Khmeem, 35, has become a role model for others in her Phnong community in the north-east of Cambodia. For the past two years she has chaired her local School Support Committee. Her journey shows that with a little support, women such as Khmeem can play a vital role in improving education opportunities for their children.
“Khmeem has always joined school activities in her village. She has helped raise awareness about health and general hygiene, contributed to vegetable gardening, helped repair the school fence and more. Because she showed she was so committed, her community voted for her to become the chairwoman of the School Support Committee in 2015.
“When I first joined as the chairwoman for school support committee, I wasn’t sure about my role or what I should do,” shares Khmeem. “I just followed what the school directors or the teachers asked of me, such as helping reach students who had dropped out or were absent. I did not realise that this was part of my responsibilities.”
CARE supported staff from her District for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to provide training on the role of School Support Committee members so that newcomers like Khmeem could understand how their actions contribute to improving education for children in Cambodia.
“The training gave me a much clearer understanding of my eight roles and responsibilities as part of the primary school support committee. It made me confident to do things such as take part in school development planning, monitor teaching, track students’ learning, and encourage attendance. I know how to monitor the income and expenditure of the school, plus I am able to seek assistance for the school development. I have become good at explaining the advantages of an education to parents.
“I previously thought that all these activities were school business only,” Khmeem admits, “but now I understand that community involvement is very important. I am determined to continue to carry out my duties as best I can to help the community and school to develop and progress. In particular, I want to help strengthen the communication between the school, the community and the students’ parents so we can all work together to improve the quality of education for young people in Cambodia.”
Since 2015, the School Governance project has been working in five districts in Mondulkiri province to support 88 primary schools.
The School Governance Project (SG) is funded by the Capacity Development Partnership Fund through UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS).