Community events play a vital part in reaching out to what are often difficult to reach groups of people with important education and prevention messages. Last week an outreach team from our Cambodian Kaliyan Mith ChildSafe program in Siem Reap conducted one such community event at Taksan T’bong community near the city. The topic was one which will have increasing visibility across Cambodia in the coming months and years – ending Violence Against Children, or VAC.
A great deal of preparation goes into community events – pre-planning with the local authorities (village/commune chiefs), selecting the right location and them making sure the right people are going to be getting the message. Making sure there are enough resources also – handouts, promotional materials and anything else needed. There’s a lot of physical activity too for staff involved – ensuring stages, sound systems, screens, generators etc are all in place and working can be quite challenging, particularly in some of the more remote areas.
We had a quick chat with our staff from this community event and got some soundbite perspectives on the good (and maybe challenging) aspects faced in putting on this particular one…
“The location was good – near the villager’s house (so it) is easy for them to join with our event.”
“(There was) enough light for easy distribution (of) the promotion and hygiene materials.”
“We’d good cooperation with authority to help to inform villagers to join with our event.”
“Youth, children and caretakers (were) very active and happy with our event, they suggest us to have more events.”
“More villagers came to join our event. More than what we estimated.”
“Because of villager come to join with our event over than what we estimate, it was a little confusing when we started to distribute the hygiene materials!”
So, main complaint was that the event was much more popular than anticipated – good news! In all, 186 villagers participated in this event, men, women and children who now have a more developed knowledge of exactly what VAC is and how it can be prevented, leading to their community being a more ChildSafe environment in which their children can thrive!