Working with the least-served people Empowering target-group

Violence and abuse against children exist in every country in the world, across culture, class, education, income and ethnic origin. Cambodia is no exception. More than half of all Cambodian children reported some form of physical violence; one-quarter of Cambodian children are emotionally abused while growing up. About 5% of both females and males aged 13 to 24, reported some form of sexual abuse prior to age 18. Action is needed, and it is encouraging to see that groups of local people in local communities are stepping up for child protection. The power of a united people, who share a common passion for child protection, cannot be ignored. An example of such people working in unity is the Child Protection Committee (CPC), where children, youth, parents and religious leaders come together working to combat child abuse and neglect.

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ICC is not only serving Cambodians and local communities in order for them to escape poverty, but is also working towards improving their quality of life. Conventions and laws in Cambodia form the framework for bringing quality to people's lives through rights and justice. But this is not enough. Cambodians themselves need to contribute too by applying core values and norms, which will shape culture in Cambodia. Some of the values ICC likes to see included in the Cambodia culture are love, care and togetherness. In some of ICC's target communities villagers are now practicing this within their village and to neighbouring villages.

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30 million jobs are required every year for new entrants to the labour market to keep up with the growth of the global working age population, according to the United Nations. This is felt in Cambodia too, and a high number of young people seek to migrate for work. One young man from the target area of ICC Trafficking Response project in Preah Sdach district was almost cheated into illegal migration, due to his dream of improving his family's living standards.

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A group of regular rice-farmers in Svay Rieng province feel proud of themselves, because they have just completed the process of planning and setting up their own Agriculture Cooperative, based on regulations set by the government. The Agriculture Cooperative is now a reality, which will benefit farmers in various ways, and at the same time give status to the farmers. As the group of farmers expresses: "An Agriculture Cooperative is the legal framework for farmers in Cambodia, which give us confidence in our profession, and at the same time we are being recognised by the government".

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"Good Governance" has for years been a buzzword in developing countries - and also in Cambodia. In the current National Strategic Development Plan 2014-2018, developed by the Cambodian government, Good Governance is a key strategy followed by a number of action plans. The National Strategic Development Plan 2014-2018 is now being implemented on all levels of the state sector, including at commune level in Ratanakiri province. However, two Commune Councils in Ratanakiri have chosen to improve their Good Governance with assistance from ICC, and requested the ICC's team in Ratanakiri to organise a workshop for them on Good Governance.

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β€œIt is not like in other villages, because there is a Child Protection Committee in our village. You can report any concerns to me, because I am one of the committee-members.” This statement was made by a Buddhist leader, as he assisted and gave blessings during a Buddhist ceremony. Religious leaders are very important and respected people in Cambodian society, and role-models to many people.

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In the world there are many children who for various reasons are not receiving sufficient food, basic education, safe shelter, and protection from violence and abuse. This is not only sad - but wrong. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child all children have the right to food, education, shelter, protection, and other basic rights. This includes children in Cambodia, because the Cambodian government has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Cambodian government is working towards fulfilment of the Convention, and one step is the setup of Commune Committees for Women and Children (CCWC) throughout the country. During May to July ICC conducted a study about the functioning of the CCWC structure and the possibility for collaboration.

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