The Cambodian Institute of Human Rights this week concluded the first of a series of good-governance seminars organized for a unusual group in Cambodian society—women who wield influence in the government.
“It is possible that the participants here today can play important roles in two major upcoming events in Cambodia: the selection of commune clerks and election of commune councils,” Canadian Ambassador Normand Mailhot said at the closing ceremony. With their new skills, hopefully the women have self-confidence to apply for positions of leadership and management during the elections, he said.
The 66 women who received certificates Wednesday are all public servants, running offices and departments in government ministries in Phnom Penh.
The series, organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Women’s and Veterans’ Affairs and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, will include up to 13 seminars and as many as 455 women.
Participants in future seminars may include senior public servants and community leaders, said Huoy Sophorn, manager of the CIHR good governance section. The purpose of the seminars is to improve women’s knowledge and capabilities so they can play leading roles in public administration and all other sectors of activity in the country, said Mu Sochua, Women’s and Veteran’s Affairs minister.
Topics included transparency and accountability in public service, peaceful conflict resolution and the rule of law. “We talked about men and women’s equality, and that they can do the same things,” said Chendat Nuon, secretary of the Women’s and Veteran’s Affairs minister.
Mailhot said training women will promote democracy and human rights “by giving a segment of the population the opportunity to express themselves.”
Huoy Sophorn said he believes the seminars are an excellent way to teach good governance to a large number of people.
“Because women are friendly with other people, we hope that, when they go back to their offices and residences, they will talk and teach people,” he said.
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