It might sound dangerous, exotic even, but we assure you… it’s not!
TIGER is VVOB Cambodia’s newest project and stands for Teaching for Improved Gender Equality and Responsiveness.
School, home and the community are all rich environments for the construction of gender identities and gender relations. Unfortunately, they are built on social inequalities where school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) is still widely accepted and tolerated. Education is critical in empowering and transforming the lives of young people. Teachers and school leaders are fundamental in transforming practices, attitudes and values, as well as instilling in learners the understanding and practice of gender equality and non-violent behaviour. The education system provides opportunities for innovative, effective and sustainable interventions to prevent SRGBV and for changes of attitudes and beliefs towards gender roles.
Therefore, in the coming three years we will develop the capacity of teacher educators and teachers, school leaders and school support committee members, parents and community members, local NGOs and government officials to ensure that primary and lower secondary school children are protected from school-related gender-based violence enabling them to equally participate in all spheres of life, at school and at home.
The TIGER project targets Battambang province and aims to transform 40 primary and lower secondary school as well as the Teacher Education College into centres of excellence for gender-responsiveness.
To realise these objectives, VVOB Cambodia teamed up with Puthi Komar Organisation (PKO), Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC) and Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) and received funding from the European Union, the Belgian Development Cooperation and Flanders.
Succesful official launch event
On the 12th of February 2018, we celebrated the official launch of the TIGER project at the Regional Teacher Training Centre in Battambang. More than 90 participants joined us for this successful event: representatives from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, representatives from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the chair of the Battambang Education Sector Working Group, a local police representative, local NGOs, teachers, teacher educators, school leaders and parents from the school support committees.
During his speech Egbert Walter, the Deputy Head of Cooperation for the European Union, congratulated our consortium for obtaining the competitive EU grant. It’s one out of the four new grants for a total of over 5,2 million Euros that the European Union allocated for Cambodian civil society organisations. He wished the TIGER team a successful implementation of the project and looks forward to visiting the real project activities in the field in the coming months.
His Excellency Oung Borat, the Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, opened the event with inspiring words. Children learn as much in the classroom as outside of it, he said. How principals, teachers, parents and the community choose to portray and speak about gender roles will be engrained in children’s upbringing. He continued that TIGER is a pilot project that will develop a practical Action Guide to help teachers to teach in a gender-responsive manner and principals to lead their schools to centres of excellence for gender-responsiveness.
Real-life plays and genuine commitments
To show the impact of SRGBV on children, students from the Phare School of Performing Arts delivered two heart-touching plays. The young talented actors first conveyed the disappointment, sadness and pain that children feel when they experience SRGBV. The story was taken from real life and truly got its message across. In the second play the audience enjoyed seeing children thrive in a gender-responsive school and supportive home environment. A beautiful and inspiring message of gender equality and the right to grow up in a violence-free environment was shared and received a heart-warming applause.
Samphon Say, VVOB Programme Coordinator, communicated the project activities to the target groups and described our joint goals and the target group’s responsibilities.
In the first year the TIGER team will focus on developing an action guide that will help the school leadership to turn their school into a centre of excellence for gender-responsiveness. The Teacher Education College’s management team and staff of teacher educators will be the first to receive a training by the end of this year. In the meantime, the TIGER team will start a sensitisation and communication campaign in the local communities where the target schools are located.
To show their support and engagement, the participants formulated their commitments on a post-it and brought them all together. As we develop the action guide and organise the capacity development activities, we will keep this commitments in mind and jointly strive to reach our goals.