Advancing gender justice during Covid-19

Horm Kambein, Taveng Krom communce, Koh Pong village. Photo: Savann Oeurm/Oxfam

Covid-19 cannot stop us from connecting with community to advance gender justice and women empowerment.

Gender Equality and women empowerment are core to advance gender justice at Oxfam. In an effort to achieve gender justice, Oxfam convened the Gender Working Group of Cambodia of the Ministry of Environment (MOE) to collect inputs from women leaders of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) across Tonle Sap, Mekong, 3S (Sekong, Sesan and Srepok) rivers and north and northeastern provinces (Preah Vihea, Kratie, Stung Treng, Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri). This was to inform MOE’s Gender Mainstreaming Strategy 2021-2025. Those community leaders were from water resource, fisheries and forestry dependent communities, community protected area, and Indigenous Peoples (IPs), including Women Environmental Defenders from these communities.

In the context of Covid 19, the consultation process had been done in a hybrid manner by engaging community women leaders from across the said areas through digital virtual platform “ZOOM” facilitated by Oxfam’s partners in respective provinces, while the host of the workshop was held in Phnom Penh engaging less than 10 participants of Oxfam and partners colleagues and MOE’s senior official, H.E Prum Sophy, Under Secretary of State who chaired the workshop.

Not professional, but real voice heard!

Despite the consultation workshop was a hybrid, it’s worth to hear the intersection of different forms of marginalization and needs of women taking their role to conserve and protect the natural resources to ensure the inclusion of the voices of those women leaders in the MOE’s Gender Mainstreaming Strategy.

Those proposed recommendations were consolidated and presented to MOE’s gender working group chaired by H.E Mom Thany, Secretary of State of Ministry of Environment. The significant areas of concerns and recommendations are making the indicators of some proposed activities more concrete. For example, the community has proposed MOE to increase 35% of women in the committee in the process of establishment of community protected area (including the review of existing community protected area to increase women executive committee members).

The community has also proposed to MOE’s gender mainstreaming strategy to conduct Gender Impact Assessment (GIA) in project affected communities and use the results of the assessment to organize multistakeholder dialogues at sub-national and national levels by engaging government, communities, CSOs and the investment companies to discuss the social and environmental impacts and implement relevant safeguarding mechanisms, particularly to address the needs of, and impacts on, women and girls. It was interesting that most of community women leaders from Tonle Sap, Mekong and 3S expressed similar concerns around impacts of hydropower dam and proposed to the government to consider social and environmental impacts by disclosing prior information about water development projects as well as considering conserving fisheries and utilizing ecosystems service for local and economic development rather than unsustainable hydropower.

Click HERE to download the proposed strategic actions, expected outputs and indicators collected from the workshop could be found here.

“The workshop was fruitfully held, we don’t want to just host one off activity, but we are open for collaboration with Oxfam for long term partnership,” said H.E Mom Thany, MOE’s Secretary of State and chair of MOE’s gender working group.

Sreymom Choeun, Bounong, IPs Women Environmental Defender, said, “The workshop is useful to listen to the real voice from the communities, especially IPs women environmental defenders on their issues and challenges. I appreciate the the way Oxfam eanable space for women leaders to engage in this strategy development process..”

In collaboration with Ministry of Environment, Oxfam and our partners hosted a consultation workshop with Community-Based Natural Resource Management leaders from Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear and Tonle Sap to collect inputs for the development of the Ministry of Environment's Gender Mainstreaming Strategy 2021-2025. Photo: Soknak Por/Oxfam