In Cambodia, Terre des Hommes is engaging and motivating traditional village leaders to take action in the fight for children’s rights by changing their role as passive and ceremonial members to active advocates of Child Protection.
How to reframe this behaviour? By making them having an active voice.
Terre des Hommes has put in place a monitoring and evaluation strategy to track Early Child Marriage and Early Pregnancy in Mondulkiri, a hilly area close to Vietnam, that challenges village leaders to develop their own indicators so they need to understand the problem, be engaged and take an active role.
Early Child Marriage and Early Pregnancy are serious issues in Mondulkiri province where traditional indigenous societies have faced huge challenges in the last years. In a society in balance between the modern and the traditional world, several approaches to face these issues have failed.
By engaging commune and district governance structures from the start of the project, Terre des Hommes has set a precedent for active engagement and proactive support from the village, commune and district leaders.
In Mondulkiri, village chiefs are gatekeepers. Getting them on board from the start leads them to become allies as Terre des Hommes begins to deliver activities that are, fundamentally, designed to disrupt power dynamics at the village level.
We want children to change the way they relate to each other and to their communities. We want to advocate for themselves and feel empowered to make decisions, to ask questions. This can intimidate other cohorts in the village.
If we have the leaders on board, they can help us manage the push-back!