Mrs. Seng Chanbou is Deputy Governor of Ban Lung District and also the Chair of the Gender-Based Violence Response Working Group (GBV WG) at Ban Lung in Ratanak Kiri Province. As a leader of the GBV WG, she is responsible for supervising, coordinating, and reviewing the performance of the working group. “Working with GBV survivors is a challenging job that requires very strong commitment; I am highly confident in leading this working group to function well and achieve sustainable implementation,” says Mrs. Chanbou.

For many years, her team faced many difficulties trying to support GBV survivors. Remarkably, rape cases are increasing among poor families, even though there are signs that people’s knowledge on GBV issues is increasing. Service providers serve the survivors within their own capacity; however, coordination between agencies is lacking. For inter-agency coordination, service providers aim to use the Women and Children’s Consultative Committee (WCCC) and Commune Committee for Women and Children (CCWC) who work broadly on women and children’s issues. However, this referral process requires formal letters and takes a lot of time.

Establishing and strengthening the sub-national mechanism​​​ on responding to GBV are a key part of CARE’s project funded by the Australian Government through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) program, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Woman Affairs (MoWA) and the Provincial Department of Woman Affairs (PDoWA). Since CARE has supported and developed capacity on essential skills for working with the survivors and GBV-related knowledge for the Ban Lung GBV WG, Mrs. Chanbou and her team have seen significant improvements and better understand their roles and responsibilities on supporting GBV survivors. There have also been improvements in referral coordination, between both intra-agency and inter-agency on GBV survivors. Furthermore, the GBV WG has created a platform for GBV service providers to exclusively discuss GBV issues. With this support, direct calls for immediate assistance from other service providers or GBV members for urgent GBV cases, especially rape cases, can now be facilitated. Consequently, seven GBV cases were reported and shared among relevant service providers in order to get quicker support from the group.

Through the hard work of the working group members, Mrs. Chanbou has really appreciated her leading role and being better accountable to members and services providers. Now she and her group can receive more information and intervene faster on GBV issues with other agencies to provide the appropriate services based on the survivors’ needs. “It is crucial that we as service providers remain available to support GBV survivors, and to keep maintain a high quality of work we must work with them whole-heartedly and put ourselves in their shoes” says Chanbou.

Due to great importance of the functionality of the GBV WG under her leadership, Mrs. Chanbou has committed to lead this group to function more effectively and sustainably. The expense of quarterly meeting for GBV Working Group in Banlong will be included in her district planning and budgeting from 2022.