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Ms. Pich Chhoeub can!

 by HelpAge Cambodia Voice Project Team

“I became more courageous to advocate with local government for supporting older people in the community” 

A 65-year old woman, Ms. Pich Chhoeub who is currently living in Kor Rohal village of Peam Eak commune in Ek Phnom district of Battambang Province, told that she joined with Kor Rohal Older People’s Association (OPA) since its establishment in 2008. She was selected and voted by the members to be an OPA leader with 101 members. Through the OPA, Ms. Chhoeub has led and gathered her members to do more social work, supporting poor and vulnerable older people as well as contributing to community development works. However, this OPA still has very limited understanding and involvement in social protection work for older people and their members in the community. 

After registering as a member of the Cambodia Ageing Network (CAN) in 2019, Ms. Chhoeub gained further opportunities to learn and be involved in advocacy campaigns of CAN at national and community levels on related social protection, particularly social assistance for older people. Ms. Chhoeub said, “Before my OPA registered as CAN’s member, I and the members are not much aware of what social protection or social assistance is, which support should be available for older people. And I don’t even know how to make a request to my commune government for annual funding support to my OPA, as well” 

Ms. Chhoeub also continued that she has not had enough courage to talk with the local government at the commune about the need and to seek their support for older people in her OPA in accessing the commune fund or equity cards for vulnerable older people since she does not have enough information or capacity to advocate with the local government.  

Through a series of capacity buildings, workshops and meetings of CAN and coordinated by the HelpAge Cambodia (HAC)’s project team, funded through VOICE’s program, she has improved her knowledge and capacity on related social protection policies and advocacy on social assistance for older people, with specific focus on equity cards, cash transfer and commune fund for her OPAs and members.  

Moreover, she has also learned about the rights and entitlement as well as the role of OPA as a civil society which enables them represent its community and raising their voices to the government to address their problems.

Ms. Pich Chhoeub sharing her journey during a community event

“I became more courageous and confident to talk and advocate with the government now. I have successfully advocated and gained support from the commune chief on providing equity cards for poor and vulnerable older people in my communities as well as received commune funding support for my OPA. 

As a result, in October 2022, Ms. Chhoeub successfully advocated with her commune government to support nine more older people among her OPA members to receive equity cards, access to free of charge health services and receive the cash transfer from the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Now I can go to have a health check-up on a regular basis and to get some medicine free of charge at Battambang Referral Hospital”, Ms. Chab Reurn’s husband said.


Ms. Chab Reurn showing her husband's health card
Ms. Chab Reurn showing her husband’s health card

On the other hand, her OPA has received one million riels (250$) from the commune to support vulnerable older people in her OPA. She has made a lot of effort in developing the request with her members, kept following up and attending meetings regularly with the commune councils as well as advocating through some campaigns.  

In addition to this, she has also shared her knowledge and experience knowledge with the other two OPAs in her commune and assisted them to develop the request to the commune chief in order to request annual funding support. Through this effort, the two OPAs have also received the fund of about 1 million riels each as well as support for older people in their villages. 

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