Japan has pledged $600,000 to support Save the Children Japan (SCJ) in Cambodia’s “Eliminate Violence Against Children (VAC) in Cambodian Schools” project for its second year.

The signing ceremony took place on May 29 at the Japanese Embassy in Cambodia, witnessed by Japanese ambassador Atsushi Ueno and Miyawaki Mana, child protection project and partnership manager of SCJ.

The Japanese Embassy in Cambodia said this project aims to continue the efforts initiated in the first year, focusing on eradicating violence in 43 public schools in Kampong Cham province. The project will also work towards maintaining effective child protection systems, including reporting mechanisms in schools and communities.

This will be achieved through awareness-raising activities and the development of a policy advocacy system in collaboration with school stakeholders, including children, teachers, and Cambodian government officials at both the national and provincial levels.

Ueno expressed his hopes for the project, stating: “Through this initiative, I hope Cambodian children will have the opportunity to learn in a safer and more inclusive environment, free from violence. This will ultimately contribute to their healthy development and overall well-being.”

Mana from SCJ shared her thoughts on social media, emphasizing the importance of the project’s second year. She highlighted the organisation’s commitment to reinforcing the efforts and commitments of schools in preventing and responding to violence.

She also expressed gratitude for the collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in the first year, which enabled them to address needs and improve child protection mechanisms.

She said during the initial phase, action plans were developed with the participation of students and teachers to tackle violence in schools. Reflecting on existing practices and child protection mechanisms, training programs were implemented to enhance the capacities of school management committees and student councils.

The project also aimed to strengthen coordination between school-based and community-based child protection systems to effectively identify and respond to violence in schools, she added.

SCJ will undertake various activities under this project, including raising awareness among children, parents, and school officials, and establishing school-based child protection systems (SBCPM). The ultimate goal is to eliminate violence against children in schools.

It is estimated approximately 12,000 students and 440 teachers from the targeted schools will benefit from a safer and more inclusive environment, leading to the healthy development and overall well-being of children.