The 7th Disability Workstream Quarterly Meeting

The 7th Disability Workstream Quarterly Meeting

On August 6th, 2021, with support from the Australian Government through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, the Disability Action Council Secretariat (DAC-S) chaired the 7th Disability Workstream Quarterly Meeting.

The objective of the meeting was to review progress on the Program’s activities during the previous quarter, review and discuss implementation challenges and identify possible solutions, and set priorities for the next quarter as well as strategies to build linkages with the ACCESS Phase II interventions.

The meeting was attended by 37 participants, including representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), DAC, Line Ministries, the Australian Embassy to Cambodia, the ACCESS team, and ACCESS Implementing Partners (IPs), including ADD International, Agile Microfinance, CHAMROEUN Microfinance Plc, Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation, Humanity & Inclusion (HI), Light for The World (LFTW) and UNDP.

Dr Ros Chhay, Senior Program Manager at the Australian Embassy to Cambodia stated, “Disability-inclusive development remains an important part of the Australian aid program. Our Partnerships for Recovery Strategy clearly emphasizes that our efforts will be inclusive of people with disabilities, as they face many vulnerabilities.”

H.E Net Un, Deputy Secretary General of DAC-SG, acknowledged the progress that has been made by the ACCESS partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted the key achievements in the disability sector, including the development of the new disability law, the implementation of the Disability Identification (DI) program and provision of DI Card, building ramps in 22 communes for greater accessibility, and the production of five educational animations on physical accessibilities. He appreciated the support of the Australian Government, through the ACCESS Program, and the IPs in the implementation of the National Disability Strategic Plan (NDSP) and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in Cambodia.

In addition, representatives from the ACCESS Program, including Mr Sasha Cigljarevic, ACCESS Deputy Team Leader, the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Team, and Dr Chou Vivath, Disability Lead on ACCESS, shared general updates from the Program, including Program governance, budget allocation for Phase 2, completed and ongoing activities, ACCESS support services at the Physical Rehabilitation Centres (PRCs), and key updates on the disability sector in general.

The ACCESS IPs also presented their key achievements, challenges, and plan for the next steps. It was shared that to address the key challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, some activities have had to pivot to adapt to the new modalities of work, including the provision of remote rehabilitation services and a shift from physical to virtual meetings and training.

The ACCESS Program is a five-year (2018-2023) initiative undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Australia provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The ACCESS Program is working in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia and the IPs to improve the inclusiveness and quality of services to persons with disabilities and women affected by gender-based violence. ACCESS’ Program logic has been updated to reflect the contribution of the Program to the Cambodian Government’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, including its priorities on social protection.