In the DEA programme, capacity building is one of the important parts to enhance the knowledge and understanding of DPA staff and DPA partner organizations and target beneficiaries of development issues such as gender and development, decentralization, local government and the issues that negatively impact people’s live. As part of the effort to build communities’ capacity, DEA staff conducted public forums, training courses, meeting/workshops, and also developed educational materials.
Mr. Lean Loun, aged 45, was a farmer in Phluk village, Kampun commune, Sesan district, Steung Treng province.
He has learned a great deal after participating in gender network meetings and community education about gender and domestic violence prevention, women rights and domestic violence laws. It took him some time to learn and share family issues and he confessed to mistreating his wife and children.
“I have completely changed my attitude and now I have stopped drinking,” he said. “I care about my children’s education and making an incomes so I started to change early this year after attending many education programmes held by gender network and community education. At first, I felt reluctant to share my story and concerns with community members, but I later felt closer to them and told them about committing violent acts. I learned human rights, the consequences of violence and how to resolve family conflicts peacefully.”
Mr Lean Loun now turns down his friends’ invitations to drink and tells them about the negative impact of drinking. “The people in Phluk village appreciated the changing behaviour of Mr. Loun because it would not only benefit his family but also the community as a whole, “said Mrs. Lorn Vieng, Commune Women Affairs.
With regard to gender and development, there has been positive change in the practice of local authorities in terms of properly enforced laws on domestic violence and better coordination with all DPA programmes and partner organisation in promoting women in leadership positions and development works. More women have become leaders in the community and have confidence in decision-making and project management. For example, in the ICD project in PVH, there are 851 village development actors (VDAs) (314 or 36% women ) and in the ICD project in Stung Treng province, there are 398 VDAs (198 or 49% women). The target communities have changed their habits and behaviour as they now raise women’s issues with relevant stakeholders particularly commune council and policemen, and they appear to be well prepared in problem solving by working, speaking and helping one another for a common purpose . There have been remarkable changes in the behaviour of men who now understand women’s rights and values, share household responsibilities, support their families and encourage women to participate in community development.