Mr. Som Chea, a Cambodia YMCA staff and a member of Cambodian Ageing Network
The Cambodia Young Men’s Christian Volunteer Association (Cambodia YMCA) is one of the Voice’s empowerment grantees that is implementing the project of “Youth Action to Promote Voice of Elderly People (YAPVE)” in Phnom Penh. YMCA has engaged with HAC through a couple of meetings to discuss the OPA model and replication.
From 2018-2019, YMCA has started established the OPAs in Phnom Penh following the guideline and advice from HAC. However, YMCA found a lot of struggle in communicating and coordinating with the local authority sincere during the establishment and registration process at Sangkat level of these newly OPAs. “I found very hard and struggle a lot in seeking cooperation and support for the establishing the OPAs in Sangkat Phom Penh Thmey, Sankat Khmounh, Sankat Toulsangkae, and Sankat Kakap1. Because of lacking cooperation and support from the local authority, I failed to establish OPA in Toulsangkae commune, Ruseykeo district by my plan”. They all seem not willing to support and push me to ask permission from their supervisor from PoSVY in Phnom Penh sincere I already followed the OPA establishment guideline that recognized by MoSVY”, Said Mr. Chea.
YMCA has also registered as a member of Cambodian Ageing Network (CAN) within 2019 and attended the regular quarterly meeting every three months with all CAN’s members. Through this mechanism, Mr. Chea has shared about these challenges and seek for consultations with other OPAs and Federations among CAN’s members about their experiences in dealing with the local authority and the good practice of OPA establishment. “I have shared these challenges and keep consultation with HAC and OPAs in CAN in order to find a good solution to deal with the local authority during the OPA establishment process within that period”.
Mr. Chea was invited to join in several capacity building and training that organised through the project for all CAN’s members on the key topics that related to Age Demands Action, Commune Fund Proposal Development, and relevant policy supporting older people. He also engaged in a series of stakeholder meetings and workshops through CAN’s activities. “I have joined in most of CAN’s activities and meetings, particularly during the workshop with key government ministries in Phnom Penh. I gained a lot of information related to policies and interventions to support older people in Cambodia”.
Learning from the collective actions of CAN to support older people in Cambodia, Mr. Chea has requested support all 7 OPAs in Sangkat Phnom Penh Thmey, Sankat Khnounh, and Sankat Kakap 1 to register as the members of CAN and propose them to engage with most activities of CAN upon acceptance of the registration by the president. “I have supported all 7 OPAs in these communes in fulfilling the registration form to be the members of CAN. I find this is really important to work together in one mechanism and I really appreciate CAN’s activities in supporting older people so far”.