Workshop on Connecting Girls Inspiring the Future

Workshop on “Connecting Girls, Inspiring the Future”
Chhay Daroth (UCSS)

The University of Cambodia Cambodian Red Cross Youth (UCCRCY), in collaboration with the UC Student Senate (UCSS), conducted a workshop on “Connecting Girls, Inspiring the Future” to commemorate the 101st Anniversary of International Women’s Rights Day on March 7, 2012 at the UC Conference Center.

The workshop was hosted by Mrs. Por Malis, UC Vice-President for Operations, and honored by the presence of H.E. Mrs. Khim Chamroeun, Secretary of State, Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MWA) and Mr. Ou Ratanak, Executive Director of People Health Development (PHD) Association. Members of the UC management team, NGO officers, Red Cross Youth from Cambodian Mekong University (CMU) and about 120 UC students were also in attendance.

This was the second workshop organized by UCCRCY. It was held to highlight the day celebrating women’s struggle to claim their rights, and it was also to send the message to all women that they are the cells of society and they are the backbone of the economy, so they need to be strong and courageous to ensure their rights. Sann Sethvitou, UCCRCY President, noted that this is consistent with the policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia, which has the MWA as the main actor in promoting gender equality and the general understanding about women’s rights by the public and particularly by students.

In her address, H.E. Khim Chamroeun noted some of the many activities done by women which men cannot do. Thus only women can bear babies, and so if we promote and take care of girls, they will become great mothers in the future. Those mothers are the ones who stay very close to children, and they are the first teachers of those children. When children grow up with mothers who have enough understanding and knowledge, their future will be inspired. She quoted the Khmer proverb that men are like pure gold, but women are like white cloth. That means women are easily affected by many activities rather than men. Therefore, the five-year strategy Neary Rattanak of her Ministry is to convert all that white cloth into diamonds for Cambodian society.

Mr. Ou Ratanak said the proportion of girls in Cambodia entering schools is still low compared to boys. On the other hand, there has been a notable positive change during the last few years on the involvement of women in the political sector resulting from the state’s complying with the 1993 Constitution stating about equal rights between men and women.

Mrs. Por Malis also noted that the event was to remind about women demanding for equality, peace, and recognition of their value in promoting the family and society. On behalf of UC, she expressed her sincerest appreciations to MWA and PHD for their meaningful presence and to the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) for permitting UC students to become CRC Youth and have the chance to serve society including by marking this event.

Chanpheakdey Nuon, a UCSS member, expressed his opinion that it was a very interesting and meaningful workshop. It provided a lot of essential knowledge about gender equality and helped promote the respect for women. A special educational role-play and question-and-answer stage also made the event much more interesting and meaningful. He added, “It provided a lot of necessary information to me, more than what I had expected.”

Khan Sokummono, the Student Project Manager, said that successfully organizing this project had made her feel much more confident. “This new project has taught me a lot of new knowledge and experiences that cannot be learned in the classroom,” she said. “I learned about applying teamwork and leadership skills … I used to learn only the theory in class.” She learned how to write a project proposal, prepare a budget plan, and other administrative work required to run the project. “In my opinion, team spirit is the most important factor to success because we cannot work alone from the start until the end,” said Mono. A strong leadership, knowing how to motivate people to do the specific works. Finally, having a good network is also necessary when we need support, she added.

Her last message to other student leaders is that to avoid mistakes and confusion over the roles of each member involved, the leader needs to make sure that they are assigned clear and specific duties. After that, they should keep contact with all members related to the project and inspire in them the spirit of teamwork. Where necessary, they should seek advice from people experienced with such tasks.

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