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Women’s issues underfunded: report

Efforts to empower women at a sub-national level are drastically under-funded, according to research released yesterday.

The Committee to Promote Women in Politics, a group of seven NGOs, launched their latest study, which interviewed 477 female leaders in Kampong Thom, Kandal, Ratanakkiri and Battambang provinces.

Describing the findings, Thida Khus, executive director of NGO Silaka and head of the committee, said only 3 per cent of the national budget was given to the Kingdom’s 1,623 communes, and of this small sum, only 1 to 5 per cent was allocated to improving the lives of women and children.

In Ratanakkiri, only about $750 of the $16,300 budget for communes was used to help women and children, according to the report.

“We demand at least 20 per cent of the national budget be allocated to sub-national institutions dealing with women’s and children’s issues,” Khus said.

“It should be stipulated in government policy or a sub-decree, so that the sub-national level is obligated to share the budget in a transparent way.”

Mon Sokhalay, head of women’s affairs at Sangke district office in Battambang, said she was only allocated $0.75 travel money each time she needed to visit communities.

“If we don’t have money, we can’t perform our work well and help solve problems like pregnant women needing money to travel to commune health centres,” she said.

Cambodian People’s Party female lawmaker Ho Naun, who attended the launch event, said the “many challenges” were being addressed “step by step”.

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