The project “Strengthening Capacity of Young Women’s Leadership Network”

The Concluding Observations of the CEDAW Committee on the combined 4th and 5th report of the Royal Government of Cambodia highlights concerns in regard to the under-representation of women in public life; discrimination against pregnant mothers living with HIV; the need for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and new HIV infections among vulnerable populations (CEDAW/C/KHM/CO4-5, para 29&para36). However, measures to address the needs of these groups are inadequate. At present, no government institution works specifically on LBT rights. The Cambodia National Human Rights Commission has not been involved in LBT issues, and did not comment on LBT rights issues raised in reports to the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) for the 2013 UPR. Present work on changing attitudes and perceptions of these groups is limited, and support to the advocacy efforts of these groups is needed, as is awareness-raising of rights among both these groups and the general population. Engagement of gender equality organizations with LBT and HIV issues has also been limited to date.

Likewise, there are some small, isolated initiatives by young women to influence decision-making processes, but their voice in policy debate and decision-making remains limited. A broader young women’s movement, inclusive of the diverse groups and voices of young women, including HIV-positive women and girls and LGT, which would aim towards transformative change for all young women and girls, is yet in the making. Although many non-government entities provide support to men and women living with HIV/AIDS, tailored interventions for youth – beyond school based programs and lifeskills programs for out-of-school youth – are limited. 

In order to help the voice of young women including young women and girls living with HIV (YW/GLHIV) and LBTs, Open institute has designed a project “Strengthening Capacity of Young Women’s Leadership Network” which will model out an approach that will bring together members of the Young Women’s Leadership Network with above marginalized groups of young women and girls to coalesce around a common set of messages and agenda, build their capacity for joint strategic advocacy on policy issues to address their collective concerns. 

The project is implemented by the Open Institute in collaboration with partners in Phnom Penh and Battambang has as its overall aim to increase the participation of young women, including YW/GLHIV and LBT persons, in political dialogue, and to raise awareness of the rights of YW/GLHIV and LBT people and the need for accountability to gender equality commitments in country.

The project has the following four objectives:

      1)Provide the YWLN increased knowledge and skills to raise awareness of the rights of LBT and women and girls living with HIV/AIDS; 

      2)Strengthen dialogue between rights holders and duty bearers at the subnational level to build demand for gender-responsive policy implementation; 

      3)Improve capacity for collective advocacy by young women, young women and girls living with HIV (YW/GLHIV, and young LBTs) which is informed by awareness of their rights and influences public/policy dialogue on HIV and LBT; and 

      4)Increase awareness of women’s human rights in relation to YW/GLHIV and young LBT persons. 

The project pursues the perspective that the marginalization of young women, LBTs, young women and girls living with HIV needs to be dealt with in a holistic and systematic way. Marginalization has a natural way of reinforcing itself, particularly where marginalized groups are isolated from each other and lack collective voice. Because of this, the strategy argues that people who are marginalized, especially by multiple layers of factors (such as age, sex, sexual orientation, and HIV exposure) need to organize, bind together, and mount their actions upon a platform of solidarity. Thus, collective empowerment and action among the most marginalized is an approach that this project will test and attempt to prove as workable. 

The project will aim to create opportunities for young women’s empowerment, leadership and political participation, supporting the Young Women’s Leadership Network formally established in 2012 in Phnom Penh to engage with more marginalized groups of young women, namely, with YW/GLHIV and LBT, and so create opportunities for YW/GLHIV and young LBTs to participate through joint activities and platforms created by these groups collectively in influencing the mainstream agenda of youth. Support will be provided to the development of a common agenda for advocacy and action; the adoption of a shared communication and information strategy; building capacities for advocacy; and pursuing opportunities to influence policy dialogues to generate support for addressing the issues of marginalization of youth in the country, with particular focus on young women and youth who are LBTs and young women and girls who are living with HIV. 

Underlying all of the processes and activities will be a systematic learning-by-doing, mentoring, coaching and technical guidance and capacity building interventions for skills of YWLN to lead joint advocacy and collective communications with YW/GLHIV and LBT.  

The project “Strengthening Capacity of Young Women’s Leadership Network” funded by UN Women and is implementing by the Open Institute. The duration of project is eleven month, staring from 18 December 2014 to 15 November 2015. This up-scaling project aims to increase the participation of young women, including YW/GLHIV and LBT persons, in political dialogue, and to raise awareness of the rights of YW/GLHIV and LBT people and the need for accountability to gender equality commitments in country. 


The direct beneficiaries of this project would include young women network members who are young women, LBTs and YW/GLHIV and villagers as well as network/NGOs partners that work with women’s rights and issues related to gender. Additional beneficiaries would also include government institutions such as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and other organizations that may utilize the monitoring reports for future policy development.


The project implementation involve collaboration of partners in Phnom Penh and Battambang province such as Young Women Leadership Network (YWLN), Cambodian People Living with HIV Network (CPN)+, Cambodian Community of Women (CCW), CamASEAN, CHEMS, Khmer Youth for Social Development (KYSD). Four other potential partners are Jass SEA, Cambodia Young Women Empowerment Network (CYWEN), Khmer Youth Association (KYA) and People Health for Development Association (PHD). The project also works with Commune Sangkat Council Association and with National AIDS Authority (NAA). Collaboration also is made to UNDP and other development partners for a holistic approach to the issues. 



Project’s contact:

1.Mr. Uy Sareth, Program Manager

Email address:

Mobile number: 092 759 769


2.Ms.Manickam Sunnary, Program Assistant

Email address:

Mobile number: 012 758 930