Diakonia Drives Gender Justice Forward in Cambodia 

28 May, 2024

Diakonia leads the Transformative Masculinities, Feminism, and LGBTIQ Rights Technical Working Group in partnership with numerous local organizations, pushing gender justice forward in Cambodia.

Originally founded in 2016 as the Transformative Masculinities Technical Working Group with only male participants, the group expanded its focus in 2023 to include a broader spectrum of gender identities. This diverse group, now including male, female, and non-binary members, is dedicated to advancing gender justice at both local and national levels, aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 5.

Enhancing Gender Equality Initiatives

In late 2023, Diakonia Cambodia organized a workshop in Kampong Chhnang province, refining educational materials that integrate feminist principles, LGBTIQ rights, and transformative masculinities. Building on this foundation, the programme team in Cambodia conducted a series of Training of Trainers (TOT) sessions in Stung Treng and Kampong Chhnang provinces in the first half of 2024. These sessions equipped NGO partners and community gender focal persons with the skills to challenge societal norms and promote LGBTIQ rights, significantly advancing gender justice within their organizations and communities.

Among the program's success stories is Soeb Sokha. Reflecting on his initial confusion and growth, he said, "Supporting women, to me, was not clear when I first heard this idea. I thought, what does it mean?" Sokha’s understanding has evolved significantly since then. He added, "At first, I thought it was difficult to change the attitude of men. After working for a few years and receiving training, I gained a wider understanding of the concepts and tools related to transformative masculinities, feminism, and LGBTIQ rights. I now better understand transformative masculinities and practice positive communication with my family and children."

Sokha has now become a Community Facilitator, showcasing the deep personal transformations fostered by the program. "Becoming a trainer meant taking on more responsibilities. I had to share the knowledge with the communities and understand the methodologies and techniques to conduct this training effectively. My efforts were recognized by my family and community members, and thus I became a role model."

Sovathana Seng, Programme Officer at Diakonia Cambodia.

Training Programs to Cultivate Change

Diakonia uses transformative masculinities to expose and challenge patriarchal systems, encouraging men to actively support gender justice. The goal is to shift from a masculinity characterized by dominance, violence, and discrimination against women, girls, and LGBTI individuals, to one based on mutual respect and understanding.

Sovathana Seng, a Programme Officer at Diakonia Cambodia, emphasized the impact of these initiatives. "Our aim is to empower participants with the knowledge and skills to challenge patriarchal norms and advocate for gender justice within their communities. These training sessions are crucial for creating a more inclusive society where everyone, regardless of gender identity, can thrive."

The Transformative Masculinities initiative is part of Diakonia's ongoing commitment to fostering gender justice and ensuring that all community members, regardless of gender identity, have the opportunity to contribute to a more equitable society.

For more information contact:

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Kall Kann

Country Director, Cambodia

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