On February 9, 2017, the Multi-Disciplinary Advisory Group (MDAG) was launched. The MDAG was established through the Family Care First initiative and coordinated by Hagar International and First Step Cambodia. The aim of the group is to develop a set of minimum - social work standards to ensure that the quality of basic social work practice in Cambodia is standardized.
H.E. Nim Thoth, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), chaired the launch of the MDAG. Directors from various departments of MoSVY, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Interior attended, as well as representatives from other government institutions, local and international NGOs including the National Institute of Social Affairs, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Social Services of Cambodia, Save the Children and UNICEF. Also in attendance was Ms. Micaela Cronin, Chief Executive Officer of Hagar International, and Mr. Mike Nowlin, Executive Director of Hagar Cambodia. 35 people attended the launch, including 16 women.
The launch provided the opportunity for the MDAG’s members to agree on the group size and mandate. Other items on the agenda included the leadership structure and making sure that all involved had a good understanding of the scope of work and related timeframes.
HAGAR Project Manager Ms. Sandra Veloso shared her deep appreciation for the participation and commitment of the MDAG members. “All the members have agreed to provide their time, knowledge and advice to ensure that Cambodia will succeed in developing its first national minimum Social Work and Training Standards”, Ms. Sandra said.
H.E. Nim Thoth emphasized that children’s issues are a priority for both the Government and relevant stakeholders. Though there has been progress in dealing with the problems associated with poor childcare, there is still much work to be done in supporting children and their families. He supported the establishment of the MDAG and hoped the group members would work well together in sharing knowledge and experience in order to achieve the goal of the project by increasing the number of children living in safe, nurturing and family-based care. “Investment in our children is an investment in our national development”, H.E. Nim Thoth added.