‘Sometimes I feel like I don’t know who I am. But the Community is building up what is inside of me.’
Gender inequality in Cambodia has meant that since 2007 only 22% of elected representatives to the national assembly were women - and only 16% of all commune councillors are women. 

Cord Cambodia and its partner GADC are working together to introduce new ways of learning, providing women with the confidence to participate in their nation's future.

Chea Syna was invited to be one of 40 members of a ‘community of practice’ addressing women’s civil and political participation. As one of the youngest members, she does not have a lot of work experience, but has good academic qualifications and the ability to think critically.

The community meets to share experiences and help one another become better at what they do. At the first meeting, Chea was not happy. She felt that she learned nothing new, as she had an expectation of what she might be told. The facilitators and mentors were well prepared for this response. Transformative learning is a process that explores the experiences of the individual - quite alien to the ‘rote learning’ methods of Cambodian schools. The mentors worked with her to develop her understanding of this new method of self-awareness.

At the next meeting, Chea realised that by sharing what she had discovered with others, they could broaden their understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Now, in her work as a Gender Officer, she's found ways to integrate this learning and take initiatives that she would never have considered.

She said, ' Previously, I had no idea what to say in meetings with management - I just sat and listened. Today, I have ideas to share, a manager has come to me for advice and volunteers support ideas that I contribute. Sometimes I challenge my supervisors and this OK, too.’

‘Sometimes I feel like I don’t know who I am. But the Community is building up what is inside of me.’