Third Quarterly Meeting of the Gender-Based Violence WorkstreamSovithiea
With support from the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, on 28 July 2020 the Ministry of Women’s Affairs organised a third quarterly meeting of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Workstream. The meeting was highly attended with participation from the Australian Embassy, Representatives from the Provincial Department of Women’s Affairs (PDOWA), the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and ACCESS’s Implementing Partners (IPs) such as Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC), Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC), Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO), CARE International in Cambodia (CARE), The Asia Foundation (TAF), UNFPA Cambodia, and UN Women.
The objectives of this meeting were to review progress to date, discuss implementation challenges as well as solutions, and identify next quarter priorities based on lessons learnt and in consideration of the current COVID-19 situation. The meeting also looked at opportunities to strengthen collaboration between GBV Workstream IPs and explore possible synergies with the Disability.
Notably, one ACCESS IP – the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, reported that during the third quarter and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for GBV services being sought by survivors decreased, but that they cannot assume yet whether GBV has decreased or increased. TPO also reported similar results in terms of a decrease of people seeking services in relation to their implementation and they have urged providers to follow-up on cases and continue to provide counseling to clients through their telephone hotline during the COVID-19 pandemic. LAC, another ACCESS IP, reported a decrease in divorce cases as well, but that people seeking counseling services had increased compared to the previous quarter.
H.E Nhean Sochetra, General Director of Social Development, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, stated, “I deeply thank the Australian Government who always supports MoWA. And thanks to the IPs and their commitment to work at both National and Sub-National levels with MoWA and PDOWA.”
She continued, “The ACCESS Program brings implementing partners to work together, by making plans and in solving problems together”.
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.
Elizabeth Adler, Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy said, “On behalf of the Government of Australia, we congratulate to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for its commitment and actions to enhance the rights of women, and to eliminate gender-based violence at all times, and in particular during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic context.”
She added, “I would like to thank all Provincial Departments of Women’s Affairs who have actively supported the establishment of GBV Response Working Groups at both provincial and district levels. Moreover, I would like to thank our IPs who cooperate closely with each other to support MOWA to implement the National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women III (NAPVAWIII).”