Monthly Archives: June 2013
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Three programs Support to the Identification of Poor Households (ID Poor); Regional Economic Development Programme-Green Belt; and Support to Administrative Reform and Decentralisation (ARDP), have won the first ‘Gender Equality Competition’ for GIZ Cambodia. Eight initiatives from seven programmes participated in this competition with the goal of encouraging managers and technical advisors to promote gender equality and mainstreaming within GIZ’s work.
During the award ceremony held in Phnom Penh on 30 May 2013, Mr. Adelbert Eberhardt, Country Director of GIZ Cambodia said, “Due to the high quality of several proposals we have decided to award three programs, which will all be the winners of the ‘Gender Competition’ of GIZ Cambodia. I hope that all GIZ staff in Cambodia will continue making gender equality a priority in our daily work.”
The initiative “promoting women’s participation in the identification of poor households” of GIZ’s ID Poor programme was selected because of its impact on reducing gender gaps when identifying poor households; its high client demand; and potentials for business acquisition. This initiative also targeted women from socially disadvantaged groups, such as rural-illiterate women and women who are head of households.
Meanwhile, the “RED-Green Belt gender initiative” from RED-Green Belt programme was awarded based on its achievements in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in district workshops, at quantitative and qualitative levels.
For example, participation of women in district awareness workshops increased from 20 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2012, while women’s participation in cross visits increased from 16 percent in 2008 to 38 percent in 2012. This initiative from RED-Green Belt programme also successfully engaged men for gender equality and is, in fact, a good example of cooperation with decentralized institutions.
Finally, the initiative, “Helping get their voice heard – Strengthening newly elected female councillors”, from the ARDP programme, was also awarded for targeting 44 women councilors in two provinces. In addition to contributing to the participation of women in critical areas, such as decision-making at the sub-national level, this initiative effectively supported women councilors to improve their skills and leadership. As a result, this initiative gained interest from different partners.
Together, four judge assessed the initiatives and made the final call for the awards: Mr. Adelbert Eberhardt; Ms. Barbara Haeming, Regional Gender Focal Person for Asia-Latin America Department from GIZ Headquarters; Ms. Cornelia Grade and Mr. Rodrigo Montero, country gender officers of GIZ Cambodia, An assessment grid was especially designed and used by the judges for this competition. All initiatives will be published in a special digital publication in the upcoming weeks.
Mr. Rodrigo Montero Cano,
Gender and Communications Advisor,
GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’
Phone: +855 129 237 71
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Surgery is an essential part of health care. It can cure illness, reduce morbidity and save lives. Surgery also frequency leads to complications that include excess bleeding, wound infection, anesthesia problems and even death. Surgical complications are caused by many factors depending on the condition of the patient ranging from old age to health status. However for complications that are related to quality of health care, it is estimated that at least half could be avoided by routinely checking common safety issues and improving team communication.
General data for Cambodia is not available, but international studies show that complications due to surgery occur in up to 10% of cases. In high-income countries, death related to surgical complications can occur in 0.9%, whereas in low- and middle-income countries the rates soar to 11.7 % of surgery resulting in complications and 2.1% in death.
Simple ‘checklist’ may save lives – local adaptation recommended
To increase the safety of surgery, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed “Surgical Safety Checklist” in 2008. The checklist targets 10 essential objectives for safe surgery, such as surgery location, provision of safe anesthesia, the management of airway problems and hemorrhage.
The checklist is grouped into three sections, requiring the verbal check and exchange of information immediately before the induction of anesthesia, immediately before the skin incision and right after skin closure. WHO encourages local adaptation of the checklist if appropriate. It is recommended for the checklist to be read aloud and verbally confirmed within the operating team. This potential life saving process clocks-in at less than two minutes.
The checklist has been evaluated in 8 different countries and settings and has proven its effectiveness. The use of the checklist reduced the rate of postoperative complications by more than one-third. WHO estimates that with the general use of the checklist up to half of related death case could be avoided. It is estimated that 234 million people are operated each year and more than one million of these individuals die from complications fatalities. Using the surgical checklist could result in more than 500,000 lives saved on an annually basis.
Improving quality of health care a top priority
The improvement of the quality of health care is one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and is supported by the Social Health Protection Project of GIZ. Therefore the Quality Assurance Office of the MoH together with WHO Office in Cambodia identified the checklist as a ‘promising tool’ to increase the quality of surgical care.
Surgery in Cambodia, which is provided in public CPA 2, 3 and National Referral Hospitals, is on the rise. The changes in morbidity towards non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and traffic accidents are two of the reasons why this trend will probably persist.
Together with WHO, the Quality Assurance Office of the MoH developed a project plan to test the feasibility and the effects of the checklist. Financial support was received by funding from the Australian Agency for International Development, AusAID. The project included establishing an expert advisory board, a two-phased pilot, and a staff evaluation survey in participating hospitals.
Members of the advisory board included experienced surgeons as well as anesthesiologists and scientific associations, such as the Cambodian Surgical Society, donors and pilot hospitals. Pilot hospitals included the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh and the Referral Hospital in Svay Rieng.
Project pilot sites show promising results
The pilot, that took place from October 2012 to January 2013, showed promising results. As surgical safety improved, surgical complications (especially wound infections) decreased. Additionally, communication among surgical staff improved and awareness for quality improvement raised.
Survey results completed by surgeons, anesthesiologist and nurses showed a very positive attitude. For example, all participants affirmed that they would like the checklist to be used in case they had to undergo surgery themselves.
Checklist adapted nationwide
Due to these convincing results, MoH quickly officially approved the checklist. The Cambodian “Safe Surgery List” is now to be used nationwide in all public hospitals where major surgery is performed. Two dissemination workshops in February 2013 marked the official nationwide roll-out. The 170 participating surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses of the according hospitals learned about the checklist, its use and expected effects. To enable them to train the staff in their institutions, they were provided with materials for training and dissemination.
Members of the advisory board took a very active role in this process. For example, their experience and expertise was applied to adapt the original WHO checklist to survey results and the local context and language. The board also provided the workshop audience with hands-on peer experience when presenting their results and answered critical questions related to content and handling of the checklist.
The checklist will be included in the up-dated CPA Guidelines, which define the role, function and service of public hospitals. An additional measure to ensure its national routine use will be the assessment of the checklists’ use during hospital assessment surveys. The monitoring and evaluation of the routine use this year will be supported by GIZ. These steps exemplify successful project cooperation.
The pilot was conducted by the QAO with technical support from a WHO officer and the integrated CIM-expert, funded by AusAID. Monitoring of its routine use in 2013 will be supported by GIZ.
Cambodia is now the 26th country worldwide and the 6th country in the WHO pacific region, which has implemented the checklist nationwide.
For more information on the Surgical Safety Checklist contact, Dr. Dominik Dietz, MPH, Quality Management Advisor, MoH, Hospital Service Department/ Quality Assurance Office (GIZ Social Health Protection Project)
Siem Reap, Cambodia – GIZ’s Regional Economic Development (RED) Green Belt Programme supports private and public sector partners in Siem Reap to strengthen the handicraft sector and improve the competitiveness of handicraft producers, particularly in rural areas.
In Siem Reap, handicraft production significantly contributes to the economic development of rural areas due to a winning combination of tourist volume and natural fiber processing industries. Today, handicraft production is one of the most important non-agricultural income opportunities in rural areas, particularly for low income and landless households.
However, most local producers face serious difficulties making full-use of their product’s potentials. Often, they struggle to enter national and international markets. The existence of basic business development services, an important precondition for improving the competitiveness of handicraft producers, is currently underdeveloped.
Angkor Handicraft Association provides essential institutional framework for handicraft entrepreneurs
In 2011, GIZ-RED Programme, in cooperation with the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Commerce, supported handicraft enterprises establish the Angkor Handicraft Association (AHA). Today, the non-profit business association represents the Siem Reap handicraft sector in private-public forums, such as Small and Medium Enterprise Private Sector Working Group meetings in Phnom Penh, that aim to improve the business climate in the handicraft sector.
AHA also offers important business development services to its members and implements various initiatives that strengthen the competitiveness of local handicraft producers. Meanwhile, AHA has grown from 15 founding members to its present 42 members.
GIZ-RED, and its programme partners, provide advice to AHA during the planning and implementation of AHA initiatives and assist with management and steering capacities of the association through trainings and seminars.
“Seal of Authenticity” promotes locally produced handicrafts
Each year tourists visiting the Angkor Wat temples in Siem Reap spend around USD100 million on souvenirs. Most tourists prefer locally produced handicraft products. Often, tourists are unable to distinguish local souvenir products from imported items. In order to make better use of the long-standing and untapped high demand for locally produced souvenir products AHA has introduced the “Seal of Authenticity.
The Seal guarantees that artisans from Siem Reap Province made the product. At present, 32 handicraft companies are using the Seal of Authenticity.
Design Competition” fosters the development of authentic souvenirs in Siem Reap
In 2012, AHA and its supporting partners, held the “1st Siem Reap Souvenir Design Competition”. The objective of the design competition is to facilitate links between university-level Cambodian design students and the handicraft sector. These links support the strengthening of product and design development. More than 100 participants developed souvenir designs in 5 different categories.
As 2012’s competition was a success, AHA is currently preparing for this year’s.
Providing market access for local handicraft producers – The Siem Reap Handicraft Trade Center and the AHA Souvenir Market
The recently opened Siem Reap Handicraft Trade Centre displays locally produced handicraft products from all handicraft sub-sectors in the area. The handicraft trade centre facilitates commercial connections between national and international traders and Siem Reap handicraft producers.
In addition to supporting the Siem Reap Handicraft Trade Centre, Angkor Handicraft Association (AHA) also provides trade related advice and services to Siem Reap handicraft enterprises and its national and international customers.
In 2012, AHA and its members jointly established the AHA Souvenir Market - the first and only Souvenir Market in Cambodia that displays only locally produced handicraft products. The market provides an additional trade platform for local handicraft producers, particularly for producers from rural areas who have limited access to customers.
Today’s young Cambodians did not experience the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror. Nonetheless, their generation is affected by the traumas of the past, which deeply mark Cambodian society.
Sun Py was nine years old when he was separated from his parents and three siblings in 1976. He survived the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime but suffered considerable distress as a result of losing his family and not knowing what had become of them. Thirty-four years later, Sun Py found those he had lost with the help of a TV programme. Cameras recorded the reunion, capturing the moment when he embraced his mother for the first time and broke down in tears. A year later Sun Py was interviewed by Ly You Y and Lay Rattana for their documentary film “Finding Lost Ones”. He told them: “I feel very happy, both physically and mentally.” He added: “I know my identity.” His mother, who had thought her son dead, described her relief: “I feel like I have recovered from all my illness.” One of the two film-makers who shot the documentary about Sun Py and others, Ly You Y, is 22 years old. That is the average age of the Cambodian population. Like more than 60% of her compatriots, she did not directly experience the Pol Pot dictatorship from 1975 to 1979. Even so, she was affected by it in a deeply personal way: “My mother lost three of her six brothers and sisters during that time,” the young woman explains. Ly You Y made her film in 2011 as part of her studies in the Department of Media and Communication (DMC) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. The project was supported by the Civil Peace Service (CPS) of GIZ. However, the film-maker had less luck than her main character. Her relatives are still missing: “We did everything we could to find them. But now we have no hope anymore.” They remain among the hundreds of thousands of people who disappeared without trace. For the TV programme “It’s not a Dream”, which reunited Sun Py with his family, Cambodian broadcaster Bayon reported receiving at least 20 missing persons enquiries a day.
Years of terror
Most people search in vain. An estimated 1.7 million fell victim to the Khmer Rouge. That was approximately a fifth of the population at the time. Men, women and children lost their lives in the “Killing Fields” or on death marches…
Minister of Women’s Affairs Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi and representatives from GIZ, line ministries, women’s organizations and other development partners participated on 21st May in a follow-up event on the remarkable agreement reached at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women to end violence against women and girls.
The historic 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women produced an agreement by 123 countries that paves the way for action to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide. Representatives from the Royal Government of Cambodia participated in this international conference held in New York in March 2013. GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’ supported Cambodian Delegation by setting up an internal process within the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to prepare inputs in a participatory manner and review progresses and challenges on the fight on violence against women and girls to be reported in the international forum.
As part of the follow-up event at Cambodian level organized on 21st May in Phnom Penh, Minister Phavi said “Cambodia will move forward with the Second National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women 2013-2017 in line with international standards and commitments such as the 57th Commission on the Status of Women. We will make sure that perpetrators are held accountable and that women survivors receive the necessary support. Further improvements will have to be made in critical areas, such as prevention and response to sexual violence, including rape and sexual harassment.”
In fact, the unique process to develop the Second National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women 2013-2017 was shown as one of the best Cambodian practices during the international conference held in New York. The referred process has involved women survivors of violence, civil society organizations –including women’s organizations-, line ministries and development partners who have participated in more than 10 consultations at national and sub-national level in the last year. This policy plan builds on the results and lessons learnt from the First Action Plan 2009-2012 and will come into force after final endorsement by the Council of Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the upcoming months.
Dr. Andreas Selmeci, Team Leader of the GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’, said during event “Interventions under the umbrella of the Second National Action Plan are expected to be more human-rights and gender responsive, more socially inclusive and more empowering. In addition, actions would target women who are at higher risk of sexist violence, such as garment factory workers, sex workers, women with disabilities, women living with HIV/AIDs, women from indigenous, ethnic or religious minorities, as well as lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people.”
Mr. Paul Keogh, Counsellor Development Cooperation of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), said during event “Violence against women is a significant human rights violation. It devastates lives, fractures communities and undermines good development. The Second NAPVAW is an example of the commitment and cooperation of the Royal Government of Cambodia with their partners to address this issue. Australia is very pleased to be working with Royal Government to help develop and implement this important initiative.”
Agreed conclusions of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women urge all countries to strengthen legal and policy frameworks, with important provisions on ending impunity of perpetrators, ensuring accountability and access to justice for women, as well as putting in place coordinated multisectoral services that respect confidentiality and the safety of women who suffer from gender-based violence.
“In March this year, the United Nations convened the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW),” noted United Nations Resident Coordinator Claire Van der Vaeren. “It offers global standards on actions to end violence against women, and Cambodia’s efforts are already in line with many of the Commission’s recommendations. The United Nations continues to support the Royal Government and development partners to prevent violence against women and girls, and to address the root causes– gender inequality and discrimination.”
In addition, H.E. Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior; Ms. Pok Panha Vichet, Executive Director of Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center; and Ms. Sok Panha, Executive Director of Banteay Srei, participated as well in the event to highlight national responses and challenges to eradicate violence against women and girls in Cambodia
For more information on GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’ please contact:
Mr. Rodrigo Montero Cano
Gender and Communications Advisor
Tel.: +855 129 237 71
All activities are implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
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