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Cambodia: Lessons Learned - Year 2004

Here are the main lessons learned from RHIYA Cambodia in 2004:

  •              Youth Ownership and Empowerment:  Initially,
    CARE’s  project  staff  had  difficulty  in  understanding  the
    need for youth ownership. Staff were trained in participatory techniques but initially reluctant to use them partly due to constraints of a traditionally hierarchical society. Young peer educators were also reluctant to assume responsibility out of deference to older staff members. This was overcome by focusing on advocacy efforts among youth and by formalizing their roles through the establishment of youth boards. Given responsibility for planning and budgets, peer educators gained a greater confidence in assuming their roles. By the year’s end, young people were involved in almost every aspect of project from planning and implementing health promotions to organizing activities in the centre. Peer educators had also taken the first steps to forming their own ASRH organiation. The media group CHEMS also found involving young people in the planning and implementation of its activities helped ensure that radio and soap opera content remained in touch with issues of most concern among the target audience, as well as developing their capacity to raise awareness at the community level.

  •               IEC materials: It was found that target groups, especially the less literate, often respond better to IEC materials featuring colored illustrations including drawings and photos rather than text.

  •               Coercision and non-consensual sex: Feedback during peer education sessions provided evidence of a form of ‘gang-rape’ of commercial sex workers (known locally as ‘Bowk’) being practiced among middle class youth at high school and university. CARE commissioned two pieces of operational research (see above) which confirmed this evidence and led to the formation of a Youth Non-Consensual Working Group being set-up among youth, NGO staff, donors and government representatives to advocate against GBV. Results were also fed into project design to focus on preventive efforts among the target group. High levels of prevalence and tolerance for coercion in sex amongst male youth, especially in and around the capital was also revealed in the baseline survey and constitute a key area for project focus.

Please find below all lessons learned from Cambodia partners (as described in Annual report 2004) :

UNFPA Cambodia Country Office: Increasing cohesion

CARE: Playing Safe & Sewing a Healthy Future II

FRIENDS: Building on Experience

CHEMS: Media Education to Improve Young Peoples Sexual & Reproductive Health in Cambodia

KHANA: Overcoming the Challenges: Improving Young Peoples Sexual & Reproductive Health

RHAC: Cambodia Adolescent Reproductive Health Project

Save the Children Australia: Sexual & Reproductive Health for Marginalised Adolescents

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