LOCAL NGO the Open Institute has gathered together and compiled for the first time all the available information on the laws and services relating to the rights of women and children in a recently published book.
The Women’s Guidebook with a print run of 5000 has gone to 24 municipalities, workers in rural communities, local libraries and is also being distributed through the Government’s Women’s Affairs ministry.
The Open Institute is a local non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation which supports the social and economic development of Cambodia by working in three major fields: gender, information technology, and the development of Khmer language.
The book brings together a depth and variety of information with the aim of bringing to women, especially in rural areas, an increased awareness of the laws and services related to rights for women and children in a bid to improve gender equality and reduce domestic violence.
The book includes information and contact details for government and NGO services including legal aid, reproductive health and local officials. It also explains that domestic violence is illegal and that officials have a right and duty to intervene to protect victims.
Chim Manavy, executive director of the Open Institute, said that the 210-page Women’s Guidebook would be especially useful for women in remote areas who may not be aware of available support services.
“It is a very good book which will assist them, has gone to 24 municipalities and will go further afield,” she said.
“It is interesting and informative and never before has all the information been put together in one book. It is a very good way to communicate about domestic violence and has gained access to interested villages through local authorities, council members, chiefs of police and others.”
About 40 percent of Cambodian women are illiterate and with a low education do not understand. Village chiefs meet with villagers to show them and talk to them with the aid of the book and much of its impact will rely on the local authorities helping to disseminate the information.