Rising Voices note: This post by Sopheap Chak continues our series of blog posts written from the perspective of our grantee projects. This post comes from the Empowering Clogher Project taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)’s Empowering Cloghers Project is an exciting initiative that has the potential to make a real difference for women in Cambodia, and to drive improvement in human rights for everyone. Cloghers are Cambodian bloggers – locally known as “cloggers” – who are women…thus “cloghers”.
The Project will train young women from rural areas, attending universities in Phnom Penh, to help them develop the ICT and communication skills they need to be able to develop their own blogs. This will enable them to create their own online forums to discuss, share ideas, and advocate for human rights and/or social change, particularly in the context of their experiences as young women growing up in a province outside of Phnom Penh.
In many parts of Cambodia, particularly rural areas, there continues to be a culture of traditional gender stereotypes and expectations. This can limit not only women’s opportunities to express themselves, but also the value that is placed on their opinions and views. This is why we’ve chosen to focus this project on supporting young women from rural areas. It’s a way of empowering and bringing an online voice to some of the most marginalized people in Cambodia.
The internet is a fantastic tool for overcoming communication barriers and reaching out to new people with different ideas and values both nationally and internationally. Internet penetration in Cambodia is still developing, especially in rural areas. However the greatest uptake has been amongst young Cambodians, particularly with social media. We know from our own use of online tools such as Facebook, YouTube and the Sithi Blog that young people want to see changes in the human rights situation in Cambodia, and will take action online to support our efforts to make this happen. The Empowering Cloghers Project builds on this motivation, and gives young women the opportunity to become drivers of this change.
The Empowering Cloghers Project is just getting started and we are currently recruiting young women to attend the training. We’ve had a fantastic response to this opportunity so far and it is exciting to see so many young women wanting to learn new ways to have their voices heard and positively influence Cambodian society. The training will start shortly and will be delivered over five sessions. As well as developing their own blogs, our trainees will be linked into the existing Clogher community so that they have peer support to continue their clogging after the Project finishes. They will also be writing articles for the Sithi Blog as part of their training and we will be inviting them to contribute as guest cloghers in the future.