The Women’s Development Centre (WDC) Project was a pilot economic empowerment project for women, which started in 2006 and ended in 2010.
The project had three development objectives:
- To facilitate human development for low-income women through life skills training and advocacy support.
- To promote and support micro- and small entre- preneurship development by providing ade- quate information, facilitating access to credit, and enabling links to various organizations and resources.
- To build the capacity of institutions that promote woman-friendly entrepreneurial environment.
There were four components to the project:
- The establishment of a WDC in Siem Reap and the upgrading of one in Kompong Chhnang.
- Life skills training and advocacy support for women.
- Micro- and small enterprise development and support.
- Capacity building and project management support.
The project achieved its objectives, which were to upgrade existing Women in Development Cenres into integrated WDCs. This meant a substantial shift in the activities of the centre, expensive institutional strengthening and capacity building, and introduced an effective working system at the commune level with the potentiality for production, knowledge sharing and creativity.
Women’s capacity increased, which resulted in higher incomes, a more important economic role in the family, and recognition in the community. Thanks to the project’s enabling environment, women entrepreneurs made unique, innovative products that honoured their community and were in demand on the market.
The WDC project yielded good lessons learned that can be used by anyone looking to implement a sim- ilar project or upgrade traditional training centres. The basis of this strategy is to build capacity and effectively implement a train-the-trainer approach so that operational staff can apply the PMED approach to improve its service. Similarly, it can diversify the functions of the centre and strengthen the institution to mobilize relevant local resources to remove the barriers facing women, provide the necessary tech- nical skills, link the local product to the market, and improve earning capacity.