South East AsiaERIKS Development Partner
ERIKS work in the region
We are working in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. The regional office is in Cambodia, Phnom Penh. The strategy of our work is to work through and with local organization partners.
Many of the projects are focusing on child education and child protection. The social sector, particularly child protection, in the countries are weak and the budget allocation towards this sector is low in combination with high level of corruption, and it has led many girls and boys to be exposed to trafficking, sexual abuse, physical and emotional violence and neglect – especially those girls and boys from ethnic minority communities. Also, the level of education is low in the countries.
In Laos ERIKS work is among Indigenous People in the north among 14 villages. The focus is on Children’s rights in education, health and protection. The strategy of the work is integrated village development so that the society will be able to provide for their children.
Pre-schools teachers in a number of villages have been trained and got approval by the government to use the local language in parallel with Lao language and local traditional art. That has increased learning capacity among the children and acceptance from the parents. Nearly all children continue in the local school up to grade 4/5. Animal raising has changed to some extent and is more effective specifically with fence around the village to keep the animals outside which increase the health among the villagers. Some families have tried new alternatives in non-timber forest production as cardamom with good result. These 14 villages are located in mountainous areas with very little government support services, lack of road access, food security shortage and lack of social service and with many different Indigenous Peoples. It is an area with opium production and use. People´s livelihood have been shifting cultivators and agroforestry. Health status has been low as well as education, most of the adult women do not know how to speak or read Lao. Food security have only reached 8 months a year with starvation as a consequence.
As a result of the project the quality of life has improved in 14 communities through helping them to establish sustainable livelihoods, achieved better health and nutrition status, improved management of natural resources, and reached higher levels of education.
A mile stone among one Indigenous People, 9 girls continued education and have just completed grade 6 for the first time in history.
In Cambodia ERIKS is working through partnership with 6 organizations, implementing programmes which focuses on 1) Child protection, trafficking and all forms of rights violation and abuse. 2) Children’s right to live in a family. 3) Parenting skills and livelihoods. 4) Community responsibility for humanitarian assistance with child rights focus. 5) Education for children. 6) Rehabilitation for children that have been subjected to trafficking, gender-based violence or abuse.
Child protection and education issues have been taken into account by the government. Legal frameworks and policies have been developed with ERIKS partner organisations as facilitators. Such as bailiff systems for victims and the victims’ families, Minimum Standards of Residential Care and financial education integrated into the school curriculum. The resources earmarked by the government for child issues is very limited. It is also a lack of implementation of developed policies.
The work of ERIKS has therefore been to strengthen different actors to implement a number of policies and equip duty bearers as authorities and parents to care, prevent and support children at risk and those who’s rights has been violated. As a result, orphanages make reintegration plans for the children and move their services towards family and community care. Children who have left an orphanage, have been living independently and gradually improving their living conditions. Totally, 123 trafficking and sexual abuse cases (114 girls) were closed successfully and 24 of them had received fair compensation. It is a significant change as in the past, the victims had never dare to file complaints in court. Six girls from slum areas are able continue their study in university, which is very rare. Parents are sending their children to school even if the previously had asked them to work. Local authorities have been trained in child rearing issues and have supported and trained parents under their responsibility.
ERIKS has been working in partnership with five partner organisations to promote child protection, child education and child health in Myanmar. Since armed conflict is still ongoing, humanitarian assistance with child rights focus is also being implemented, particularly in Kachin state, in the north of Myanmar.
The government in both controlled areas and non-government-controlled areas have increased their cooperation with ERIKS’s partners in responding to child issues. Varies child protection mechanisms have been developed and applied with participation from children.
The armed conflict setting and ambivalent between the central government and independent organizations, has prolonged the peace agreement that have a huge negative impact on the work with children. Limited understand on child rights issues among government officials, parents and communities is major issue. As well as lack of resources in education and social services.
The result of the work by ERIKS partner organisations have changed parent’s attitude to their children and have reduced/stopped using physical and verbal punishment. Children feel safe to go to schools and other places in villages, which is not the case in the past. In 2017, 108 students in boarding houses/refugee camps were able to completed their education at grade 11, and they are now continuing theirs study at college and university level. Evidently, 64 young people (34 girls) who felt hopeless and were isolated from society, have started small businesses such as sewing, repairing motorbike and making soap for selling in their villages. Other significant outcome is 1,117 preschool children have become healthier, physical and mentally developed and feels safe.
Pregnant women and mothers have knowledge on providing proper antenatal care, safe delivery and post-natal care, essential new-born care and proper nutritional intake for pregnant mothers.