Raise awareness on sexual and reproductive health and disability inclusion in communities

IMG_678108 August 2017

“Because I have a disability people think I cannot start a family.”
This statement reflects the experiences of men and women with disabilities in their villages and communities. Social stigma and prejudices constitute significant barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care information and services for persons with disabilities. One of the goals of the GIZ Improving Maternal and Newborn Care Project is to reduce those barriers. Ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal rights is a key principle of German development policy. To do so, the project partnered with Epic Arts, a local NGO that is committed to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities through arts.

To eliminate the misconception that persons with disabilities are less capable than non-disabled people, and emphasize that they have the same sexual and reproductive health rights and needs, Epic Arts carried out five “I Can” workshops in March 2017. They were conducted in selected villages in Kampot, Kep, and Kampong Speu, and reached 126 participants in total. These included men and women with disabilities, community members, and local authorities and decision-makers.

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Each one-day workshop started with persons with disabilities sharing about barriers they face in daily life. During those discussions, popular misconceptions and negative attitudes towards persons with disabilities were identified. For example, it is commonly believed that persons with disabilities cannot have relationships, are not capable of going to school or having their own businesses. However, for participants it was clear that those assumptions are wrong, and that they are indeed equal right holders in the society.

Some participants got the chance to study and rehearse a short dance performance, which was delivered to village members in the afternoon. In addition, the collected feedback from the morning discussions was presented to local decision makers such as village chiefs, commune council leaders and health centre chiefs. They acknowledged that men and women with disabilities are equal members of the society and can get married and have children. When asked what kind of support they can provide to overcome inclusion barriers, local authorities pledged to counsel communities and families of persons with disabilities and to defend the right to free health care access for persons with disabilities. Furthermore, they agreed to emphasize the importance of sending children with disabilities to schools, advising families accordingly.

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“Training on Counseling and Psycho-Social Interventions for substance abusing clients”

Photo_126 July 2017

The Department of Psychology (DP) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHSA) at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital opened a new chapter of collaboration this week.

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“Training on Counseling and Psycho-Social Interventions for substance abusing clients”

Photo_126 July 2017

The Department of Psychology (DP) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHSA) at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital opened a new chapter of collaboration this week.

A10-week training for psychiatric staff (psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and nurses) at the hospital will equip the 12 participants in order to address the need for suitable services for drug users particularly on providing evident-based psychological interventions. Dr Ean Nil, a Clinical Psychologist and lecturer from the DP, has been working on the development of the training manual to deliver a tailored training for the present situation in Cambodia. He will conduct the training at the hospital with assistance from students of the DP’s Master Program in “Clinical and Counseling Psychology”.

Students of this program will benefit from the collaboration as they will get the opportunity clinical internships at the clinic. The training is funded by GIZ’s Civil Peace Service program as a part of its long term collaboration with the Department of Psychology.

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Interaction between Local Governments and Citizens: The Dissemination and Consultative Forum Season started

 

Banon113 July 2017

Dissemination and Consultative (D&C) Fora aim to promote local social and economic development and alleviate poverty through greater democracy. Holding at least one D&C Forum in June or July every year, councils shall promote accountability, transparency and civic engagement within their jurisdictions. Specifically, D&C Fora aim to inform citizens about the council’s achievements and challenges as well as its priorities for the following year. More >>>

Interaction between Local Governments and Citizens: The Dissemination and Consultative Forum Season started

Banon113 July 2017

Dissemination and Consultative (D&C) Fora aim to promote local social and economic development and alleviate poverty through greater democracy. Holding at least one D&C Forum in June or July every year, councils shall promote accountability, transparency and civic engagement within their jurisdictions. Specifically, D&C Fora aim to inform citizens about the council’s achievements and challenges as well as its priorities for the following year. Moreover, they provide citizens with opportunities to make requests to line office representatives and commune councillors, discuss district council reports, and make recommendations or proposals for further council discussions. By taking into account the needs voiced directly by their citizens, the government aims to enhance local responsibility and effectiveness of public service delivery.

The European Union Project for Decentralisation and Administrative Reform (EU DAR) which is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), co-funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports selected partner councils in Kandal and Battambang in conducting their annual D&C Fora.

Banon

At a forum in a commune in Banan District, Battambang, the district governor and council chairperson gave a very brief but precise overview of their achievements within the last 12 months. Furthermore, they encouraged all citizens to raise their questions, give comments and actively interact with the different government officials. Without any reluctance, citizens shared concerns related to food prices, electrification, infrastructure development, illegal fishing and commune safety. One older woman raised her concern that she was always treated unfriendly when visiting the health center. The respective representative accepted her complaint and promised to bring back her feedback to the health center staff. Another citizen raised a concern about drug abuse in her commune. The local police officer offered to help and shared his private phone number to be called once the problem would arise again. Requiring coordination between the district administration and additional authorities, other issues could not be tackled directly at the forum. However, the district governor promised that the remaining issues will be discussed in the upcoming council meetings and that mechanisms will be identified to solve them. Last but not least, district authorities introduced the new opposition party commune council chief and the new opposition commune council members. All representatives from district and commune level highlighted their commitment to work closely with each other during the new mandate in order to adequately serve citizens and deliver better services.

 In the upcoming months, the EU DAR advisors in Kandal and Battambang will advise and coach their partner districts’ councils and administrations on how to address the issues raised by citizens during the fora. Good practices will be developed and up-scaled to other district councils and administrations facing similar challenges.

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All activities are implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).