In the run up to the 2016 Young Leaders Series, I caught up with a few of the 2015 Young Leaders. Here's what some of them were up to in 2015. Stay tuned for the upcoming 2016 Young Leaders group, soon to be published.
Chak Sopheap, Executive Director, Cambodian Center for Human Rights, CCHR
Click here to read her 2015 Young Leaders Interview.
Q: What were your biggest challenges in 2015?
In 2015 I continued to encounter the trials of new leadership – we had the first ever organisational assessment at CCHR and used this as the foundation for our new strategic plan, which the existing strategy lasted by the end of 2015. I had to ensure the entire process was conducted in a transparent, participatory and accountable manner. As this was the first time we had ever completed such an assessment of the organization and a new wider consultative approach for strategy plan, it was a challenge to ensure we met the set goals within the given timeframe. At times it was stressful when things were delayed due to the demands of the participatory process, accommodating stakeholders' schedules, as well as consolidating much valuable input together.
In addition, the deterioration of the human rights and political situation in 2015 pressed the organisation and its leadership to be proactive and balance its operations when unexpected advocacy efforts were required, such as the Stop and Consult campaign on the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO), and when we needed to react to restrictions on fundamental freedoms.
Q: What were your biggest accomplishments in 2015?
Our organizational assessment was positive which proves that we are on the right track in terms of our actions and response to human rights concerns, and serving to the best of our ability our beneficiaries – affected communities - who are the reason for our work. A new and robust strategy has been defined, which will guide us for the next 5 years. Throughout the process, the openness we gained internally from our staff and stakeholders has enabled us to learn and get the most out of our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis.
Q: What projects/activities will you be working on in 2016?
CCHR has developed new core focus areas for programs in its Strategic Plan, which will inform key program areas for the next five years, and include protecting fundamental freedoms; judicial and legislative reform; equality and discrimination; business and human rights; and political participation, rights and reform. In addition to our existing projects, we have recently launched a new and innovative project – the Promoting and Protecting Digital Rights Project, which will focus exclusively on the protection of human rights in the digital context.
Q: What are your hopes for 2016.
My wish as always is to see Cambodians be able to enjoy the ability to exercise freely their rights so we can reach our full potential as a country. With our youths becoming increasingly active as agents of change, I have high hopes for Cambodia’s democratic future.