Four training sessions were organized on the use of Ushahidi and Gender Based Violence (GBV) data collection, on December 18th and 26th, 27th and 28th. They were attended by 108 commune/sangkat councilors and members of commune/sangkat committees in charge of women and children in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom province. Among them were 54 women. The training was co-organized by the National League of Commune/Sangkat, the Open Institute, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Women Affairs.
The aim of these training sessions was three-fold: encouraging and strengthening the use of ICTs to report incidences of GBV by commune/Sangkat councilors and track responses; increasing awareness of GBV and of response mechanisms; supporting service providers with prevention responses to GBV. Thus, these training sessions will strengthen the capacity of women's right organizations, councilors, service providers and legal support groups to collect and use data relative to GBV by survey questionnaire. Commune/Sangkat Committees in charge of Women and Children play a key role in collecting data and reporting on GBV cases, making them the main target group for these training sessions. Strengthening data collection will also help the government to implement response mechanisms to GBV. After the training, the trained councilors are expected to collect data on GBV happened in their own community, based on the questionnaire provided, for a survey on GBV focus in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces. This survey is conducted by the National League of Commune/Sangkat, the Open Institute, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Women Affairs.
In her introductory speech, Ms. Chim Manavy, Executive Director of the Open Institute, emphasized that Violence Against Women, as a form of GBV, is a key development constraint, as the physical and psychological harm experienced limits women's ability to participate fully in economic, social and political processes. Ms. Ket Mardy, the Legal Protection department Director in the Ministry of Women's Affairs, stressed that unequal power relations between men and women are perpetuated because women are unable to exercise their rights on an equal basis with men. These remarks point out the need to tackle GBV issues, still prevalent.
Ms. Ket Mardy continued, improving councilors' capacity to collect data on incidences of GBV and send them to the Open Institute helps increasing the quantity of available information on GBV, which is crucial for policy-making. Conducting a survey on incidences of GBV has helped implementing women policies and laws, such as the National Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Prevention of Victims and Neary Rattanak III. Strengthening data collection and use will therefore help draft and evaluate the implementation of national plans.
The cooperation between the Open Institute and the Ministry of Women's Affairs, emphasized by Ms. Ket Mardy, makes the trainings organized by the Open Institute particularly relevant: the trainings organized by the Open Institute focus on capacity-building for data collection on GBV, so the results of the questionnaire surveys will be useful for policy-makers in the drafting, implementation and evaluation of strategies against GBV. The timing is particularly adequate as, this year, a new Strategic Plan, Neary Rattak IV, as well as the Cambodia National Action Plan to Prevent Violence on Women, will be developed by the Ministry of Women's Affairs.
The training sessions generated significant interest about the GBV projects from the participants. Firstly, they came to fully grasp the different meanings of GBV and DV. It was also the first time they used the Ushahidi and the training provided them with crucial tools to visualize and track incidences of GBV, which will also help raise awareness among the population. It was also the opportunity for the participants to share data, based on reports and statistics, about GBV.
This opinion was expressed among others by Ms. Kim Ly, the Chief Councilor of Takork Commune in Battambang, who pointed out that the training helped her acquire knowledge about GBV questionnaire and the way to promote understanding of it in her commune. As for Mr. Chdang Ngyuon Heng, the Councilor of Jaksa Sangha Commune of Siem Reap, such training was new and it will help the victims and reduce the incidence of GBV in his community.
These trainings are one among other activities of the Gender Based Violence project, a joint project between the Association of Progressive Communication (APC), and the Open Institute funded by the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER).
For more detail and article in Khmer language, please visit at http://www.women.open.org.kh/km/ushahidi-training-report