Let’s Play Fair – Cambodia
Deeply rooted in hierarchical and often restrictive culture, Cambodia faces gender inequality issues within education, health care and social status. Enduring traditional belief systems that suggest “proper” gender roles contribute to perpetuating gender inequity. Although more than 60% of Cambodians are less than 25 years old, limited attention is given to the needs of the youth population in regards to finding greater gender equality. Recognizing the deep and widespread challenge of finding greater gender balance, Cambodia’s government is calling for strategic activities that will empower women and girls and improve gender equality.
Kids Play Cambodia Coaches
In order to ensure local sustainability and program longevity, the Kids Play Cambodia team is guided by a locally-based KPI Program Coordinator and 15 young men and women specifically recruited to be caring adult role models. Many Coaches are school teachers and leaders, which has proven to be a strong tool in introducing and adopting the program to players, parents and the community as a whole. Local ownership and sustainability allows programs to seamlessly become a part of community life.
Kids Play Cambodia Players
Kids Play Cambodia kicked off the Let’s Play Fair program with 85 players (46 girls and 39 boys) from October – December of 2018. The players attended 15 sessions and participated in three Community Days. It’s been an enthusiastic start to what we believe is a long-term relationship for change.
“Traditional Cambodian culture does not embrace the female gender and I now know that women can change traditional roles and feel comfortable in society. Girls and boys must have the courage to ask questions and change gender roles.” – Coach Sophea
Work has only just begun with Let’s Play Fair Cambodia, but already we see behavior change in both the Coaches and players. Arriving in Siem Reap, we did not know what to expect and if our new Coaches would be eager to be gender equity ambassadors. After witnessing them in action over the last three months, our expectations are car exceeded as every Coach rose to the occasion to prove their belonging as a leader in the KPI family. It is through their hard work that we can achieve true gender equity across Cambodia.
Kids Play Cambodia Programming
In 2018, Kids Play began its first Let’s Play Fair Cambodia program in Ang Chagn Chass, a small rural village outside of Siem Reap. Students attend the LPF program twice a week at the Kurata School (ages 7-12) and Stephen Mazujian Middle School (ages 13-18). Youth who participate in LPF are provided with the opportunity through a variety of sports to intensify supportive peer networks and to engage in more frequent and meaningful contact with peers of both genders, ultimately breaking down gender norms and misperceptions about women’s capabilities in their community and beyond.
The Spitler School Foundation and KPI are partners to facilitate programming in Cambodia. Established in 2005, the foundation provides primary education to children at the Spilter and Kurata Schools, located in Ang Chagn Chass, a small village in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Upon graduation, students can attend Stephen Muzujiuam Middle School, also supported by the Spitler School Foundation and Global Ade. Today, the foundation provides over 650 students with an education from kindergarten through 6th grade.
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