Cambodia Bags Girls' Education Prize

This photo shows the Girls’ Education Program’s Study Club Reflections in high school. Photo: Room to Read Cambodia

PHNOM PENH – Cambodia's arm of the international Room to Read organization is a joint winner of the 2022 UNESCO Prize for Girls' and Women's Education.

The Girls’ Education Programme by Room to Read Cambodia shared the prize with the “Girls' Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative from Tanzania.

Each laureate will receive $50,000 to advance its work.

The prize was announced by UNESCO on Oct. 10, International Day of the Girl. It honors outstanding and innovative contributions by individuals, institutions, and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education.

It is the first UNESCO prize of this nature and is unique in showcasing projects that improve and promote the educational prospects of girls and women and, in turn, the quality of their lives.

Funded by China, the prize is conferred annually on two laureates. Room to Read Cambodia has been recognized for its education programme which helps girls aged 12-18 to develop skills to succeed in school and in life.

The program is evidence-backed and proven to empower girls while fighting prejudices and fostering an enabling environment that engages parents and communities, adolescent boys, and government stakeholders.

Room to Read serves over 6,000 girls through programs in 42 secondary schools in five provinces across Cambodia. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Room to Read’s Literacy Program works in government schools in four provinces.

Room to Read Cambodia recently developed a training manual titled "Life Skills Education for District Resource Groups in Target Provinces” to support social mobilizers and educators in providing life skills education to students in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program.

The manual was developed at a Room to Read conference in September which brought together representatives from Cambodia’s Curriculum Development Department, Secondary Education Department, Vocational Orientation Department of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as well as staff from Room to Read’s Girls' Education Program.

By the end of the conference, the group finalized the training manual, which will be distributed to social mobilizers and educators in the coming months.

Room to Read has also had great success with Girls’ Education Program in Cambodia, which has received international attention. In March 2015, US First Lady Michelle Obama and the First Lady of Cambodia Bun Rany visited one of the Girls’ Education Program sites in Siem Reap where they met program participants.

Additionally, 2019 was the third year that girls from the program graduated from Grade 12.

“We are proud to share that our pass rate is 17 percent higher than the national pass rate of 69 percent,” the statement read.

Room to Read Cambodia was founded in 2002 with a commitment to help the country rebuild its educational system through a partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MoEYS). In partnership with the MoEYS, Room to Read’s Literacy Program currently works in government schools in four provinces.

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