UN project en­cour­ages chil­dren to raise voices

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Voun Dara

LACK of power and low so­cial sta­tus are among the fac­tors that lead to the vi­o­la­tion of chil­dren’s rights in Cam­bo­dia, said a state­ment re­leased as a guide­line for jour­nal­ists dur­ing a press visit to EU funded projects in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng prov­inces on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

One of the projects high­lighted dur­ing the two-day visit was Re­al­is­ing Chil­dren’s Rights Through Im­proved Lo­cal Gov­er­nance which is over­seen by Save the Chil­dren. It op­er­ates in 51 vil­lages across four tar­get com­munes in Prey Veng prov­ince’s Preah Sdech dis­trict.

The three-year project, funded by € 1 mil­lion ($1.14 mil­lion) from the EU, es­tab­lished 40 vil­lage-level Child Clubs com­pris­ing a to­tal of 1,215 chil­dren, of whom 650 are girls. It also in­cludes 241 at-risk chil­dren.

On the last day of the visit in Prey Veng prov­ince, EU Am­bas­sador to Cam­bo­dia, Ge­orge Edgar, said: “We [the EU] have been sup­port­ing lo­cal and na­tional level au­thor­i­ties to in­clude chil­dren in their de­ci­sion-mak­ing process and to em­power them to raise their own voices and de­mand what they need from their govern­ment, com­mu­ni­ties and fam­ily.”

On its co­op­er­a­tion with the EU through the project, Save the Chil­dren noted that chil­dren in Cam­bo­dian ru­ral ar­eas re­ceive less care as their par­ents mi­grated to work in the city or abroad.

Save the Chil­dren di­rec­tor in Cam­bo­dia, El­iz­a­beth Pearce, said her or­gan­i­sa­tion is study­ing the im­pact of par­ents’ mi­gra­tion on child’s rights and devel­op­ment.

“The re­search will have a thor­ough as­sess­ment of the child’s devel­op­ment, [and be] di­vided into sec­tions such as men­tal devel­op­ment, to get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing.”

Pearce said some peo­ple be­lieve that other fam­ily mem­bers, es­pe­cially grand­par­ents, who take care of chil­dren whose par­ents work in Phnom Penh or other coun­tries, can­not look af­ter them well.

On the other hand, she said there were oth­ers who be­lieve that the par­ents’ mi­gra­tion is a good thing, ow­ing to the fact that they re­mit­ted money for their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion.

The lead­ers of Child Clubs across the prov­ince iden­ti­fied var­i­ous prob­lems faced by their child mem­bers and their sub­sti­tute care­tak­ers.

One leader cited a re­port show­ing that grand­par­ents knew lit­tle about chil­dren’s rights due to their old age. It also said many of their child mem­bers dropped out of school, while some con­sumed drugs and al­co­hol.

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