31 January 2011

:: Launch :: Media & Communications Policy ::

As you well know already, Chab Dai is committed to promoting best practices & the highest standard of programming to care for child & adult survivors, victims, and those at-risk of exploitation, or human trafficking. We believe that this same principle also applies to HOW we promote, educate, and raise funds for these programs.

We want to promote DIGNITY & HOPE, as well as ensure truth in our communications, nor compromising confidentiality or safety either. So about a year ago we started on a journey, searching high and low [in printed resources & the Bible] for best practices and examples.
And we shared these findings with our members, consulting them to glean from their experiences about how we could actually apply what we had read [book knowledge always sounds too good!]. We met over coffees, in forums with shelter directors around a large table, via email dialogues, and at our last member meeting with over 100 national and expat staff.
So we are proud to say that THIS is what WE have come up with.
We hope you will read it.
Share it.
And apply it.

Are children sex slaves? 
Are they child prostitutes?
No, and no.
Is using a picture of a crying child sitting alone in a vulnerable situation dignifying OR safe?
We don’t think so.

Even if you are not a professional photographer, working with a non-profit, or a writer, YOU DO have a responsibility.
Do you have:
See, you do have a voice. Use it to promote SAFETY, TRUTH, & DIGNITY!

28 January 2011

Support to Siem Reap

Chab Dai Learning Community Team headed to the provinces this week to encourage, support, and provide training for our members working in Siem Reap.

Where is Siem Reap?
Siem Reap is the top tourist destination in Cambodia, located in the northwest region, about 5 hours from the capitol city of Phnom Penh. It houses the ever-stunning Angkor Wat temples that were built in the 9th-13th centuries, at the height of the Khmer Empire.

Despite the face of the quaint tourist town, which is overflowing with souvenir shops, guesthouses, and cafes, the province of Siem Reap indeed has the 3rd highest level of poverty in Cambodia. More than 80% of its residents are farmers, and 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.
For better & for worse, the number of international tourists coming to Siem Reap annually is increasingly enormously. In 1993 there were an average of 7,000 tourists. Today there are 2 million tourists annually!

While we can see the benefits of this, for example better infrastructure and job creation in this region, Chab Dai members have also seen a direct correlation in the growing number of human trafficking, exploitation, and abuse cases being reported.

So, they responded!
As a coalition, in 2008 we discussed the likelihood that growing tourism would translate into becoming a hotspot for trafficking & exploitation (also not to mention that it is 2 hours from the Thai border). We encouraged members to open field offices and projects in this area to proactively and reactively address the issues of sex tourism and commercial sexual exploitation.

A few bold organizations made the move!
Now they have started offices, networked with local police & partner agencies, and are working with children who are at-risk & survivors of human trafficking.

At our meeting this week we had 50 member staff present, including caregivers, directors, social workers, and counselors. We asked those who had been working in the field of trafficking & exploitation to raise their hands.Only 6 hands were raised!

The difficulty, on top of lacking experienced staff, is that the majority of trainings are only in Phnom Penh (a day-long bus ride away, both ways). Limited human resources & time constraints had our members pleading with us to be more present in Siem Reap.

How did Chab Dai respond?
Nope, we are not opening our first field office. But we are responding with a 6-month commitment to be in Siem Reap one week every month, during which time we will facilitate trainings, cross visits, share resources, and show our support for the work they are doing.

International Director, Helen Sworn, made it clear this week that they are not alone. In fact, she can remember the same scenario and struggles in 2005, when Chab Dai first began. Her words were full of hope, as she encouraged the staff that they have an exciting role to play as they “forage prickly unknown territory” in Siem Reap; and emphasized that they are not alone!

To kick off our 6-month commitment plan, we organized aweek of activities targeting not only directors & managers, but all caregivers as well. The week included:
  • a meeting with all our members in the region,
  • job-based support groups,
  • trainings on minimum standards & child protection,
  • a forum lunch discussion about medical procedures,
  • and a facilitated cross-visit to one of our members.

Beyond this week, we created the framework for members to continue learning from each other & practicing solidarity. Three practitioner peer groups will meet monthly for encouragement & sharing.

At the end of 6-months Chab Dai will evaluate the impact the trainings, peer groups, and meetings had on raising the quality of care for victims & survivors of trafficking, abuse & exploitation.

If you are planning a visit to Siem Reap, check out ConCERT Cambodia for volunteer/ donation options, and Child Safe Network for SAFE hotel & dining option.
Chab Dai’s Urban Prevention Project also works in Siem Reap.

21 January 2011

What’s so great about a CIRCLE?

Chab Dai's Learning Community began in 2005 as an innovative response to ending human trafficking (we started in Cambodia, but that doesn't mean it's not happening in your neighborhood!). Our solution was & still is sitting in a circle.
What's so innovative about sitting in a circle, you ask?
Well, imagine for a second a room full of people with different skills, backgrounds, training, and experience. And take into account that they all have the same shared vision. What if no one spoke with the man next to him about what he was thinking? What if he didn't even know the other man existed? What if one person lacked skills and the man next to him was an expert in the exact skills the first man (still next to him) lacked?

A circle draws all of those skill sets, experiences, and strengths together and lays them on the table.
A circle facilitates the sharing of ideas and prevents reinventing the wheel.
A circle levels the playing field, and recognizes that everyone from every background has something valuable to contribute to the discussion.
A circle coordinates networking.
A circle adds volume to advocacy.
A circle allows others to see others, to talk with others, to share with others, to learn from others, to build trust with others, and to work with others
And now you see, the power of a circle:
Learning from each other.
Sharing with one another.
Seeing value in everyone.
Coordinating others with others.
Advocating as one voice.
Trusting & working together!
If traffickers can form rings, we can create circles. And with the power of the circle we can outwit, outsmart, and stop abuse, trafficking, and exploitation.

14 January 2011

Fun Family Day Out

Last week Chab Dai had our first (and now going to be annual!) outing with ALL the staff and their families. It was a like a late 'New Years & Christmas party'. We packed kilos of meat and fruit, and piled into two buses to relax at Kirirom National Park for a whole day of playing games, meeting family members, & eating delicious food.
Like everyone around the world, the men congregated around the BBQ! And we all benefited from Dara's cooking: eating our fill of grilled beef, chicken, prawns, squid, and 'pra-houk' (fish paste).

All together there were over 20 kids. Sok & Naomie organized some games (like limbo), but they also enjoyed splashing in the small creek nearby. Makera played "Santa" for Chab Dai, handing out small gifts: sundresses for the little girls, wallets for the boys, & stylish purses for the teen girls.
It was a memorable day, and one surely to be repeated.

12 January 2011

Sharing Resources

On Tuesday Chab Dai hosted a team of university students who used our Resource Library to do a research activity about issues of injustice. With over 1,600 English resources that span more than 60 categories surrounding human trafficking & abuse it serves as a suitable learning space for students, practitioners, & project managers.

Note: Chab Dai also has a Khmer & Vietnamese library section. Library cards are free of charge for members & partner staff. Come check it out or email resources@chabdai.org for more information.

07 January 2011

Building Quality Together

Chab Dai team finished a week of strategic planning for our activities in the upcoming year. Each of the 6 project teams met to review and evaluate our activities, lessons learned, and impact last year.
Based on our evaluation of each project's strengths and weaknesses, we drafted goals for each quarter in 2011-2012.

A running theme for the Learning Community Project was QUALITY.
This year we want to focus on quality rather than quantity by:
  • Building the capacity of our existing members, rather than the size of the coalition (this year we grew by over 15%);
  • Focusing on offering only practical and contextualized training;
  • AND cleaning our library (almost 2,000 resources in 3 languages) to focus on sharing only the most relevant and helpful books and research with our members.
Other Learning Community events to stay-tuned for this year are:
  • A new Khmer website customized for our members to use
  • Advocating for dignity and respect of our clients in the dissemenation of our media policy
  • Assessing the project gap areas in the provinces
  • Starting a new, Khmer-led, Leadership Forum.
Through the goal-setting training and planning sesssions the bonds of our team strengthened and we are excited for the new year ahead! Please pray for wisdom as we finalize our plans on the following weeks and put them into action!