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USAID and Partners Launch Behavior Change Campaign to Advance the Development of Young Children and Advocate For Inclusive, Integrated Early Childhood Development

Siem Reap, April 1, 2023 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a targeted campaign headed by the Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Activity with the aim of supporting young children to thrive and reach their full development potential. The IECD Activity promotes Nurturing Care from caregivers, including both men and women, for children starting from before birth through age 5. The IECD Activity is led by RTI International, with its partners Helen Keller International and Safe Haven, in collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia.

On April 1st, 2023, approximately 30 key stakeholders and 170 families gathered at Heritage Walk Mall in Siem Reap town for the launch of the Behavior Change Communication (BCC) campaign. This event will be held again on April 8th, 2023 in Chi Kraeng District, Siem Reap Province.

The BCC Campaign has been designed to support the Royal Government of Cambodia’s efforts to improve holistic developmental outcomes for young children by promoting Nurturing Care, addressing gender inequality, preventing stunting and increasing early identification and intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities, starting from before birth to age 5.

Mr. John Ames, Country Director and Chief of Party for the IECD Activity, RTI International, said: “The aim of the event is to promote equal engagement and participation from men and women in raising children, to help them meet their critical cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional, and physical developmental milestones.”

The event was held under the theme of “My Good Husband, My Smart Children” aimed to challenge stereotypes by advocating that men can provide equally good care to children as women, and that caregivers can take turns to caring for children when one needs to take a break. The event also highlighted the importance of responsive caregiving and early learning that help children learn, grow and thrive.

Mrs. Thon Syna, Deputy Director of the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Education and a member of the Provincial Women and Children Consultative Committee (PWCCC), said: “This campaign is key to reducing stigma regarding gender roles in childcare that significantly impact child development because nutrition and early childhood stimulation remain a concern.”

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