7 May 2014 saw the launch of CARE Cambodia's Local Economic Leadership (LEL) project at an inception workshop in Koh Kong province.
With funding from CARE Australia-ANCP, this project builds on the achievements of the Young Women in Business project in increasing the participation of women in diversified livelihood options. LEL will continue to develop female leaders among demonstration farmers and para-vets with the aim of ensuring women's voices are heard within their communities, particularly regarding the economic opportunities available to them. This will include fostering positive attitudes and actions amongst authorities, men and communities to ensure safe, valued, sustainable and positive experiences for women adopting higher level, local leadership economic roles. The project will focus its work in Botum Sakor and Sre Ambel Districts, Koh Kong province, supporting marginalised rural women in this area through community level interventions and provincial level capacity building.
The workshop aimed to share the project's objectives, key activities and expected results so that all partners, local authorities and community representatives are aware of what CARE is planning and when activities will take place. Information regarding how target villages and participants are selected was shared, offering the opportunity for all involved to understand CARE's aims in an open and accountable manner.
The high regard in which this project is viewed was demonstrated by the many representatives from line ministries, departments, and local authorities from national to village level who attended the launch event. CARE was honoured to welcome H.E Hor Malin, secretary of Ministry of Agriculture Forestry & Fisheries, as a guest speaker. She said:
"I greatly appreciate CARE's livelihood work, be that the previous Young Women in Business project, their work with Village Saving and Loan Associations or this current LEL project. All improve household income and have changed social norms so that women's status has been improved, recognised and valued by their partner or husband and within their community. I am very interested in CARE's approach, which works not just to improve and make changes in women's lives but also supports and improves the community and environment that women live in."
The LEL project will work in Koh Kong province until June 2017. As well as building on previous project success, it will work alongside the Partnering to Save Lives project, which is providing affordable credit options through its Village Saving and Loan Associations.