April 28th, 2012

Soren of Phnom Penh

This is about the way to Yellowstone National Park and the Women’s Foundation of Montana Meeting,

What I have learned from the trip to Yellowstone National Park:
The roads are completely different from Cambodia. It is very real that easy travel brings success and easy work. Cambodia needs more years (that I cant predict)  to give its people good roads instead of the current bumpy ones. For instance the victims, as is the case in Cambodia, gives up her case in court due to difficulty while traveling to the court.

We saw a blooming hydrangea and some wild animals such as elks, buffaloes, deers etc., particularly I have learned from the United States about the way they conserve their legacy.

Eating lunch at West Chinese Restaurant lets me admire Chinese people who are very good and smart at business and making a good living.


April 27th, 2012

Nead of Phnom Penh

I woke-up with a very fresh feeling since I got to stay at the romantic Mountain Island Lodge. Then, everybody enjoyed a continental breakfast that was served at the lodge. It was highly warm welcome, and much  attention was paid by the people who work there. They served us nice meals, refreshments, drinks, ice-cream etc. which made us enjoy staying, even just for a night.

The morning session was moderated by Dr. Terry Weidner, reflection and discussion more about Violence Against Women and the Law which was shared by panelists yesterday in the Holding Up Half the Sky conference at University Center. Many debates about domestic violence, work migration, gender equality and sexual assault and law procedure. Each participant shared their own experiences and knowledge related to the above topics. Moreover, a lot of good examples have been disseminated to justify the facts. As the conclusion, we were to come up with some ideas such as: Education opportunity for girls and women by looking at the school curriculum so that they can apply in their daily life, life skills education to promote their self-esteem, promote community campaign, mass media is required, reinforcement of law, educate on economic in order to prevent trafficking, labor force etc.

In the afternoon the session was moderated by Ms. Julie R. Sirrs, we have been divided as small groups by country to think about three questions:

1- What is your 20 year vision?
2- What are the three key things to get you there?
3- What is the leadership aspect to reach this vision?

Then, each group reported back to the big group, and I would like to select some of the points that Cambodia team have been found:

1- Vision – (i). High percentage of women with better literacy and life skills necessary to negotiate key life decision (ii) Have more number of girls and women with access to the justice system (iii) Get 30% of women involved in politics.

2- Three key things
– Educate People ( Direct and Indirect)
§ Direct – Enhanced lobbying of all related ministries, agencies, institutions to consider building human resources.  This is the key priority especially, because the education sectors have to work very hard to build a foundation of young children from lower grades to make sure that they are able to read and write correctly and understandably-I mean to improve literacy. Provide capacity building training to relevant stakeholders, door to door meetings, and workshops with relevant topics.

§ Indirect – work with mass media to make sure people are aware of society issues, self-protection, utilize public services etc.
– Building Networking and Linkages with local and international agencies to share lesson learned and challenges for improvement or seeking for both technical and financial support.
– Law enforcement – all the justice system need to be implemented throughout the whole country.

3- Leadership – Building womens capacities so that they can be placed at the positions in which they could make decisions with full support from people around.

Below are some the response from other group;
Ø Having education opportunity
Ø Leadership forums
Ø Working on peer pressure
Ø Political, economic
Ø Gender mainstreaming in all level, propose gender budgeting in all field
Ø Promote role model in community level, household, promote self-esteem, women support groups
Ø Promote justice system, legal system reform if applicable
Ø Health care system, equal access to public health care, day care, pre-checkup
Ø Community campaigns

We finished the meeting at 3:30pm by taking group photos and returning to Missoula. Once, we arrived, we were gathered to have a group dinner at LoLo Steakhouse, where we had very delicious food.

April 26th, 2012

Guest Blogger: Chanthalangsy of Vientiane

The day before today, I was so confused about the schedule, even today I don’t know what will happen with my day until I enter the meeting hall.  I can see how today there will be a lot of people coming, and it was true there were about more than 200 people coming to share ideas about Women as in terms of violence, development, and leadership. Many professors from many majors came and shared their knowledge. It was wonderful to see the presentations giving real experience from the site of working. I will take this kind of  presentation style to implement in my related work. Today, I got one sentence that is useful for me: PROBLEM SHARE IS TRUST. It means people can share with you their own problems, which means those people trust in you.

The workshop went very well, but after the workshop I still confused about where will I sleep tonight. We have driven from the University to the place that we will stay for one night, and when I reached the lodge I found that I really love such a place like this. One special thing I never seen before is many experts from around the world come and share ideas to empower women with law, leadership and so on.

I have very nice sleep in a nice place and nice people surround me. The food here is very special as I have never tried Pasta Rice it was so yummy.

Day 26: April 24th, 2012

Guest Blogger: Chanthila of Vientiane

In this day at the morning session we were free so we all had time to do our work which was so busy day for everybody in the Women’s Empowerment Program, we were working on the action plan and grant proposal. The afternoon session started with a grant writing workshop and was an important session for myself comment even though it was so short a time, I still need more time in the grant writing workshop. I really hope that our friends thought like me because this session showed us how to write in order to get the grant, especially for my file work every year I have to start writing to get the grant from my government. I always use only the old form, and I think that I have to change some information in my form by using the proposal checklist and evaluation form to check my project proposal to get the fund from the government. The next session was about the technology workshop final review.  All of us were so sad for returning the IPod touches, but it was the good time for us to have the IPod during the fellowship. So kindly Toni gave us T-shirts for us 10 ladies.  We all were very happy! One thing so important for this day was that we had Nead’s birthday celebration at Mrs. Shu Shu’s house with foods were from the four countries such as Thai chicken soup, Cambodian lap, and papaya salad from Laos and dessert from Vietnam. After dinner we had birthday cake from all friends, big cake from the Holiday Inn as well as a nice cake from the Mansfield Center program. And last, we all did the New Year’s celebration, which each country was quite similar celebration to share with Shu Shu’s family. That’s a wonderful time for us.

Day 25: April 23

Guest Blogger: Sutada of Thailand

To have a few weeks to live with American’s home-stay family is another highlight of this program. I have experienced myself how Americans live and I would say that the way they live tells a lot about what the way they are. I’ve noticed that American’s way of life is the life of balancing their private and career in their living. No matter how busy they are during the weekdays, they are spending their personal life with their preferences and families during the weekend and holidays. However, if they have to work during weekend they trend to compensate the missed-out holidays somewhere in the near future.

Another essential of learning American’s lives is the way they work. They are early-bird and family oriented. They start working at 8am and finish their working hours at 5pm with one hour lunch break. I would say that Americans are a kind of “hard working” people.

I also have learned that they don’t dress up for working. In Thailand, people tend to dress up for working day and dress down during evening or for having dinner (except for the dating dinner- a lady might dress up but a gentleman won’t and rather be in casual dress than woman.) They are wearing jeans and casual shirts for working during the work day both women and men but they are dress up a bit for having eat-out dinner. The Governor of Montana himself never wears a necktie only the Bolo tie and the cowboy stye head belt and shoes with jeans!

April 23rd, 2012

Guest Blogger: Maliwan of Chiang Mai

Today I was very excited to come back to the University of Montana (UM) again after two week of the fellowship. In the morning the session on “Synthesizing Lessons Learned” by Mr. Otto Koester at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center was very interesting and useful because I have learned about how to develop an action plan, and we all shared ideas about our action plan which will be implemented in our home country by applying the lessons learned from the program. In the afternoon, I gained new knowledge from Dr. Jakki Mohr, School of Business Administration, UM about how to use marketing to promote the organization. After that my friends from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand and I, we went to Paxon School to join GUTS Program of YWCA, we introduced ourselves as well as our country to the girls, taught them to sing our songs as well as play some traditional games with them! That was amusing and I had a lot of fun meeting with such energetic and fantastic girls in the school.


Day 21: April 19th, 2012

Guest Blogger: Sokunmealea of Phnom Penh
I traveled to Helena to join partnership of Montana’s Future Coalition meeting. In the meeting, they updated some information regarding to state, federal, tax day, blog, candidate training, LR 123 (a referendum to provide taxpayers refunds of surplus state government general fund balance through an income tax credit based upon property and individual income taxes paid.)…etc and discussed the basic needs budget planning and LR 123 planning. Through this meeting, I’ve learned the principle of the Montana constitution, principle and indicators of spending and revenue policies based on human rights. I understood the strategies of NGO working to advocate any policy.

In Helena, I’m staying with Linda and David’s house (Soren’s home stay). They are very nice. I had dinner with them and Soren.