Under the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children (CCOSC) project, around 2,000 children who are either out of school or cannot attend school for such reasons as family’s poverty, no parents, or disabilities, will now have an opportunity to either go to school or to resume their schooling on regular-basis.
In a signing ceremony for the grants to be provided to nine communities and community-based organizations from two districts, Stong and Kampong Svay of Kampong Thom province, took place on July 6, 2016 at the district town of Stong. The communities and CBOs will be supported with a total amount of over USD37, 000 that includes matching funds from their sides as well as funding support from donors, to implement their pilot projects for a period of 17 months starting from July 2016 and onwards.
The signing ceremony was presided over by The Deputy Director of the Kampong Thom provincial department of education; The Deputy Governor of Stong district and, The Country Program Director of Aide et Action (AEA) Cambodia with participation of over 80 commune council members, commune officials, school principals, deputy principals, and school teachers.
In his address to the participants, The Stong district Deputy Governor, Soy Kosal, was not only impressed with and hailed the projects and activities to support out of school children that are currently implemented by AEA and the project partners, but also stated he would like to see the projects expanded to some other communities.
“It would be even better if we could expand the projects and activities to some other communities since there are still many children that don’t attend school, cannot attend school regularly, and have missed a lot of classes,” Mr. Kosal said. “As for teachers, they have already dedicated quite a lot and the difficulty is with the children for whom we need to find solution to help,” he added.
Also during the event, AEA Country Program Director, Mr. Vorn Samphors, said AEA was committed to strengthening this operation as much as possible. It is for this reason that the pilot projects have been launched and hopefully they will soon be expanded all across the country, Samphors explained. However, he urged that active participation by communities is critical for future success.
“We are really keen and committed to seeking support for children and contributing to improvement of education in Cambodia. That’s why we are cooperating with partners that are working closely with communities such as Youth Stars,” Samphors added.
The projects that support children to attend school and stay in school include a number of important aspects such as: Household children mapping; explaining and motivating parents about the importance for them to send their children to school, finding out about the challenges faced by OSCs, coming up with solution as much as possible, providing scholarships, creating or improving school environments, educating about children’s rights, implication of domestic violence on children, and setting up special classes for continuing the education of lder children.
Mr. Ith Vuthy, The Deputy Director of The Kampong Thom provincial education department, thanked AEA and partners, especially Youth Stars, for helping in the education sector in Kampong Thom as well as in other parts of the country and also encouraged stronger support for projects and activities.
“There are four major factors contributing to the improvement of the education sector: children; families; local communities and the national society. While the last two factors have already moved forward, the first two factors remain challenging since a lot of children and families are still in poverty,” said Mr. Vuthy. “It is for this reason we are supporting the initiative of consultation and discussions to seek solutions to the problems. We cannot just rely on NGOs, but we, the communities, should actively participate so these problems can be successful ,” he added.
The CCOSC is a coordinated project that was implemented by a group of 22 national and international NGOs that work in the field of education in Cambodia to provide support to a total targeted number of 57,000 OSCs all across the country for a period of 3 years. The project is funded by the Qatar-based international NGO, Educate A Child (EAC) thorough AEA Cambodia.