© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod
Children living in poor families are highly vulnerable in Cambodia, facing daily threats to their health, education, safety and overall development.
Many vulnerable children are pulled out of school to help with household chores or labour, and an estimated 52 per cent of children aged 7 to 14 years have been found to be economically active, much higher than other countries with similar income levels.
The lack of adequate social safety nets and welfare services often leads parents to resort to negative coping strategies, such as unsafe migration, child exploitation and labour, abandonment and placement of children in institutional care.
Child protection services are generally weak, underfunded and understaffed. With only one to three government social affairs workers per district, servicing approximately 25,000 people, it is difficult to ensure quality welfare services and support to all families in need.
What we do
- Strengthen referral systems for vulnerable children, youth and families. Identify and train community support workers, organize child protection interventions, contract community support workers and monitor the concerned activities.
- Work with authorities at provincial, district and commune levels, Women and Children Focal Points and village leaders to increase services and financial support for vulnerable children, including children affected by HIV, to improve their living conditions and keep them, as much as possible, in their communities, rather than in institutions.
- Ensure access for vulnerable children to commune emergency funds in cases of acute distress (floods, storms, fire); financial and/or material support (school books, uniforms, bicycles to go to school, other school materials); and transportation costs in case of medical emergencies and health check-ups.
- Use social services mapping to collect and analyse data on key child protection indicators, and ensure that a monitoring system and progress reports are created to advocate for increased support for child protection in development plans and investment programmes.
- Document experiences and lessons learnt to influence policy development at the national level.