The 14th Disability Workstream Quarterly Meeting: Sharing experience and key achievements

The 14th Disability Workstream Quarterly Meeting: Sharing experience and key achievements

The Disability Workstream’s quarterly meetings have consistently served as a platform for government counterparts and the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS)’s Implementing Partners (IPs) in the disability stream to come together. These meetings aim to share and discuss the progress made by the workstream in the previous quarter, as well as develop action plans for the future. The first disability workstream quarterly meeting was held in early 2020 and has enjoyed continuous support from the Australian Government through the ACCESS Program.

On 12 May 2023, the 14th and final Disability Workstream Quarterly Meeting was held under ACCESS Phase I, and was facilitated by the Department of Welfare for Persons with Disabilities (DWPD) of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY). This final meeting provided an opportunity for participants to review key achievements, discuss major challenges, and exchange pertinent information from members through reflection on the previous quarter. Additionally, it allowed for the sharing of updates and key priorities for the last quarter of ACCESS Program.

Mr. Sann Ratana, Director of DWPD, chaired the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the MoSVY, Provincial Department of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (PoSVY), Disability Action Council Secretariat General (DAC-SG), Line Ministries, ACCESS representatives, DFAT representatives, and ACCESS’s Implementing Partners (IPs): ADD International, Agile Development Group, CHAMROEUN Microfinance Plc (CMP)/Good Return, Cambodia Disabled People Organisation (CDPO), Humanity & Inclusion (HI), People’s Action for Inclusive Development (former Light for The World), and UNDP.

Throughout its duration, the Disability Workstream has achieved several noteworthy milestones, including:

  • Strengthening of multisectoral coordination within the disability sector at both the national and sub-national levels through the development of annual multisectoral implementation plans in five target provinces.
  •  Development, implementation and revision of relevant legal policies and associated tools that align with best practice and international frameworks. Notable efforts include the review of the new Disability Law, implementation of key priorities of the National Disability Strategic Plan (NDSP) 2019-2023, dissemination and rollout of national standards on physical accessibility and the Disability Inclusive Manual.
  •  Support for the delivery of physical rehabilitation services at six physical rehabilitation centres, resulting in a significant increase in client service delivery by 77 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. Client satisfaction level for PRC services increased from 92 percent (baseline), to 96 percent (endline).
  •  Availability of evidence-based data on disability prevalence, contributing to enhanced policy support and inform future program development.
  • Improved inclusion across various sectors, such as social prote ction, health, education, public transport, construction, and information, enabling more effective responses to the specific needs of persons with disabilities.

In his opening remarks, Mr Connor Floyd, Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy to Cambodia, congratulated the government counterparts, including DAC Secretary General, DWPD, PWDF, sub-national authorities, and IPs for the remarkable achievements accomplished during ACCESS Phase I. “If we are to truly work towards an inclusive society, a society that leaves no one behind, then this desirable goal will indeed require collective and agreed action from all sectors and across both the national and subnational levels, that is supported with meaningful engagement of representatives of persons with disabilities.” he stated.

The meeting provided a conducive environment for all stakeholders and IPs to share knowledge and learn from one another. Presentations were delivered by CDPO and the Department of Welfare for Persons with Disabilities (DWPD). The DWPD reported several achievements, including the enrolment of 261,958 persons with disabilities (47 percent of which are female) in the Disability Management Information System (DMIS), the facilitation and access to employment of more than 3,621 persons with disabilities (23 percent of whom are women) working in government institutions and more than 5,235 persons with disabilities (65 percent of whom are women) working in private institutions. CDPO, highlighting its achievements in the support of persons with disabilities, reported that 5,120 persons with disabilities received ID Poor Card through the coordination of Organisation of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) in their target provinces, and that it provided capacity building to the OPDs with a focus on inclusive response in social protection system for persons with disabilities.

In closing remarks, Mr Sann Ratana, expressed his appreciation to the Australian Government for their support through the ACCESS Program. Their contribution has been instrumental in the implementation of the NDSP and the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women (NAPVAW). Furthermore, the ACCESS Program has provided crucial support to persons with disabilities and women affected by gender-based violence, enabling them to access quality, sustainable, and effective services.