Strey Khmer was established in 1998 and was officially registered with the Ministry of Interior 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 Key Achievements
Community Health Care for the Urban Poor
From 2005 to 2008 Strey Khmer partnered with Lotus Outreach International, a children’s rights organization, on a community health project that focused on public information and advocacy campaigns for garment factory workers and urban women in Phnom Penh who are often denied access to health care services because of their socioeconomic status. The campaign focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, maternity care and birth control, trafficking prevention for children and youth, basic hygiene and issues of domestic violence. In the three year period, Strey Khmer provided urban women in Phnom Penh over 2,178 services including medical check-ups and diagnoses, medication, contraception and vitamins.
Factories selected for inclusion in the programme were visited regularly to provide follow-up visits to women as necessary.
With funding from Women Against Violence Everywhere (WAVE), Strey Khmer has established and maintained nine safe houses for women victims of domestic violence living in the rubber plantation communities of Kampong Cham Province. From 2007-2009, cases of reported domestic violence in these areas have dropped by more than half, from over 90 to less than 40. In addition to operating the Safe Houses, Strey Khmer began an educational and outreach programme to raise awareness about domestic violence and explore alternative dispute resolution. Cooperating with local authorities we educate the community at large about legislation and other UN Conventions that protect the rights of women in these very remote and high-risk areas. WAVE continued to support this project through 2011, allowing Strey Khmer to establish one more Safe House in Battambang province that continues to help women victims of gender-based violence.
Devi Micro-Business for Women
Strey Khmer has also worked assertively to promote economic empowerment of women at the grassroots level through one of our major programmes, DEVI Micro-Business for Women. Started in 2009, the programme now consists of approximately 30 Cambodian women from poorer economic backgrounds in Kampot, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang who have been trained and are now involved on an on-going basis in the different processes of the project including production, sales and business development.
The number of women and families Strey Khmer worked with throughout the project increased. They can now use excess profits for daily expenses and education for their children. Due to its success, the project has been able to sustain itself entirely through a successful Business Plan and marketing approach.
Training and Advocacy Programme
The Project coordinates women to take part in Leadership and Transformative Community Workshops that encourage community members and civil society groups to work together towards social accountability and to define their own agenda for development.
Strey Khmer conducts forums and provides crucial trainings to women and youth in the communities including: leadership, women’s rights and understanding CEDAW, land rights, advocacy, safe migration and violence against women issues.
Our radio programme – ‘Women’s Voices, Women’s Choices’ (WV-WC) – was started in March 2010. Strey Khmer believes the WV-WC is a critical tool for providing opportunities for women and youth leaders who have received training to unite with other affected communities in the fight against a range of issues including the illegal land grabs which is the biggest issues effecting Cambodian people at the this time. The more that grassroots women’s voices are heard, the more power women who fight for justice have, and the greater ability they have to use the media to call upon even more women to organize and to take action against injustice.
WV-WC radio programme airs every Saturday on AM918 KHz with topics focused on women and youth participation in politics. Within each week’s programme, there will be subtopics incorporated that cover issues affecting Cambodians at the commune and village level. Very often, women in leadership will be invited in to talk about their experiences and listeners are able to call in to discuss the issues raised.
- We received 151 callers during the live broadcasts from March 2010 to December 2010, of which, for timing reasons, 70 were connected for direct discussion with our facilitators and guest speakers.
- We have formed a total of 49 listener clubs in all of our broadcasting venues throughout various provinces across Cambodia.
Women’s Legal Assistance Project
In 2010 we also began our informal Women’s Legal Assistance Project that provides legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual violence and land-grabbing, among many others. We help to provide resources to women who are not aware of the laws in place to protect them, as well as assisting them in how to file official complaints and signposting them to other professionals as appropriate. We hope that through our assistance, women are better protected and the courts will enforce their laws more effectively.
Strey Khmer has also worked on a number of Research Projects including the social, economical and physical impact on migrant workers in Battambang Province and another on Land Rights. Another research project will be undertaken this year to look at the psychological, emotional and economical impact of forced evictions on women.