The 10th Quarterly Meeting on Disability Inclusion Showcases the Achievements of the Disability Workstream of the ACCESS Program

The 10th Quarterly Meeting on Disability Inclusion Showcases the Achievements of the Disability Workstream of the ACCESS Program

On 5 May 2022, the Secretariat-General of the Disability Action Council (DAC) facilitated the 10th quarterly meeting of the disability workstream of Australia-Cambodia Cooperation Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS), a Program funded by the Australian Government.

The meeting aimed to review the disability workstream’s latest achievements and challenges and discuss best practices for effective program results. The participants shared notable success stories and presented the top priorities for the next quarter, including ACCESS’ sustainability plan, and relevant documents and tools developed thus far. The meeting agenda included a presentation on the revised Program logic for ACCESS Phase 2, presentation of a tailored loan product for members’ review and approval, and finally demonstrated the new mobile application on accessible employment.

Mr Yeap Malyno, the Director of the Department of Welfare of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans Youth and Rehabilitation (MoSVY) commended the support from the ACCESS Program in the development of the “OAKAS” mobile app, which will improve the inclusiveness and accessibility for persons with disability during the job application process and further increase their access to employment opportunities via a digitally efficient platform.

Mr Connor Floyd, Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy to Cambodia co-chaired this meeting with H.E Em Cham Makara, Secretary of State of MoSVY and Secretary-General of DAC. Mr Floyd reported that ACCESS’ work to support persons with disabilities from October 2021 to March 2022 has resulted in remarkable progress. Women comprise 28 per cent of the total of 3,226 persons with disabilities who have received physical rehabilitation services from the six Physical Rehabilitation Centres (PRCs) targeted by the ACCESS Program’s direct support. In the same period, 610 persons with disabilities have gained access to better economic opportunities via various support services through the ACCESS Implementing Partners. These included 24 persons with disabilities who are self-employed, 43 job-placements, 13 loan disbursements, 22 women with disabilities finished in business incubator, 11 persons with disabilities completed CAFE financial literacy training, and 497 persons with disabilities gaining access to career coaching and counselling services.

Mr Floyd also noted that capacity development of persons with disabilities constitutes a significant result for the ACCESS Program. He stated that 167 participants (9 persons with disabilities) from the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), Gender-based Violence (GBV) Response Working Groups and Implementing Partners attended a series of training on disability inclusion-related topics. He further stated that 57 participants (8 persons with disabilities) from RGC counterparts and Implementing Partners (IPs) participated in the gender equality trainings. At the same time, 27 master trainers from RGC’s relevant departments successfully completed a five-day Training of Trainers program on gender equality and disability inclusion.

H.E Em Cham Makara applauded the achievements of the ACCESS Program, including the efforts of the Implementing Partners, which have translated to excellent benefits for the community, especially persons with disabilities in Cambodia. These efforts have contributed to the implementation of the National Disability Action Plan 2019-2023 and the empowerment of persons with disabilities.

He expressed the importance of continuing to support persons with disabilities in gaining better access to economic opportunities to improve their quality of life and enabling them to lift themselves out of poverty. He stressed the significance of continuing to support and strengthen the provision of equitable rehabilitation services, including essential services as well as strengthening and expanding professional skills development, entrepreneurship and accessibility to financial services.

As part of his closing remarks, His Excellency thanked the Australian Government for their support and partnership through the ACCESS Program for the commendable contribution to the development work for the community of persons with disabilities in Cambodia.