From 25 November to 10 December 2014, CARE Cambodia is organising activities with students, beer promoters, factory workers and government Ministries, as well as joining a large group dance event in collaboration with UN Women.
Entertainment outlets across the capital – including restaurants, beer gardens and karaoke bars – will see beer promoters and other entertainment workers engage in targeted discussions with their customers. Short quizzes will test the public’s knowledge of sexual harassment and women’s rights, with pens and other merchandise distributed to those who participate.
Entertainment workers will also improve their knowledge of this through sessions conducted by peer educators. Trained by CARE’s partner the Solidarity Association of Beer promoters in Cambodia (SABC), beer promoters educate their peers on topics such as their legal rights and tips for preventing sexual harassment. Two large beer companies – Angkor and Guinness – will also host sessions with their employees during the campaign.
In schools and universities, peer educators trained by CARE’s partner People Health Development (PHD) will be organising a public awareness campaign. White ribbons will be distributed for students to show their support for ending violence against women. Cards with 16 actions to take will also be shared, with the aim of inspiring students to play a role in protecting women and girls from violence. As part of the campaign, peer educators will conduct short sessions with their fellow students in classrooms and assemblies as well as informally during their free time. This forms part of CARE’s work with men to ensure they understand the laws regarding violence against women and encourage a culture of respect among their peers.
CARE has a well-established presence in Cambodian garment factories and a number of these will join the campaign through the inclusion of dance in events planned during this time. This forms part of CARE’s wider involvement with UN Women’s country-wide group dance event to raise awareness. CARE is one of a number of partners working directly with UN Women to support this campaign in Cambodia and the CARE team will join the large group dance event planned for 6 December in Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.
As well as working directly with community members and businesses, CARE works at Ministry level to make sure that ending violence against women is a priority among Cambodian decision makers. During these 16 days CARE will work with representatives from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to share information about the campaign with the chiefs of departments from five other ministries. CARE is also one of 24 NGOs participating in a large event in Phnom Penh with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which will have over 900 attendees, and working with a number of partners at a provincial event in Ratanak Kiri for 600 participants.
One of CARE Cambodia’s key priorities is combating gender based violence. Women in Cambodia face a significant risk of gender-based violence and sexual harassment; particularly vulnerable groups include young female migrants working in garment factories and entertainment settings such as hotels as restaurants.
CARE’s current projects working in this area include Safe Workplaces, Safe Communities and Protections for Marginalised Urban Women. Safe Workplaces, Safe Communities works towards the goal of reducing sexual harassment in Cambodian workplaces and communities by working with entertainments workers, students and garment factory managers. Protections for Marginalised Urban Women provides a deeper level of engagement with employers, police and local authorities to improve the protections available to women. These both form part of CARE’s Socially Marginalised Women program, which has the goal of ensuring women have a legitimate voice and benefit equitably from social change.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an international campaign that started in 1991. The campaign runs annually between 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and 10 December, International Human Rights Day. Further information about the campaign, Cambodian partners and activities in Cambodia can be found at unitecambodia.wordpress.com.