ENGLISH2015.06.17 16:54

Gender Cafe and Gender Camp in Cambodia


'When I realize that there are also others who suffer the same problem as I do, I and we start to do something to make a difference.' This kind of thinking helped the creation of 'Gender Cafe' and 'Gender Camp' in Cambodia.


As the economy is rapidly growing, social polarization in Cambodia is getting worse. It is putting women at a glaring financial disadvantage. Numerous Cambodian women find themselves isolated in social, political, and domestic decision making process and they are struggling with poverty and domestic violence. The bigger problem, however, is that they rarely have any chance and feel insecure to openly speak about their problems.


Knowing that the problems Cambodian women are dealing with are not just individual matters but social problems plaguing the society, 'Gender Cafe' is trying to tackle the problems by connecting women to others. Women from different walks of life such as textile workers, street vendors, and entertainers in Cambodia have a regular meeting every two or three months as participants of 'Gender Cafe'. They have lectures or watch video clips on various topics, chat together, share their personal experiences, and put their heads together to solve the problems.


Those women who have participated in 'Gender Cafe' for a year take a short trip(one night two days) together, which is called 'Gender Camp' at the end of the year. The participants share their stories about what they have learned through 'Gender Cafe', sing, dance, and express their hope for building a more equal society. They also promise to spread their stories people around them.


GADC or Gender and Development for Cambodia, an organization that promotes gender equality and the spread of the concept of gender through various activities so far, came up with this idea of Gender Cafe. It held two meetings, for the first time, in 2011, on the issue of 'Progress made in Cambodia in working towards gender equality and mainstreaming gender perspective in development issue' and 'Growth of women entrepreneur in Cambodia'. GADC considers these meetings successful in creating a platform that the women can share information, ideas and skills. The participants also liked the topics and discussions during the meeting and are thinking that participating in Gender Cafe helped them bring meaningful changes in their lives, which helps the meeting to be held continuously.

Teaming up with GADC in 2013, DoRunDoRun supported the management of 'Gender Cafe' in 2014, and organized small groups in Korea to learn about Cambodia and monitored the management of 'Gender Cafe'. Some participants among those Korean small groups even visited Cambodia and joined 'Gender Camp' at the end the year. It was a great opportunity for DoRunDoRun to better communicate with Cambodian women and grow together.


2014 Programs of Gender Cafe and Gender Camp

Gender Cafe of 2014 consisted of domestic workers, entertainers, textile workers, victims of a policy of house demolitions, and former participants of 2013 Gender Cafe. There were 5 orientation sessions in total, a single session for each group. Later, Gender Cafe was held twentieth times in total. (DoRunDoRun supported 13 sessions among 20. There was a slight difference in the number of participants every session, but, on average, 20 women participated in each meeting.


The programs explored different issues. There were 4 topics in 2014 ; 'Gender-based domestic violence', 'Gender and Law', 'Gender and Health', and 'Gender and Breaking Stereotypes'. A lawyer was invited during the 'Gender and Law' class to help women be equipped with practical knowledge they could apply to everyday lives, and women consulted the lawyer.


You can see the annual report on 2014 Gender Cafe written by GADC below

(Link1) the annual report on 2014 Gender Cafe

In 2014 Gender Camp, which was held from 11/29 to 11/30, Gender Cafe participants who usually met as groups gathered all together. 68 members joined the camp.


You can see the photos and news of 2014 Gender Camp below

(Link2) The first day of 2014 Gender Camp

(Link3) The second day of 2014 Gender Camp


DoRunDoRun and GADC are running gender equality education programs and offering a chance to create relationships with various women in order to empower Cambodian Women in the long term. We believe that women themselves will be able to identify root causes of their problems, gain self-confidence while they are teaming up with women who suffered the same problem and figure out solutions together, which ultimately help women to stand on their own feet. It is as valuable and meaningful as receiving financial aid in order to get out of the poverty trap.     

Posted by DoRunDoRun