ICC-VOTC Project

What is ICC-VOTC Project?

photo by VOTC

The ICC-VOTC development goal is: Children are living in a safe environment where adults value, include and protect them, and children are developing to their full potential.

VOTC = Voice Of The Children

What need is ICC-VOTC Project meeting?

Cambodia is comprised primarily of young people. Approximately 32.6 percent of the population is under the age of 15 years, and more than 50 percent are under 21 years old. The majority of the Cambodian population is still poor, and live from "hand to mouth". Many parents see no other option than to use their children for daily work. Children are not traditionally included in the decision making even that issue is related to the children themselves. Therefore, Cambodia is well-known for child labour conflicting with the labour law. Children are being denied education so that they from a young age can work e.g. at brick factories and garment factories. In worse cases children are being exploited in the sex-industry and modern-day slavery. And in the worst case they are being trafficked. Power factor is money, and lack of enforcement of laws and policies.

Many Cambodian proverbs reinforce the idea that children are less valuable than adults. These proverbs are still spoken today even with the consequences of limitations to their children's development. "The cake is never bigger than the baking tin" was said to illustrate the fact that children should not surpass their parents, and "Bend the iron while the steel is hot" means that children should be disciplined early in life by adults.

The problem with the last proverb is that disciplining children in Cambodia does not always fall within the UN Convention's Rights of a Child which 194 countries have ratified and adopted into their domestic laws, including Cambodia.

The survey, "Speak Out" showed that only 14 percent of children in Cambodia felt "very safe".

The ICC-VOTC Project believes that each child is unique and should be able to exercise their full rights. Children are Cambodia's greatest and most sustainable assets. To invest in them is to invest in Cambodia's future.

In what ways does ICC-VOTC work?

photo by VOTC

ICC-VOTC has worked related to Child Rights and Child Protection since 2009 until present. VOTC has empowered and equipped families, churches, communities and partner NGOs in areas of Parenting Skills, Child Rights and Child Protection. The Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) principle is applied in each activity that VOTC conducts. All participants are equipped and assisted to pass on their learning to people in their own families, surrounding communities and the target groups that they are working with.

VOTC sees significant changes toward the project goal. Each church and NGO has created and signed their own Child Protection Policy on how they want to uphold the rights for children and how to protect the children around them. Now they do not hesitate to share their new learning and experiences and to put their new learning into practices (KAP).

Target church leaders are showing unity and feel confident to cooperate with the local authorities and partner NGOs by intervening and protecting children from being abused.

photo by VOTC

The key church leaders together with other actors from the civil society have laid the foundation for Community Based Organisation (CBO) to protect and speak on behalf of the children in their own churches and surrounding communities. This foundation has helped the children to have a safer environment and a pathway to gaining respect and value from people living around them. This model is continued being built up during VOTC3 (2016-2018) in order to create a Child Protection Committee (CPC) as a CBO in each village where VOTC3 works.

VOTC will achieve its goal and objectives through these implementing strategies:
(1) Expand and teach the VOTC curriculum to more/new villages in the target provinces
(2) To empower church leaders to use their power and position to collaborate with local authorities and government schools to ensure safety and protection for children, and law enforcement
(3) Involve children directly as right holders via training about child rights, creation of safe environments for children, and child participation
(4) Empower the target church leaders to envisioning the setup of the CPC in collaboration with other civil society actors, and coach them on group formation.

What are the hopes of ICC-VOTC Project?

photo by VOTC

By networking and speaking on behalf of children, through planting seeds of knowledge and change in the civil society, the VOTC Project hopes to see a change in the way families bring up their children. This in turn, will positively affect the way children will bring up the next generation. VOTC envisions this program impacting positively upon the future of the nation of Cambodia as well in other parts of Asia.

The ICC-VOTC Project hopes to promote greater awareness about children and their rights, so that communities will become safer places for children. Greater respect for human rights generally, and children specifically, will contribute to the development of trust, which is an essential element in community development, civil society and economic progress.