Life Skill Training: Building Student Capacity

By Din Kanha, UCSA President

Gender mainstreaming, a strategy for promoting gender equality, is not yet widely known in Cambodia. Some cultural traditions create gender bias and separate roles for men and women. The Royal Government of Cambodia, the United Nations (UN), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are trying to change the gender perspectives in order to have gender equality. They also hope to end domestic violence or gender-based violence, and to stop all types of discrimination against women.

The University of Cambodia (UC) works in cooperation with People Health Development Association (PHD), whose partner is Care International Cambodia and which is supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Twenty UC students attended a Life Skill Training workshop on August 25-27 in the Angkor Touch room at UC. This program was called, “Men Engagement to Stop Violence Against Women.”

The opening ceremony started with a welcome speech by Mr. Ou Rathanak, PHD president, and Mrs. Por Malis, UC’s Vice President for Operations. Mr. Sok Socheat, a PHD programmer, gave a useful speech that highlighted his experiences and attracted student interest.

“Besides studying at school, you can join life skill training courses to get some experiences which will be valuable for the workplace,” Mr. Sok said.
During the ceremony, Ms. Kong Rathana, University’s Registrar and Deputy Director of Administration at UC. shared her appreciation for students who took part in this program.

For the next three days, we studied the topic, “Gender, Gender Based Violence, Masculinity, Reproductive Health, and Sexual Reproductive Health.” We were very interested in the training program and were very attentive to sharing ideas and participating in group discussions. Furthermore, the presenters were experts and friendly, so we felt comfortable working with them.

In short, the training course was meaningful not only to the participants and UC students, but also to society. At the closing ceremony, the trainees had to vote to choose UC Peer Face to Face’s leader, who would be in charge of pursuing our mission. We named our group UCSA, which stands for University of Cambodia Student Activists. It means that we are not only good students, but also good citizens who are involved in societal activities that help to develop our country. UC Peer Face to Face’s activities can promote UC as well.

UC Peer Face to Face is required to fulfill the following duties: distribute information from PHD to UC students; organize the Life Skills Training for UC students; and submit reports and join any PHD organized programs (e.g., meeting, campaigns, etc.)
On October 24, 2010, UC Peer Face to Face organized the training workshop, “Gender and Culture,” for UC students. The workshop was held in the Phreah Khan room. Many students wanted to join this workshop, so we divided into two groups, a morning session and an afternoon session.
After the training, participants will be able to:

• Analyze the difference between gender
and sex;
• Understand that gender awareness in
Cambodia is based on culture; and
• Understand the meaning of gender
discrimination and gender equality.
The students paid attention during the workshop because the topic was important to them.
“I can examine the difference between gender and sex. And, I am aware of the role of gender. It is significant for our society,” said by Kimsron Sreydavy, an undergraduate student who is holding a full scholarship from UC.

Pov Nara, a scholarship student in the College of Arts and Humanities, was also interested in this course and said, “Whenever we know about these concepts, we will perform well in society.”
The life skill training is very helpful for people in society. We can learn how to interact well with one another. Lives that are full of happiness help society progress.