30 May 2011

Volunteering in Cambodia: A Learning & Humbling Experience

[Chab Dai Cambodia wants to shout a 'THANKS SO MUCH' to Frida, our intern who has been working in our office for the last five months!! She has been influential in writing some of our blog posts, facilitating the "Paperless Child Protection Training", as well as coordinating volunteer requests.
And so, as Chab Dai gives one more round-of-thanks for Frida today, she passes on lessons she's learned & shares how others can volunteer too]
The summer is once again on its way and so is the high season of volunteering. During the last five months I’ve been volunteering through Chab Dai in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and now my time here is sadly coming to its end. It’s been a humbling, fun, exciting and challenging experience, but most of all it has been a time of learning and I hope as I’m leaving I will be able to carry with me everything Cambodia has taught me. I’ve got to know incredible people with great hearts, seen how different organizations work and learned what cultural sensitivity practically means.
Having grown from 12 member organizations to nearly 50 in Cambodia, Chab Dai has seen the emerging opportunity to connect passionate and talented volunteers with organizations needing assistance. The focus of our member projects varies from prevention and education to capacity building and aftercare. Volunteers usually come for a couple of months, but some stay for years. For volunteering to have a lasting impact and be sustainable we require a minimum stay of three weeks, but six months or more is even better.
If YOU want to volunteer and explore the possibilities in which you could join together with organizations already doing great work, here’s how you can apply:
Send an email to volunteer@chabdai.org with the following information:
  1. A completed Volunteer Application form
  2. Your CV/resume with three references
  3. A short introduction of yourself, and in what capacity you are hoping to volunteer
Chab Dai is committed to putting the safety of children first! Therefore, thorough background checks of all applicants are completed. Chab Dai and our members require all volunteers to undergo a criminal background check in their home country and sign a Child Protection Policy.
After you send us your documents we will assess them and process them if you are a good fit with our members’ projects. If so, we’ll send them your contact information. If an organization is interested in receiving you as a volunteer you will be contacted and the hunt for the cheapest flight ticket can begin!
When you consider volunteering, it’s good to think about your motives, your passion and your skill set.
And finally: “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow” – Anthony J D’Angelo

20 May 2011

Our Largest Member Meeting Ever!

Last week we hosted our twelfth bi-annual Member Meeting with a record 180 stakeholders representing over 45 organizations in Cambodia. Chab Dai Coalition has now grown to 50 members, and as we continue growing there is an opportunity to also push-up from minimum standards to best practice standards! So, our focus this May was encouraging a “Commitment to Excellence” and promoting best practices in four main areas: protection, collaboration, participation, & transparency.

The following are a few reflection following the meeting, from a volunteer who joined Chab Dai for the first time and was especially encouraged by the participants’ joint-vision of ‘joining hands’ with each other!

When I arrived at the large conference room I was in awe to see it full of mostly Cambodian faces… these are the men and women doing the grassroots work of combatting human trafficking.
One of the best features of such a large meeting was the extensive networking, facilitated by a time of Speed Networking [see photo above, right] where we were asked to obtain contact information from five new people. Further connections were encouraged over coffee breaks and lunch.

On the second day of the meeting, we focused on child protection training. We called it the first-ever "Paperless Training" in Cambodia! For the day we were divided into four Khmer groups and one English group. Each group rotated through scenarios acted out by young volunteer actors that focused on a specific child protection issue. The participants engaged in the scenarios by exclaiming “STOP” when they felt the actions demonstrated were inappropriate. After, the person chose either speaking out what should be different or coming forward to take an actor's place. It was definitely a fun day of active learning!

If you didn't follow our live coverage on Twitter or Facebook during the meeting, check out the photos!

Next month Chab Dai’s leaders will be doing a road trip to visit every member, for members who want to commit to excellence, and sign The Chab Dai Charter that was joint-drafted at the meeting.

10 May 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Forum to Address Exploitative Labour Recruitment & Trafficking

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: Malaysian non-government organizations (NGOs) visited today with stakeholders working on issues of exploitative labour recruitment and trafficking. The goal of today’s extraordinary meeting was to discuss collaborative strategies to protect, repatriate, and advocate for Cambodian migrants, in light of the growing number of Cambodian women migrating to Malaysia to work in houses, and the increase of abuse cases in the public newspapers.

Chab Dai Coalition and The Asia Foundation co-hosted the meeting today with over 60 stakeholders representing Cambodian and Malaysian NGOs and other international agencies currently working with victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Today’s meeting welcomed Malaysian partners to present about the legal framework, including the Malaysian ATIP Law (2007); services currently available for Cambodian victims of trafficking; challenges facing organizations with regard to rescues, repatriations, and protection of migrant workers; and especially focused on networking.

Chab Dai’s top priority for supporting the Malaysian NGOs to visit was to facilitate cross- border collaboration and networking. A referral mechanism will be generated as an outcome of the meeting, making case referrals and repatriations more efficient.

Helen Sworn, International Director of Chab Dai said:
“This meeting presents a unique opportunity for us to address this urgent issue through joint learning and collaboration among key stakeholders providing support and services for Cambodian migrant workers. Our hope is to develop a common vision to facilitate a closer referral process between the grass roots organisations in order to ensure better protection for Cambodian migrant workers before departure in Cambodia and after arrival in Malaysia.’’

Liva Sreedharan, representing the ATIP desk of Tenaganita in Malaysia, shared about their increase of labour abuse cases of migrant workers from Cambodia. She said:
“This collaboration and coordination today could not be more perfect timing because of the cases of Cambodian domestic workers coming up now. Tenaganita cannot do it alone.”

Tola Moeun, from CLEC, presented an overview in Cambodia facing migrant workers, specifically domestic workers as they are recruited, trained, and sent to Malaysia for work. About the forum today, he stated:
“The forum today is very important because it brings together multiple stakeholders, and identify who is doing what and in what areas we can work together.”

Long-term and short-term ideas were generated in focus groups, with the goal of committing to continue networking and joint-advocacy between both countries.

Today was an opportunity to share together, and begin developing solutions and problem-solving strategies to protect and empower Cambodian migrant workers in- country and abroad.
Read more about the meeting in the Phnom Penh Post [11 May 2011].

06 May 2011

National Minimum Standards Training in Phnom Penh

Today Chab Dai trainers, Sithy & Sokha, finished a three-day training about the Cambodian government's Policy and Minimum Standards for the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking (2009). Over 28 social workers, house mothers, and project managers working in aftercare programs attended.

Along with Chab Dai, organizations like World Vision, The Asia Foundation, and USAID are supporting & implementing these training workshops to stakeholders across Cambodia this year. The policy includes guidelines to improve victim treatment and protection: outlining the rights of victims, instructions for case management, alternative care options, and the role of staff. Later, monitoring and evaluation strategies will be done by the government to ensure that shelters are operating with best practices.
"It's very helpful!" Sithy exclaimed after the training, "Now they understand more about human trafficking and good standards."
Read more from The Asia Foundation's website about Cambodia's landmark policy, which was passed by the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2009.