Active women’s representatives received training on gender equality and disability inclusion.

Active women’s representatives received training on gender equality and disability inclusion.

Between 30 – 31 March 2023, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), with support from the Australian Government through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, organised a two-day training session on gender equality and disability inclusion for women with disabilities who are representatives of the Organisation of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs). Thirty-eight participants were in attendance consisting of two men and 35 women with disabilities. The training aimed to raise the awareness of participants on gender and disability analysis, existing related laws and policies to promote both sectors and the available disability and GBV-responsive services.

Her Excellency Nhem Morokot, Under Secretary of State of MoWA, mentioned in the opening session that the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Rectangular Strategy Phase III is to continue to strengthen the implementation of the Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Welfare of Persons with Disabilities in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as strengthen the quality and efficiency of related services. “I believe that this training has provided new information related to national and international law and policies to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, gender mainstreaming, and inclusion, as well as the intersectionality of gender and disability,” she added.

Ms Anne ROUVE-KHIEV, ACCESS Team Leader, acknowledged that many women with disabilities have faced challenges in seeking services or support, due to a lack of confidence and support from their families and communities. However, this situation can be changed through empowerment training. Empowered and confident women with disabilities can share their experiences and contribute ideas to identify the most appropriate solutions to their issues.

During the training, participants had the chance to discuss and share their points of view on individual challenges they faced in gender mainstreaming and disability inclusion, and they got proposed solutions from their peers. One participant from Siem Reap province, Ms Chhuy Sareth, a souvenir seller and community activist serving elderly people and persons with disabilities, said that the training is valuable for her as she has gained improved knowledge on disability inclusion and the rights of persons with disabilities, including their rights of expression and rights in finding a job. She added, “I also had a chance to make connections with other women with disabilities, sharing our difficulties and learning from each other.”

Through financial support from the Australian Government, the ACCESS program has been working in collaboration with MoWA and the Disability Action Council Secretariate General to increase knowledge and understanding of the intersectionality between gender equality and disability inclusion of various stakeholders, including officers from line ministries, service providers at sub-national levels, implementing partners, representatives of OPDs, and persons with disabilities.