“I was so scared before. Every time I met a stranger or someone with a big belly, I was always nervous”
Nhiek Boly, a mother of three, in South-Eastern Cambodia, says she lacked the confidence to speak up in public and in front of important and powerful people. But this is not the case anymore.
Boly is now head of the Access to Justice Committe (AJC), a platform set up by Oxfam and five local partners to help resolve issues locally and avoid conflicts. She is also a member of her Commune Council in Thmey Commune.
“Being elected head of the committee has allowed me to get involved in a lot of social work, and I now have the confidence to play a bigger role in the community.”
“I had mixed feelings at the time. I was excited that the community trusted me enough to choose me as head of the committee. But I was worried about the workload. I didn’t know how I would handle it or how I would be able to give back to those who voted for me”
In her new role as Head of the AJC committee, since 2013, Boly has taken part in training sessions and exchange visits to develop her understanding of the law and alternative dispute resolution methods as well as her advocacy and leadership skills. Armed with these new abilities, she has become a highly respected leader with a strong voice in the running of her community.
Boly says she has learned a lot since taking up the position and she hopes other women will follow her example and gain the confidence to play a more active role in their communities.
“I would encourage all women, even those who are married, to devote some of their time to working in the community,” said Boly.