The ministry, with support from UNICEF, the World Bank and GPE, developed the Equity Index to capture disparities in education.
The ministry used the index to identify the most disadvantaged areas and provided additional resources for targeted local government efforts, including the (re)enrollment of girls in school through the Girls’ Access To Education (GATE) program.
Comprehensive sexuality education for all
“Education is the backbone and driving force for achieving all development goals,” said Dr. Yung Kunthearith from the Ministry of Education, Cambodia, who shared his government’s commitment to ensuring education policies are inclusive and equal.
“Comprehensive sexuality education will be taught from grades 5 to 12. The Cambodian government is also focused on promoting hygiene and sanitation in schools, focusing on menstrual health care for girls.” He also highlighted that even though the education budgets have been under strain during the pandemic, Cambodia still prioritizes the importance of investing in education for all.
Supporting mental health, food security and menstrual hygiene
Applesta shared Human Touch Foundation’s support for adolescent girls during the pandemic, such as telephonic and in-person counseling, door-to-door delivery of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) and scaling up food security programs with support from the YouthLead Young Key Population Small Grants Program.
The foundation also initiated the EcoSwitch Campaign to support adolescent girls and young menstruators from rural communities across Goa with access to sustainable menstrual products.
At the end of the session, the audience shared their reflections and recommendations, with several key themes emerging: opportunities for adolescent girls to engage meaningfully with decision makers, supportive laws, policies and investment at the country level and the need for urgent cross-sectoral action.
Tomoko Fukuda, regional director of IPPF ESEAOR, remarked, “Adolescent girls are the future … Your voices and needs matter. ”
Anh Duong emphasized, “It is time for us to act now for adolescent girls. Policies and programs must be intersectional and address all forms of discrimination faced by them.”
As Larisha aptly said, “… Please think of our needs. We are here, ready to be consulted on how to ensure responses capture the needs of adolescent girls and girls with disabilities.”
Watch the recording here.
About the Asia Pacific Working Group on Adolescent Girls
The Asia Pacific Working Group on Adolescent Girls is co-chaired by the International Planned Parenthood Federation East and South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR) and Plan International Asia-Pacific. Members include Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, CREA, Care Asia, Save the Children Asia, ECPAT International, GPE, Girls Not Brides, IPPF South Asia, Pacific Girl, Terre des Hommes, UNICEF, UN Women Asia and the Pacific Regional Office, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office, YouthLead and YPEER Asia Pacific.