The Last Quarterly Meeting of the Gender-Based Violence Workstream Shared Achievements and Measurable Progress

The Last Quarterly Meeting of the Gender-Based Violence Workstream Shared Achievements and Measurable Progress

The quarterly meetings of the gender-based violence (GBV) workstream have brought together government counterparts and the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS)’s Implementing Partners (IPs) working in the GBV stream to discuss the progress of the workstream in the previous quarter, and sharing the future action plan. The first meeting has been conducted since early 2020 under the support of the Government of Australia through the ACCESS Program.

The 14th and final quarterly meeting of the gender-based violence (GBV) workstream held on 27 April 2023 and was facilitated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) with support from the Australian Government through the ACCESS Program.

Being the last quarterly meeting before the conclusion of ACCESS Phase I, it provided a good opportunity for participants to review overall key achievements, major challenges, and best practices, as well as discuss success stories over the course of the Workstream’s existence.

Key achievements of GBV workstream quarterly meetings include building partnerships and cooperation among government partners and IPs to find best solutions to challenges raised and sharing of best practices among members. The meeting also provided participants with new studies, key findings, information, and knowledge that they could take away, and to foster stronger relations between the national and sub-national levels, in order to improve the overall quality of work as well as providing a good channel where sub-national realities and challenges can be more clearly articulated at the national level. Furthermore, the GBV workstream’s quarterly meetings provided Government counterpart mutual ownership, as led by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA).

The final quarterly meeting was chaired by Her Excellency Nhean Sochetra, Director at the Social Development Department of MoWA, and participants included representatives from MoWA, Provincial Departments of Women’s Affairs (PDoWA), the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, the Disability Action Council, representatives from DFAT, representatives from ACCESS, and ACCESS’s IPs in the GBV workstream (UN Women, ADD International (former IP), The Asia Foundation (TAF), CARE, Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC), Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC), Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO), UNFPA (former IP)).

Mr Connor Floyd, Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy to Cambodia, in his opening remarks, thanked participants, specifically those who had been participating since inception. He noted, “We learned and exchanged views on our understanding and experiences in our work practice, which kept us informed and was beneficial for all of us.”

The meeting provided a congenial environment for all stakeholders and IPs to share and learn from one another, with presentations from by organizations such as LAC, CWCC, and the PDoWA of Ratanakiri.

LAC’s report was particularly noteworthy, highlighting the significance of the administrative decision measures in law on prevention of domestic violence and protection of victims that are not enforced. LAC provided support to 166 GBV cases and provided trainings related to guidelines and minimum standards for GBV services to GBV response working groups at 16 training sessions in four targeted districts.

CWCC shared its accomplishments and mentioned key support, including providing support to 594 GBV cases through legal assistance, counseling, safe shelter, and reintegration services for GBV survivors. CWCC also provided trainings related to guidelines and minimum standards for GBV services to 184 GBV response working group members.

The PDoWA of Ratanakiri presented its key achievements in responding to the needs and issues of women and girls who were survivors of GBV through services provided by the Gender Based Violence Response Working Group at provincial and district levels.

To conclude the meeting, Her Excellency Nhean Sochetra, expressed her appreciation to all the IPs who shared their key progress, challenges, and achievements during the previous quarter and since the founding of the GBV workstream. She thanked the Government of Australia for their partnership with MoWA and IPs through the five-year ACCESS program to support women affected by GBV and persons with disabilities in Cambodia, and its legacy will continue to inspire future efforts to combat GBV in Cambodia.