Third Quarterly Meeting of ACCESS Disability Workstream

Third Quarterly Meeting of ACCESS Disability Workstream

With support and coordination of the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, the Disability Action Council Secretariat chaired and facilitated a quarterly meeting of the Disability Workstream on August 04, 2020.

Participants included the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSVY), the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the Ministry of Women Affairs (MOWA), the Provincial Department of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (POSVY), and the People with Disability Foundation (PWDF), as well as  implementing partners (IPs) including Agile Development Group, Cambodia Disabled People Organisation (CDPO), Chamroeun Microfinance Plc (CMP)., Humanity & Inclusion (HI), Light for The World (LFTW), UNDP, and ADD International. Representative from the Disability Action Council Secretariat (DAC-S), the Australian Embassy and the ACCESS Program were also in attendance.

The objectives of the meeting were to review progress to date, discuss implementation challenges as well as solutions, and identify next quarter priorities based on lessons learnt including in consideration of the current COVID-19 situation. The meeting also looked at opportunities to strengthen collaboration between the Disability Workstream IPs and explore possible synergies with the Gender-Based Violence Workstream of the ACCESS Program on the, “Partnership For Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response” by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). In addition, the meeting also took the opportunity to welcome the new IP, ADD International.

Each IP reported their achievements, challenges, key learning, and next steps. They mentioned similar experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the impact on the implementation of activities especially in relation to meetings, training, and services for persons with disabilities. They made mention to online platforms as an effective way to work during the pandemic, especially through Skype or Zoom. Even though there have been some challenges, they have adapted to this new technology and the situation.

Elizabeth Adler, the Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy expressed, “I would like to acknowledge MoSVY’s leadership and our partners Department of Welfare for Persons with Disabilities (DWPD), PWDF, Provincial Department of Social Affairs and MoWA. Thanks for your leadership and technical support to the ACCESS Program, and to the Implementing Partners who are on the front line in implementing the Program.”

She added, “On behalf of the Australian Government, we congratulate you all for your commitment and action to ensure that persons with disabilities remain at the centre of our COVID-19 response. Thank you all for your effort in doing this during pandemic.”

H.E. Neth Un, Deputy Secretary General of the Disability Action Council Secretariats (DAC-S) stated, “I would like to thank the Government of Australia and the Australian people through the Australian Embassy in Cambodia for their financial and technical support in contributing to the Government of Cambodia in promoting the disability sector. I would also like to thank the Ministries, the National Institutes, the Department of Social Affairs and the Provincial Department of Women’s Affairs for facilitating the ACCESS program smoothly. And thanks to the Implementing Partners for attending and I appreciate your commitment.”

The ACCESS Program is a three-year (2018-2021) initiative supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that aims to improve the sustainability, quality and inclusiveness of services in Cambodia for persons with disabilities and women affected by gender-based violence.