Kids Play 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, 7 young women and 8 young men specifically recruited to be caring adult role model “Gender Equity’ coaches. 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) in October 2018. Since then we have grown to 105 players (55 girls and 50 boys) from our three partner schools.
“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. Over the last 18 months, 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.
In August 2019, 98% of KPI’s older players in Cambodia who were surveyed said they equally respect a male and female coach who teach them sports. This is huge progress as only 59% of the same players agreed with that when they started the program a year earlier.
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.
We are excited to announce that in 2020, with the support of Dining for Women, Kids Play International is able to launch our All Girls United (AGU) Program and Play Fair Workshops. Our AGU programming is designed to teach our girls ages 13-18 about fundamental topics like menstrual hygiene and sexual reproductive health that allow for informed decision making in their lives. These sessions promote self-efficacy of our girls and teach valuable leadership skills that they can continue to use in our weekly LPF and Community Day programs.
Our Play Fair Inclusion Workshops will include training our 7 female coaches and up to 30 of our All Girls United youth to be facilitators; allowing us to share our gender equity mission beyond just the 105 youth in our program. These workshops aim to create more gender inclusive classrooms in our partner schools; improve the trust and relationships between adults and youth; and promote our female facilitators as knowledgeable and capable leaders in the community.
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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