Will we listen to them? COVID-19 vs children’s rights in Cambodia

1 June 2020

Six child-focused organisations in the Joining Forces Alliance released a joint statement and joint op-ed on the impact of COVID-19 on children in Cambodia and their recommendations to the Royal Government of Cambodia, development partners and civil society organisations to put children at the heart of all stages of Cambodia COVID-19 emergency response.

Phnom Penh, 1 June 2020 – 6 child-focused organisations in the Joining Forces alliance released a joint statement and joint op-ed on the impact of COVID-19 on children in Cambodia and our recommendations to the Royal Government of Cambodia, development partners and civil society organisations to put children at the heart of all stages of Cambodia’s COVID-19 emergency response.

While the Royal Government of Cambodia, development partners and CSOs are sharing their concerns on COVID-19 and are currently developing plans to respond to COVID-19, Joining Forces alliance suggests key priorities voiced by children and young people in our network should be taken into account including concerns around education, livelihoods, food security and child nutrition, prevention of COVID-19, child protection, health (including mental health, water sanitation and hygiene), and child participation.

Education has been hit the hardest by COVID-19 in the Kingdom. According to a survey conducted by Joining Forces and CRC Cambodia with children aged 10-17, while a very high proportion of children are reporting continuing some sort of home learning, half of them study for less than 10 hours a week, which is only half of what they would do on a normal week at school. Half of students face challenges in accessing online learning materials because of internet connectivity. These concerns require strategic preparation and technical guidelines for all schools in the country.

A series of rapid assessments and surveys have also shown that COVID-19 is already having an intense effect on children’s well-being. We, as grassroots organisations, are especially concerned how vulnerable children, especially girls, those living with disabilities and those living in marginalised communities will be able to cope with the wide-ranging educational, social and economic impact of this crisis.

Members of the Joining Forces alliance are ready to collaborate and support the Royal Government of Cambodia in its nationwide coordinated efforts to respond to and recover from COVID-19, so children will be safe.

The details of the challenges raised by the children and the recommendations made by the Country Directors of the 6 organisations of Joining Forces are included in the full joint statement under the title: “Donors and government must put children’s rights at the heart of COVID-19 response” and the joint op-ed under the title: “Will we listen to them?

Emergencies, COVID-19