UNICEF and Friends-International recently stepped into a partnership to develop an innovative Child Protection program involving a number of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) throughout five provinces in Cambodia where children are exposed to numerous risks and vulnerabilities.
In June and July, in close link with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), joint teams from the two organizations visited several CSOs in Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk, provinces that host highly populated cities, attract tourism or are migration hubs along the Thai and Cambodian borders. In addition to those field assessments, interviews were conducted with international organizations, and government officials, complemented by a desk review of relevant literature.
From there on, several gaps in the current response of child protection issues were identified and nine NGOs from the target provinces have now joined the partnership. Indeed, while the state bears primary responsibility to provide a protective national system, civil society plays a critically important role to deliver quality child protection services complementing the government interventions.
On the 28th of July, a first meeting was held at Friends-International’s office in Phnom Penh: gathering over 30 members of nine NGOs from the five identified provinces. Guided by a joint team of UNICEF and Friends-International, the partners had a day long workshop to initiate the design a holistic and coordinated response to care and protect some of the most vulnerable members of society: children.
The launch of the partnership is expected to start in October of this year and will be implemented for a three year period.