Partner profile: CWPD
Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD) has been one of CARE's key partners in Cambodia for nearly a decade. Having worked in the country in various guises since 1978, CWPD has deep roots working with women in communities across many different provinces, with the aim of promoting women and children's health and well-being.
CARE started partnering with CWPD in 2004, working together on the Sewing for a Brighter Future project. Focusing on garment factory workers, particularly young people who have migrated from the provinces, the project provides vital information on sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevention, hygiene and financial management― key knowledge for young people with low levels of education who are often living away from home for the first time.
More recently, the project has been collaborating with factory workers and local food vendors to improve nutrition. Most workers had little understanding of the importance of hygiene and eating well, leading to many experiencing low energy levels or even fainting at work. Working through peer educators, the project has started to bring about changes in attitude among workers, with more of them bring fruit to eat for breakfast and choosing a full lunch of rice and vegetables as opposed to smaller snacks.
CWPD's work with garment workers in Phnom Penh is just one facet of its efforts to improve the health of young women in Cambodia, which spans many projects across a total of 18 provinces. The organization has used USAID's SMARTgirl brand in eight provinces to improve entertainment workers' knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, used social marketing of condoms to help prevent HIV and has worked to increase understanding of family planning among women of reproductive age. As part of one of its women's health programmes, CWPD has also promoted improved hygiene and sanitation to new mothers to prevent diarrhoea among young children.
Much of CWPD’s work is done through volunteers within communities – they have around 200 volunteers across Cambodia – helping them to reach as many people as possible in an effective way. Volunteers are often selected from the Commune Council for Women and Children and village committees; CWPD volunteers tend to already be very active and well-known within their own communities, which makes them ideal people to encourage villagers to participate in activities and help change attitudes.
As part of CARE’s Safe Migration project, CWPD volunteers have been holding awareness-raising sessions to ensure communities are aware of their rights and know how to access support if needed, as well as working with local authorities to help resolve any issues that arise.
Having worked for so long to promote the well-being of women in Cambodia, CWPD has very good relationships with key government departments such as the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Ministry of Interior, as well as having Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Ministry of Health and NCHADS. The organization also has MOUs with relevant local authorities in many of the regions where it works, such as Siem Reap and Battambang provinces.
CWPD does not just work at community level, but also aims to promote the inclusion of women in all aspects of society. Its Promoting Women in Politics project advocates for increasing the number of women in decision making, empowering them to participate fully in the governance of the country.
CWPD Executive Director Mrs Meach Sotheary says that the organization has greatly benefitted from its long collaboration with CARE in Cambodia, as their work together has helped to improve the skills of her staff and ensure the organization has strong financial management systems. "I feel very positive about our work with CARE, as they have helped CWPD to become and strong and sustainable organization," she says.