Remarks by Marc Bonnenfant, Education Officer Office of Public Health and Education, USAID/Cambodia Family Care First - Learning Summit

Speeches Shim

Thursday, September 1, 2022

(as prepared for delivery)

  • Your Excellency, Nim Thot (NIM TOT), Secretary of State, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth 

  • Other Excellencies, DoSVYs

  • Local and International NGOs, ladies and gentlemen.

CHUM REAP SOUR! Thank you for joining this Learning Summit. Back to in-person.  I am always proud when I have this Family Care First folder in my hand. It represents a partnership with more than 60 local and international NGOs.  It also reflects our collaboration with the MoSVY as we help the most vulnerable Cambodians live in safe, family-based care.

I would like to recognize the Ministry for their leadership and coordination with Save the Children and the members of the Family Care First network. Since we last met, the Minister and his team hosted Social Work Day in May, an important opportunity to recognize the role of social workers in society. Congratulations for organizing that nice event.

I’d like to point out that social service workforce was also discussed during the high-level, ASEAN meetings here in Cambodia during the first week of August.  In the last quarter, there has been steady progress on national level issues, such as the Child Protection Law, the Strategic Plan for the Social Service Workforce, and on training module development. I want to applaud MoSVY for this progress. Several important project-level studies were also completed: the REACT endline study, the Livelihood endline study, Lessons Learned from RCI closures, and a Kinship and Foster Care Study. *** That’s a lot to read and reflect on. *** 

I want to especially recognize our implementing partners on the ground for your work on child protection and livelihoods. Some of you have heard me say this before, but I worked as an implementing partner on the ground and understand your role, how much we ask of you, what we request as donors and government. I know it is a lot. Thank you for your partnership and for all that you do to support Cambodian families.

It is terrific to see and learn about the progress you have made on disability, transitioning and closing RCIs, registering cases in OSCaR, and placing children in kinship and foster care.

The cash and livelihood component of FCF has concluded, and we will hear more about this today.  There are two key findings that I want to highlight.  100% of households that received cash or livelihood assistance used that assistance for child protection services for the children in their care.  Households increased their income by 75% as a result of the additional funding that USAID secured for Cambodia during COVID.

Now, the REACT endline study also highlighted successes and challenges. Overall, 38,000 beneficiaries received family preservation and support services. That exceeded our target.  However, the number of children reintegrated through REACT was less than planned due to a range of challenges. We know reintegration is harder.  We need to find ways to help Cambodians become better aware of the helplines. This is an important way of supporting children who are at risk.

Therefore, I would like to encourage MoSVY, DoSVY and partners to continue to find ways to raise awareness of helplines (so that their services are provided where needed.) Let’s reflect and ask ourselves:  how can we do this better?

I will conclude there. Once again, thanks to government and partners staff for your engagement in these important national level issues & the project-level studies. We look forward to using the findings and recommendations in our future work together.

Awkuhn ch’raan.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 02, 2022

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