, music sessions, collages of their life and feelings from magazine images. More importantly, they provided training to focal persons to be able to interview other rightsholders as well as their peers.

On the second day, we visited Bophana Center to discuss and share experiences of working in a targeted community and how to produce stories using social media and digital media.

We are delighted to bring these methods back to Laos to support and improve some of our own methods such as working with groups using smartphones and social media to take photographs and videos as a means of documenting stories effectively.

The two-day visit was a fantastic experience for us and the Voice team in Cambodia as we gained invaluable knowledge and strengthened our collaboration. Linking and learning has always been a key component promoting close-knit collaborations; now more than ever, these two teams are leading by example with their latest joint projects. Stay tuned for more updates!


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