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Project profile

Bending Bamboo

The workload of women and young girls in ethnic minority communities is high. Women play a specific and significant role in the working of the fields, and young girls are often kept at home in the villages to care for younger siblings, cook and clean while the adult members of the family are away working in the fields. This has been identified as one of the key constraints to girls’ education in these communities. Research has shown that women in Ratanak Kiri work approximately 14.5 hours per day and that the daily average for men totals 9.5 hours. In addition to high workloads, educational opportunities for ethnic minority girls is also hindered by a lack of qualified teachers, poor school facilities and culturally inappropriate teaching materials. Without education, few women participate in local government and they have little opportunity to have their voices heard by decision makers.


The Bending Bamboo project advocates reducing girls’ workloads which allows them to attend school while helping ensure that well-functioning preschools and primary schools are available. The Bending Bamboo Project also supports women to take on leadership roles in their communities.


  1. To provide technical assistance to MoEYS to scale up pre-schools for ethnic minority children 

  2. To support Commune Councils, in particular the Committee for Women and Children to manage pre-schools

  3. To promote a better division of labor at the household level between girls and the rest of the family


Key activities

Project activities include:

  • Improving the quality of teaching and learning in primary schools and preschools for all students, especially for ethnic minority students and girls, through training and support visits

  • Ensuring Commune Council Women’s and Children’s Committees are functioning effectively and represent the needs of women and children

  • Awareness raising among the Commune Council on the importance of preschool and the funding of them from the Commune Council budget

  • Providing training and support to the Commune Council Women’s and Children’s Committees to enable them to take an active role in community leadership

  • Funding the Commune Council Women’s and Children’s Committees to conduct their own training and awareness raising activities in their communes on issues of concern to women and children

  • Advocating household bargaining to reduce the workload of girls


July 2013 – June 2015



North East of Cambodia


  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

  • One Provincial and one District Office of Education

  • Seven primary schools

  • Seven preschools

  • 18 teachers (6 women)

  • 14 early childhood education facilitators (14 girls)

  • 561 indigenous students (266 girls)

  • Two Commune Councils 

  • Indigenous communities

Project partners


  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport


  • Plan International

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