Ms. Kruy Varin is a midwife at a clinic in Kompong Thom, a rural province in Cambodia. Varin’s education and training as a midwife focused more on midwifery theories, technical skills, and some practices for antenatal and postnatal care and delivery. However, her training did not include how to interact with clients, nor how to counsel clients on various health topics. Varin admits that she was harsh with her clients, even unfriendly and impolite. Because of this treatment, some of her clients did not want to meet with her, foregoing the important health care she could provide, especially to pregnant women.
All this changed after Varin participated in training courses through the TOGETHER project.
TOGETHER: Building Health Care Providers’ Confidence and Capacity
The TOGETHER project, with generous support from Global Affairs Canada, is working with remote and indigenous communities in Cambodia, Kenya, the Philippines, and Uganda to ensure that the most vulnerable people, especially girls and women, can exercise their health-related human rights.
One way TOGETHER achieves this is by strengthening the ability of healthcare providers to deliver quality services to their clients. Sometimes this happens through the provision of equipment and resources. Other times, as in the case with Varin, it is through professional trainings that build healthcare providers’ capacity and confidence.
Making a Difference
Varin attended three trainings from the TOGETHER project. One focused on Sexual, Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender topics. Another delved into Youth Counseling Skills for Youth and Survivors of Violence and Abuse. The third training centred on Nutrition Counseling Skills and Parenting Skills through Learning Through Play (LTP) and Making Mealtimes Matter.
Varin has been re-energized in her work. She now spends more time with clients. Sometimes she stays overnight at the health centre to receive patients. These changes have led to an increase in the number of clients coming for the care they need.
Prior to the trainings, Varin did not have specific skills or experience related to sexual health and rights, gender equality awareness, or an in-depth understanding of gender-based violence. After participating in the TOGETHER trainings, Varin has undergone many changes. She is now confident as she counsels her clients and other people in her community. This has made the people who come for health services feel satisfied and confident in her.
Varin says she is grateful to the supporters of TOGETHER which has provided capacity building opportunities through the trainings. She hopes for more trainings in advanced counseling, mental health, and anything else related to midwifery and nursing.
by: Kong Phano, ADRA Cambodia, with Heather Grbic, ADRA Canada
 uniting Towards Gender Equality for enjoyment of women’s and girls’ Total HEalth and Rights