What issue are you trying to solve?
The proportion of older people in the Cambodian population is expected to double in the next thirty years. The needs of older persons especially women and those who are disabled and the issues associated with ageing currently receive little attention from planners, policymakers and the community in general.
Older women given their low rates of literacy have few employment or income-generating options especially if they are caring for grandchildren. While the rate of violence against older women is currently unknown it is known that 1 in 5 women experience sexual or physical violence before they are 64 years of age. Older women have much lower rates of participation in community meetings, lower voice in development activities, and they face more challenges in receiving healthcare and typically have poorer health than Cambodian men.
On the other hand, the older people who are living with disabilities in Cambodia have experienced multiple sources of disadvantage during their lifetimes. They have been found to have higher rates of illiteracy, lower rates of school attendance and of employment, and to be the poorest of the poor. Women living with a disability have also been found to experience higher rates of emotional, physical or sexual violence at home but be less able to report it or seek support. They are also considered more burdensome and less valuable within the household as compared to their peers without disability.
Thus, this VOP program enables older people to echo voices and those problems to the governments and advocate for their commitments in effectively implementing the existing national policies and program supporting older people aligning with the equitable implementations of Cambodian Sustainable Development Goal (CSDGs).
What is your approach to change this undesired situation?
The initial of this Voice of Older People (VOP) radio program is requested by older people and recognised by the government at both national and sub-national levels. HelpAge Cambodia has coordinated and linked this program with the existing national radio station of government and broadcast weekly.
There are three main features in this VOP program, which insist of the “Voice of Older People from communities” at every Monday about broadcasting the voices of older people from different marginalised groups to echo their voices, share their problems, concerns, and needs; identify solutions and address where they want the government from local level to national level to take actions. The second feature is the “Weekly Guest Speakers” on every Wednesday which engage with the key decision-makers and governments from different departments and sectors to join and share about their solutions in response to the problems/needs that raised by older people. The last feature is the “Ageing Knowledge Sharing” at every Friday, which allow older people from different resource to share about their knowledge and good practices around their contributions in the communities and social development as well as reading the related documents such as the National Ageing Policy to draw the attention of the public and government taken into action.
Moreover, this VOP radio program has also broadcasted in the social media such as Facebook, YouTube and website of the National Radio Station and HelpAge Cambodia. This help link to the young generation who love using social media to get further understand and aware of the issues of older people.
What is the potential impact of your initiative?
Through this VOP program, the voices of older people from different marginalised groups, particularly among the voiceless groups such older women and older people with disabilities were echoed and heard by the government and some decision-makers and also widely awarded by the public, particularly the citizens of Battambang where this national radio station based.
There are some notices and report about the increasing support for older people at the communities through the delivery of primary health care service and facilities at outreach levels and the allocation of local government fund supporting to the activities of older people associations at that outreach.