Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi virtually launched three different toolkits on positive parenting to promote positive child education through increased knowledge and skills and access to appropriate and timely parenting support.

According to a joint press release seen by The Post, the toolkits – developed by the ministry with support from relevant institutions and development partners – mark another milestone in the government’s ongoing efforts to end physical punishment, exploitation and neglect of children in Cambodia.

It said the ministry was committed to continuing to implement and expand its positive parenting programme to ensure that children remain safe in their homes, develop well physically and mentally, and fulfil their human resource potential as adults.

“I encourage all relevant ministries, organisations and stakeholders to continue to invest in children and this programme in order to contribute to the development of potential human resources and the achievement of sustainable development goals,” Kantha Phavi said in the press release.

“In line with our role and commitment in developing and strengthening a protective environment for children, ChildFund Cambodia – in collaboration with the ministry and partner organisations – have developed and rolled out toolkits on positive parenting,” said ChildFund country representative Prashant Verma.

He said the toolkits were an important mechanism for developing the knowledge and practice of parents and caregivers to create a protective environment for children at home. The formal integration of these tools into the government’s existing child protection measures will help expand their impact.

Verma added that children grew up at home and have close relationships with their parents, so it was important for parents to understand their roles and responsibilities. It was also crucial that they understand the importance of a protective environment for children at home and in the community.

According to a survey conducted by the women’s ministry and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, more than 50 per cent of Cambodian children have experienced psychological violence, 25 per cent have experienced mental violence, and five per cent have been sexually abused by family members.

“This has a powerful and profound impact on children’s lives and hopes for the future, as well as on their families, communities and society at large. Covid-19 further compounded this situation as the risk of violence against children increased due to loss of income and livelihoods,” the press release added.

In response to the research findings, UNICEF, ChildFund, and Save the Children collaborated with the women’s ministry to develop a five-year strategic plan on positive parenting 2017-2021. The three toolkits are guided by this strategic plan and aim to further its implementation.

The press release added that the guidance and resources provided by these toolkits aimed to create a safe, gender-equitable, and non-violent family environment in which children can communicate effectively with their parents or guardians, grow up feeling safe and become successful members of society.

UNICEF, ChildFund and Save the Children provided technical and financial support to the ministry and development partners to implement and roll out these toolkits. Through the utilisation of the level 1 and 2 toolkits, this support has already benefited over 90,000 parents and caregivers.

This month’s launch of the level 3 toolkit will enable additional specialised support for the most vulnerable children and their families.

The toolkits are designed to build knowledge and skills for parents about their responsibilities to their children, including child development, positive discipline, child rights and child protection, the wellbeing of parents, and family communications, as well as to teach children about self-reflection, potential adult tricks, and how to seek help.