Support to Female Councillors in Kampong Chhnang and Battambang "Helping to get their Voice Heard - Strengthening elected Female Councillors"
- ជំពូកមេ៖ Media Center
- បានបង្កើតនា ច័ន្ទ, 15 កក្កដា 2013 09:03
- កែចុងក្រោយនៅ អង្គារ, 16 កក្កដា 2013 03:30
Since 2002, Cambodian citizens have directly elected commune councils. In 2009, indirectly elected provincial, municipal, and district councils were also established. Female councillors are still strongly underrepresented in these councils at all levels, and they face many challenges. Their minority position, lack of experience of appearing in public, and multiple work burdens, as well as open and subtle forms of discrimination on the part of male councillors, administrators and citizens, impede their professional performance. Moreover, when they engage in political decision-making processes, they are mostly expected to restrict themselves to typical "women’s issues", such as childcare, women’s and children’s health, children’s education and not to deal with topics such as budgets and infrastructure.
As a result, female councillors’ voices, perspectives and interests are still underrepresented and the aim of female councillors’ actively participating in political decision-making is only partially realized.
As part of Cambodia’s ongoing Sub-National Democratic Development (SNDD) reform, NCDD-S cooperates with the GIZ-implemented EU Programme for Strengthening Performance, Accountability and Civic Engagement (EU SPACE) in developing capacities of female councillors in Battambang and Kampong Chhnang provinces to deal with such challenges. In this regard, an approach is developed and tested that aims at strengthening the technical and soft behavioural skills of these women and establishing communication networks to build their confidence and self-help capacities.
In both provinces, all female councillors from Provincial, District and Municipal councils are involved in these cooperation activities of NCDD-S and EU SPACE — in total 17 in Kampong Chhnang and 27 in Battambang. It has the following key components:
- A series of training courses on both technical (informed decision-making, proposal preparation) and behavioural skills (advocacy, public speaking, facilitation). The training aims at strengthening their skills and knowledge to enable them to tackle issues and articulate their interests — e.g. in monthly council meetings — and to share information, knowledge and practical experiences among their peers.
- Workshops to assist them in analyzing their situation and seeing the potentials and benefits of improved networking and cooperation.
Among all targeted female councillors, strong improvements in self-confidence and in performing their roles as citizen representatives are being observed by the female councillors themselves, by male councillors working with them, and many other people around them, including their families. Developing the capacity of these 44 women has the potential to significantly contribute to gender equality and overall development in the two target provinces.
This can also be seen from various self-evaluation statements of participants during a workshop in November/December 2012:
- "Now I can make my voice heard in meetings, and I can encourage other members to share their ideas."
- "I am now able to prepare speeches. In addition, I am able to prepare proposals for councillors to discuss in council meetings."
- "Now I am more knowledgeable and can convince male councillors to recognize the capacity of female councillors."
- "I used to be short-tempered and didn’t accept others’ ideas, but now I observe myself being more open and understanding others’ feelings. Moreover, I know how to advocate for my ideas and have more confidence in giving public speeches."
- "Before attending the workshops I was afraid to facilitate the Women’s and Children’s Consultative Committee meeting because I thought the participants were educated and had more experience. Now, after the workshop I have more confidence in facilitating a WCCC meeting."
The support activities to strengthen Female Councillors in Kampong Chhnang and Battambang occupy a valuable niche in the ongoing SNDD reform programme, making a significant contribution to its goal of gender equality.
An impact study is under preparation, and first results are expected in September 2013. This study will inform the further learning with regard to strengthening the role of women in politics and promoting gender equality. It will also provide information on the approach and methodology for possible replication elsewhere or scaling-up of such activities. By: GIZ/EU-SPACE
Networking - A group of female councillors in Battambang province
exchanging their work experience (Source: GIZ/EU SPACE)
Make your voice heard — a group of female councillors practising public speaking
(Source: GIZ/EU SPACE)
A female councillor confidently expressing herself -despite being the
only female member in this district council (Source: GIZ/EU SPACE)