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BRIEF April 17, 2018

Development Marketplace 2018: Cambodia


The winning Development Marketplace 2018 proposal from Monash University explores how Buddhist monks and their female devotees can help lower gender-based violence rates by inspiring behavior change.

Photo © Maurice Eisenbruch

Monash University | Culture for Change: Prevention of Gender-Based Violence

Project Summary:

This project aims to contribute to preventing gender-based violence (GBV) by harnessing local culture to combat GBV in Cambodia, one of the most violent countries in Asia. The aim of this project is to enrich the primary prevention of GBV in Cambodia through applied research on its cultural drivers, creating and applying a culturally responsive Theory of Change.

The objectives are:

  • Through action research, test how preliminary evidence on cultural drivers of GBV are valid in building a cultural model of GBV in Cambodia. The team will confirm how women, men, girls, and boys use their local cultural references to make sense of the GBV they have experienced or witnessed. Thus, the project will expose and analyze the cultural forces that underpin and shape the GBV "landscape."
  • Through collaborations with the Buddhist network, explore and test how interventions by monks and female devotees could modify risk behavior and contribute to the primary prevention of GBV. The team will examine theories and interventions used by monks to mitigate the effects of GBV and prevent further episodes. The team will document why perpetrators and survivors seek help from monks and female devotees and how it changes attitudes towards women and girls and the sense of impunity on GBV.
  • Through invited partnerships with government, multilateral and local agencies, explore ways to underpin the National Action Plans with a culturally responsive Theory of Change. Findings will be progressively incorporated into policy and strategy documents through established cooperation or partnerships with government Ministries and local NGOs, ultimately for prevention of GBV.

Expected outcomes:

  • An evidence base for cultural determinants of GBV;
  • Culture as the solution rather than the problem;
  • Enrichment of national capacity for primary prevention of GBV;
  • A culturally responsive Theory of Change 



Development Marketplace 2018: Tackling a Global Pandemic

Project Team:

Williem van de Put is Senior Research Fellow at Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. Van de Put is an experienced developer, manager, CEO and co-founder with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Van de Put is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Sustainable Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Mental Health, Social Inclusion and Emergency Management; and is a strong entrepreneurship professional with a MA, Msc focused in Philosophy, Anthropology, Medical Anthropology from Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Dr. Maurice Eisenbruch is Professor of Psychiatry at Monash University in Australia and Emeritus Professor at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Dr. Eisenbruch holds qualifications in medicine, psychiatry (University of Melbourne), medical anthropology (University of Cambridge), and education (Monash University). He carried out refugee research at the University of Cambridge and at Harvard Medical School, and developed the concept of "cultural bereavement."

In France, he was Professeur Associé at the University of Paris, Directeur d’Etudes Associé at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and was head of a research operation at the National Centre for Scientific Research on traditional healing, mental health, maternal child health and communicable diseases in Cambodia and neighboring countries. He was a co-founder of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Cambodia and advisor to the Buddhist Institute, mentoring practitioners in Buddhist psychotherapy and community mental health.

In Australia, as foundation Professor of Multicultural Health and Director of the Centre for Culture and Health at UNSW, he started Australia’s first program in cultural competence in medicine. He served on boards of international journals and as a consultant with UNESCO, UNFPA and WHO. His work since 2005 has focused on the cultural foundations and expressions of direct violence, including gender-based violence, acid attack, child physical and sexual abuse, and that perpetrated by Buddhist monks; structural violence affecting female garment workers; public violence affecting women evicted by land-grabbing; and the cultural drivers of impunity.

Theary Chan has been the Executive Director of a Cambodian NGO, the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance (RACHA), for more than 10 years. She is a graduate of Nursing and Midwifery, and obtained her Master's Degree in Public Health from the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She has more than 20 years of work experience in Cambodia and internationally, including nine years of management and advisory experience in maternal newborn and child health (MNCH) with HealthNet International and two years working as the visiting resident midwife at Hospital General in Paris and Romans, France. She completed an Advisory Skills Course organized by the Management for Development Foundation in Ede, Netherlands, and attended various international trainings, conferences as guest speaker and presenter.

Chan leads RACHA in implementing broad-based health programs aiming to help curb maternal, newborn and child mortality rates in the country. She has written many research papers in the field of MNCH and is actively involved in the conceptualization, incubation, and the subsequent implementation of projects in which gender is cross-cutting theme.