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Project report

Healthy mothers and babies, Cambodia Cambodia , RUN BY: CARE Australia | STATUS: COMPLETED

Photo by: Josh Estey/CARE

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 25,003

Raised from 11,116 people

The Healthy Mothers and Babies Project aims to reduce high maternal and infant death and illness as well as improve child nutrition levels. The project is part of a broader program that tackles women’s health education in two ways: firstly, raising awareness of health issues among women working in the garment industry; and secondly, strengthening systems for ensuring that rural women can get hospital-based care in emergencies.

Project activities

Healthy Mothers and Babies is a multifaceted program that mainly targets women in the garment industry.  Key activities included

1) A study to understand the maternal and child health needs of women working in the garment industry.

Completed, in partnership with International Labour Organisation,

2. A study focusing on caregivers of children under two years

The study indicated that in the five provinces, children under two children spent a significant amount of time each day in the care of secondary caregivers, particularly grandmothers and older siblings.

As a result, the program will be tailored to address issues faced by mothers with regard to care and feeding, but will also improve services for secondary caregivers to ensure they have the required skills and knowledge.

3. Communications to reach the women in clothing factories

A multi-layered approach to communication to reach the women in clothing factories where the clothing brand has not been willing to facilitate the work themselves.

  • A pilot program is being conducted in a factory in Prey Veng Province to provide valuable information on how CARE and it partners can be successful in gaining access to this sector of the industry.
  • CARE created cohesion among government agencies to facilitate cooperation in reaching these women. A meeting held in May 2012 in Prey Veng Province convinced the Labour, Women’s Affairs, and Health departments to form a technical working group under the Provincial Deputy Governor.
  • The first train-the-trainer session for those who will train the health awareness Peer Educators in Prey Veng was held in April 2012. The training was held over three days and covered topics such as facilitation of peer groups, maternal health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and family planning. There were twenty participants from the Provincial Department of Labor, Health and Women’s Affairs. The pilot also works closely with garment factory management.

4) A pilot project to test whether Village Savings and Loan Associations could help to financially sustain Emergency referral systems for maternity/births.

Between 2007 and 2010, CARE worked with 70 villages in Koh Kong Province to establish systems that would ensure transportation for women who required emergency obstetric services and skilled birth attendance from a referral hospital. These systems, called Village Emergency Referral Systems (VERS), train and equip local people to assess injury, illness or complications, to take correct first aid steps, and then to arrange transport to hospital if required.

The communities placed high value on VERS but they have been difficult to sustain financially.

In 2012, a pilot project was designed to test whether Village Savings and Loan Associations could help to financially sustain VERS. Then, with its partners, CARE trained twenty staff, whose job it will be to engage and train communities in how to successfully and accountably manage a Village Savings and Loan association.

Thyda's story: My important job.

In a bustling garment factory in Phnom Penh, Thyda Pin (pictured) earns a living sewing clothes. Thyda grew up in Svay Reang Province but, like so many, moved to Phnom Penh to get a job to help support her family. The garment industry employs 350,000 people in Cambodia. Many of the women working in garment factories are vulnerable to exploitation because they have migrated to unfamiliar cities, have little formal education, poor health literacy and limited experience managing their income.

Thyda Pin holds an important role at the factory, working as a Peer Educator to share health information with her co-workers. Peer education sessions in factories cover topics such as maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, microfinance savings and remittance tools. Education sessions are run during the factory lunch break so that all workers have an opportunity to participate.

‘I never thought I would have the ability to provide information to other people. After the training I became a member of the Peer Educator [program] and I feel excited that I can talk with my friends [factory workers] about information relating to health,’ she says.

Thyda Pin’s story illustrates the work that will be done by Peer Educators trained under the current program. The sessions cover a variety of information. A maternal and child health session, for example, covers information such as healthy pregnancy and childbirth, caring for yourself and your infant after childbirth, knowing how to get help, and knowing your rights. These sessions are designed to be interactive and engage participants in discussion.

How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
***World Nomads UK
Travel Insurance Direct AU
Travel Insurance Direct NZ
***General Donations
CARE Australia

CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. As a non-religious and non-political organisation, CARE works with communities to help overcome poverty by supporting development and providing emergency relief where it is needed most.

Last year, CARE assisted 122 million people across 84 countries through 1,015 poverty-fighting projects.