Strey Khmer was created in 2005 by women from all sections of society and professional backgrounds – teachers, students, doctors and activists – who saw a crucial need to promote the participation of women in society to enable them to have a proactive role in the reconstruction of Cambodia. Strey Khmer’s Mission is to provide resources and educational and logistical support to women who face barriers to the full realization of their basic human rights, including the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to good health and the right to be safe and free from harm. Part of this mission is to build women’s networks to support female leaders in each community to represent and advocate for the needs of their communities and society as a whole.
Strey Khmer’s current team consists of a Director, a Programmes Manager and a Finance Officer who make up the core Management Team; alongside an administration and finance assistant and project delivery staff who support the delivery of the ‘Women’s Voices, Women’s Choices’ radio programme and more than 40 Listener Clubs in over half the Provinces in Cambodia; the Economic Empowerment programme of work in Battambang Province (mushroom growing and cattle projects); Strey Khmer’s Women’s Leadership Training and Young Khmer Women’s Intern Project and the Crisis Support project which targets women who have been forcefully evicted from their homes and land alongside women affected by climate change and flooding.
Strey Khmer is unique amongst women’s organisations in Cambodia in that one of the main focuses of our work is providing practical and advocacy support for women who are victims of State Based Violence. We lobby and campaign to get the issue recognised and included within national and international Violence Against Women Agendas (NearyRattanak IV, the NAPVAW and CEDAW); and support women who are protesting and campaigning against forced evictions and illegal land grabs – many of whom have suffered extreme violence at the hands of the police, local authorities and private security personnel from the companies that have ‘purchased’ their land; and some of whom have been imprisoned for taking part in demonstrations and protests when they’ve lost their homes and livelihoods. We are keen to work more closely with the women from the four target areas where we conducted our research ‘They Took My Land, They Took My Life’ (which examined the psychological and emotional impacts of forced evictions and land-grabs on the women involved), to explore how we can take forward some of the recommendations from that report which include exploring economic empowerment opportunities for women who have lost their livelihoods and facilitating them to advocate for their rights.
More recently, Strey Khmer has been working with a network of women’s organisations (especially young women) to raise awareness of the issue of sexual violence in Cambodia and the lack of services across the country. Currently we are undertaking a mapping survey to determine the prevalence and responses women and girls receive when seeking support. We will also commence some training and capacity building to strengthen existing women’s organisations to provide appropriate support whilst also supporting the development of additional service provision to tackle the dire lack of services in both urban and rural areas. As part of this work, we will also be supporting the government (Ministry of Women’s Affairs) to highlight the issues, challenge the tolerance of sexual violence in Cambodia and develop a sexual violence framework and implementation plan to support its delivery.