Distribution of Protective Equipment and Information Material on COVID-19 to Gender- Based Violence (GBV) Service Providers and Vulnerable Women in Targeted ProvincesSovithiea
From 3 to 14 August 2020, a series of events were held that were each organized by the respective Provincial Department of Women’s Affairs (PDOWA) in coordination with the District Administration. Protective materials were distributed to service providers (district and commune level) and vulnerable women in 21 targeted districts of six provinces including Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Kampong Speu, Tboung Khum, Rattanakiri, and Preah Sihanouk.
The personal protective equipment was funded by the Australian Government through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Service (ACCESS) Program. As a result of the distribution, vulnerable women in six provinces now have to access to an additional 45,000 surgical face masks, 4,800 bottles of hand sanitizers, and 38,800 bars of soap to protect against COVID-19. Furthermore, 7,000 posters on gender-based violence (GBV) services information and COVID-19 prevention messages, 4,880 hand fans, 972 booklets on the operational procedure for online counselling were also distributed to the Cambodian women.
During the handover ceremony, Mrs. Vann Channa, Deputy Director of Provincial Department of Women’s Affairs, in Siem Reap Province talked about the effects of GBV, specifically in the context of the pandemic on women with disabilities. Social distancing makes it challenging for vulnerable women to access GBV services as needed. In this context, service providers play an important role in finding better ways to support them via online channels or through the hotline. In addition, the information materials distributed at the event provide useful information for both service providers and vulnerable women during the pandemic.
Mrs. Chhem Sothea, Deputy Director of Puok District, Siem Reap province expressed her sincere thanks to PDOWA for the provision of the protective materials through the support of the ACCESS Program. She stated, “It is a difficult time in the country and globally, but we must act together to protect ourselves and our community from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Through the ACCESS program, the Australian Government is working in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), United Nations Agencies and civil society organisations to improve the sustainability, quality, and inclusiveness of services in Cambodia for persons with disabilities and women affected by GBV. The program will continue to help ensure that basic services remain available for vulnerable groups during this pandemic.