16 Days of Activism: Ending violence against women and girls in Cambodia

In response to the pandemic of violence against women in Cambodia, the Access to Justice for Women program -implemented by GIZ and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia since 2010- has been working on the issue taking a multi-pronged approach: 1) increasing accessibility and quality of services to women victims of gender-based violence and their children; 2) improving judicial response through deployment and training of Judicial Police Agents; 3) training MoWA young professional network in social media communication including GbV issues; 4) formulating and enacting policies to promote gender equality and address violence against women; and 5) supporting the organizational development of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for effective advocacy and communications.

Contribution to end gender-based violence

ATJW is an award-winning project that has impacted the development of political landscape of survivors of gender-based violence in Cambodia. Highlights are:

A Fund for female victims of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence led by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia and implemented by 4 NGOs in two target provinces was established. Between January 2012 and June 2015, 6080 women and girls survivors of gender-based violence and their children received services by this Fund.

In cooperation with national and local institutions, 129 Judicial Police Agents were deployed and trained by the ATJW program across Cambodia, who –under the Domestic Violence Law- provide legal support and refer to other institutions and NGOs providing special services to women victims of intimate partner violence and their children.

The ATJW program closely supports the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to develop the Second National Plan to Prevent Violence against Women (2014-2018) and to include disadvantaged groups of women and girls in other national gender policies. For the first time ever, the protections of the rights of LGBT people and women survivors of gender-based violence during the Khmer Rouge regime were incorporated in Cambodian policies.

With the support of ATJW and Deutsche Welle Akademie, 79 Young Professionals at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have been trained as advocates for gender equality, with emphasis of the training on social media and external communications. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs‘s messaging in public statements and communications campaigns (e.g. the International Women’s Day Campaign held every year around 8 March) now are more articulated, progressive and aligned with the international women’s human rights framework.

Enhancing Women's Rights

Domestic violence is a widely spread problem-solving strategy in Cambodia. Even worse, it is considered a private concern by the population as well as by police and justice. Victims rarely bring their cases to court. The Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA), supported by GIZ, implements a law on the protection against violence. Beyond the improvement of the legal situation of women, this process changes the general attitude towards domestic violence. To reach this change of attitude the project also supports the MOWA in working with men, e.g. by developing a training manual The Role of Men and the benefits of Change. A movie aiming at changes in attitudes and behaviour was broadcasted. By supporting offers and services such as refuges and legal advice for battered women, the situation for the victims of violence is improved.


Integrating Gender in Decentralisation

Equal participation of men and women is not self-evident in Cambodia, but it is a necessary precondition for equally realizing the of benefits of the decentralisation process. Female Councillor Forums, established by the GIZ-supported Administration Reform and Decentralisation Project (ARDP) achieved significant gains in the promotion of women's participation in politics. The developed alternative approaches not only increased public awareness on the importance of women's participation, but also motivated women themselves to become active local politics. As a result, the percentage of female councillors increased by more than 70 per cent between the first and second mandate.

For further information about any of the projects mentioned here, please write to us at gender@giz.de.