Anyhow, I've just returned to Phnom Penh from the provincial town of Kompong Thom (which is also the name of the province, very confusing). It's pretty much smackdab in the middle of the country. I went with members of GTZ for a workshop on domestic violence. The primary purpose of the workshop was to gather district officials, NGOs, provincial government, police officers, and line ministerial people so they can put together a service directory. So that, for example, when the governor of the province has someone come to him with a domestic violence situation he can look in this directory to know who to call. But since they had them all gathered it was also a good time to do a little training on what domestic violence consists of, the stages of it, and what services can be offered at all levels. There were a little under 100 people there and they all participated quite a bit.
On a positive note, everyone was very interested in using the legal remedies to address the problem. The new domestic violence law has been very well publicized and officials seem almost eager to use it. GTZ is focusing more on the social side of things though, so it was a little troubling for them not to have people responding to the question of what can we do for the victim at each of these stages with examples of social services. It's great that they're recognizing that the perpetrator should be punished, this represents a positive change, but now they need to start thinking about helping the victim as well. After the participants were redirected they did start to throw out service ideas that are offered and could be offered, however, such as counseling, medical assistance, etc. Please note this whole thing was in Khmer so I was relying on members of GTZ to translate for me when they could. So I pretty much just got the gist of it. But it was interesting to see how the Ministry of Women's Affairs has provincial and district departments (the provincial department for Kompong Thom was in charge of this), and how things work throughout the countryside. The pictures here are from Kompong Thom and the workshop. The billboard is produced by GTZ.
Tomorrow back to the office, and meeting with a poverty specialist from the World Bank at some point. This weekend I'm moving out of my favorite little guesthouse and into Doris' house for the week since she'll be gone and it's free. Yep, have my own house complete with security, cook, cleaner, laundry, driver. It's a rough life I lead.