Training Workshop on Gender Equality and Domestic Violence to Khmer Krom

Venue: Takeo Red Cross Office. Held on Friday 13th March, 2015

Goal: Protect Khmer Krom women’s rights and participate in social and political activities in

their communities. Project Objective: To increase understanding about civil and political rights of children and women, and gender equality in Khmer Krom communities. Build the capacity of Khmer Krom women to advocate for their rights and to encourage Khmer Krom women to actively participate

in communal development and political decision making. Implementers: Minority Rights Organization (MIRO), Mr. SOURN Butmao, Executive Director, as a trainer, Mr. NOUN Sovanrith, Deputy Director as a trainer, Mrs. SUON Sovann, Project Officer as a trainer, Mr. MOM Mony, provincial staff of MIRO as a facilitator and training assistant .

Topic: Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Children’s rights, Advocacy skills, Gender Equality

and Domestic violence. 1 Participants: 25 participants were selected and invited to attend the workshop, five participants were men. 25 people showed up in the morning and in the afternoon as well. There was a whole range of ages, from 16-75, present in the group. It has to be noted that there were four small children who came to the workshop because their parents did not want to leave their children at home. Out of all the participants, six women were illiterate with the addition of two men. This means that about 70% of the participants were literate. All participants were Khmer Krom and came from two communities located in the Daun Keo town: Rokar Krauv commune (Thnal Bek and Trapeng Ang villages) and Rakar Knong commune (Lorry village).

Methodologies: There were deferent distinct methods of teaching. Mr. Noun Sovanrith used a more theoretical approach, he gave a lot of information about Human rights, women’s rights, child rights, advocacy skills and have time for participants to ask questions. Ms. Suon Sovann used a more interactive method by asking participants to stand around and encouraged the audience by asking many questions related to the lecture. She used the theoretical approach also, giving a lot of information about gender equality and domestic violence. She asked a lot of questions to participants before starting the lecture and finally encouraged interaction with the audience by asking many questions and involving them in the lecture, group discussions, where the participants shared their ideas or discussed what they knew depended on knowledge or their experiences. Ultimately, both lecturers encouraged everyone to brainstorm collectively and eventually wrote down all that was being said on big sheets of paper, which when filled up, were then hung up on the wall around the participants. Finally these sheets of paper were then rolled up and taken back by MIRO’s staff in order to use it as evaluating the lecture and inspiration for future lectures. Before the actual lectures and teachings started, a plastic folder was handed out to the participants. Each folder contained pens, a notebook, a lesson plan, an agenda, a daily timetable and various informative booklets on Indigenous women and men dealing with change: an introduction to gender analysis (HBF), domestic violence law (CDP), human and gender rights (ADHOC), optional protocol to the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination again women (OHCHR), gender view (GADC), etc. At the end of the workshop, a post test was conducted in order to get some feedback from participants on how effective the workshop was. The proceeding of the training: The workshop lasted one full day, from 08:00am to 17:00pm. The majority of the participants were very much glad to have been able to attend this workshop and expressed gratitude, as Khmer Krom people, to have the occasion to voice their concerns about their rights. Opening Speech by Mr. SOURM Butmao, Executive Director of MIRO: He opened up the day with welcome remark and thanked all the Khmer Krom participants for spending time to do the workshop. He briefly discussed the history of Minority Rights Organization (MIRO) and he explained why this workshop focused on Khmer Krom communities, especially for women. To have access to equal rights, gender equality, participate on decision making in their families and their communities, and to protect themselves from gender discrimination or domestic violence.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.46.03 PMButmao stressed how this workshop was specifically designed, so that the people become aware of their rights and how they can apply what they have learnt to other people in the community. He was introduced by Sovanrith, whom explained participants about human, women and child rights and discussed advocacy skills. He later went on to explain the importance of understanding the significance of gender equality and domestic violence, and introduced the trainer of MIRO, Suon Sovann, who was going to address the topic. A special thank you was made towards the donor, Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBF) After the welcoming speech of the Executive Director, Sovann used a game to introduce participants and get to know each other, by asking all participants to stand around, hold each other’s hand and introduce their names, ages, occupation, community they belong to and their expectation and hopes of the workshop. The game created some interaction between the participants and consequently established a positive atmosphere. This environment was created in order to help the participants feel comfortable enough to start sharing their opinions and personal stories. Before start the training, we were talking about rules of the study; participants should come on time, keep quiet, switch off their phones or put ring tone on silent, raise their hand up when they have a question and those who come late will have do everything by team order.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.48.15 PMSovanrith then explained the lecture concerning advocacy skills and ways to find their needs and concerns. This includes a letter of certificate from authority, land dispute, discrimination of Khmer Krom…etc. The concept and process of advocating was described as activities people conduct in order to influence the policy maker’s minds when attempting to make decisions which have an impact on their community. Five points for a successful advocacy process should be to make sure people attend events, be sure of the law, be responsible, conduct activities peacefully and have good representatives. Lobbying, protesting, distributing leaflets and having petitions were a couple of methods typically used when advocating.

Sovanrith continued to give his lecture on Human, Women and Child rights. He gave a general overview of human rights and then moved on to concentrating specifically to women’s rights and that of the child. Rights such as right to life, attain housing, freedom of expression and other fundamental rights. Rights which are more specific to children included: basic rights to life, education, food, health protection, water, identity, freedom and protection were explored. In the end the categories of civil and political rights, those of economic and social rights have been addressed. After the theoretical explanation of the rights of women and children, which are all rights that are interrelated to the general fundamentals of human rights, a brainstorming activity was conducted. There were two group discussions about: What kind of women right ? It was also explained that these rights are given to them not only by international laws, Cambodian Constitution as well.

Gender Equality and Domestic Violence by Suon Sovann, Project Officer: Sovann divided her day into having two lectures: one on gender equality, whilst the other was on domestic violence. She started her lecture by dividing the participants into three group discussions and had different questions for each group. Those questions were: what differences are there of women from men (physical)? What work that man do and women do? What work that all men and women can do? The discussion initiallystarted off with the simple physical aspects such as: men have beards and women do not, men have Adams’ apples and women do not, women can get pregnant and have breasts that men cannot, etc. This discussion finally resulted in the concept of gender equality being established. Sex is the physical attributes that a human being has, whilst it is used when one is speaking about attaining equality for both men and women. After having a group discussion, Sovann asked the participants of what differences there was between sex and gender. Participants answer was that sex cannot change while gender can change to a limited degree by society. The term of “gender equality” for young people was known more than by the older participants; it was interesting to see how state schools are actually educating girls about rights and gender equality. Participants stated that for men and women in Cambodia, there was no gender equality, because most women have to work outside the same men, but when back home women have a lot of work to do like cooking, look after children, wash the clothes for the family…, while some men rest and watch TV. It is the little differences such as this one that create a difference in attaining a job. After asking whether the participants knew what gender inequality was, to make sure that participants understood the lesson or not, they had an exercise and invited participants to use color stickers to put on which was sex and which was gender issues or topics. After that, we estimated their knowledge of those topics, most of them chose the correct answer. This inaccessibility of job position created a further rift from women in the community having a spokesperson who can help them out and voice their problems. Communities typically tend to be

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.56.27 PMconcentrated around men, given that the authority positions are taken by them also. So if women were to take up those positions their own problems would be of the concern of the community and therefore discrimination and injustice would not occur to them or would be reduced. After a finishing speech and discussing about gender equality, we started a new topic and focused on a domestic violence. Sovann asked a lot of questions: What is domestic violence? How many kinds of domestic violence are there?…etc. After that, we had a group discussion and divided into three groups. The question was: what are the conditions that cause domestic violence? An explanation was that domestic violence occurs no matter what the social class of the victims belongs to and that there are many different types of ways of classifying domestic violence. Domestic violence was explained as having three elements at its base: acts, violence and family. After this base was established there were four major categories of differentiation of abuses, which were: physical, sexual, economic and psychological. To take measures and control domestic violence, local authorities and police should pay attention before and during domestic violence has happened. The participants afterwards were informed that such violence or abuse that happens within the family is what differentiates it from the more general violence. The speech was about how the government does indeed provide protection under the law for the victims of domestic violence, however there is a gap and a lack of efficiency of the implementations of such measures. At the end of lecture, three participants raised questions and comments: Mr. Sam Soman asked a question, if domestic violence happened and used a weapon or knife, who can help them? Ms. Toek Ra has a problem with her son in law, when he is drunk he curses at her and his wife, who can help her with this problem? Ms. Pov Saem complained about land abuse from rich people. Having heard these stories, it encouraged women to really take a stand to an unjust situation and showed them the realities they might face if nothing was going to be done. Closing speech: At the end of the day Mr. Yim Chanthan, Executive Director of Cambodian Red cross Takeo Branch, gave a speech about how to understand the right of life, and should be continued to be distributed to people in community to know to improve their community’s quality of life. If people knew about human rights, they can complain when they are met with a problem in their community, like about land abuses, violence, corruption…ect. He commented that the training workshop was very important for Khmer Krom people to understand and learn about human, women and child rights, they should take all that was learned in the workshop and actually implement it in their daily lives. He also encouraged women to be empowered for the construction of a better community. His comments about domestic violence were that it should be reduced, because when it occurs whole families suffer as the may mother die, the father could be put in prison and the children become orphaned. In order to construct this better community, based off of the principles of gender equality, the movement and actions must come from the  women in the community themselves. A final thank you was given to the participants, the MIRO staff, and the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation for having funded the workshop.


1. 18 participants were interested in the following topics: Human rights, women rights, gender equality, domestic violence, advocacy skills and child rights. 7 participants were less interested in the following topics: Human rights, women rights and advocacy skill.

2. 20 participants understood the topics whereas 5 participants understood only a little, especially about domestic violence, advocacy skill and child rights.

3. MIRO’s next workshop should focus on women rights, gender equality, child rights and advocacy skills and domestic violence.

4. 22 participants were satisfied with the material, facilitation, capacity of the trainers, and training methodologies. 3 were not so much satisfied with the material and facilitation.

5. Recommendation of participants: 1- provide more training about gender equality, and domestic violence and human rights 2- provide more training for new people . 3-should have a workshop often training the same subjects.

6. Conclusion based on the evaluations: All participants showed strong interest in the topic presented, they will bring their knowledge and a lot of documents to distribute to people in community that they know and are able to read. They appreciate it and will share their new knowledge in their communities and practice it when cases of domestic violence take place in the communities.

Conclusion: All participants showed strong interest in the topic of present, good presentation and explanation using illustrations and pictures, making it easier for them to understand well. They thought these were very useful topics; they will share their new knowledge to their family and neighbors and practice it when they have a problem, such as domestic violence, discrimination and other cases that take place in the communities.