Campaigning for Change

Alongside the work we do in our This Life Without Violence program, This Life creates an annual social media campaign to coincide with the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-based Violence. Each year, we focus on a different angle of the issue, creating an ever-increasing range of resources to fight gender-based violence.

We use social media because it enables us to reach large numbers of Cambodians – far more than we could with traditional media – at very little cost. In addition, we can tailor our content to appeal to a pre-determined target audience, delivering messaging that has razor-sharp relevance. Over the years, we have become increasingly proficient in leveraging social media, and now every dollar we spend during a large-scale campaign yields a reach that ranges from 1,000 to 1,250 people.

Our campaigns include a mix of ephemeral elements and permanent resources. The social media element serves to drive momentum and direct interest to the permanent resources. We structure the campaign this way so each year we have an increasing pool of resources available to fight gender-based violence in Cambodia.

All resources created by This Life are freely available to other organisations. We regularly connect with representatives from these organisations to assist with capacity building in gender-based violence programming and social media campaigning.

This Life is fortunate to have a Memorandum of Understanding with Cambodia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs and our annual campaigns have strengthened this relationship. Without this cooperation we would not be able to facilitate training and awareness-raising events in local communities.

Below you can find a short outline of each of our campaigns. We have been very successful in terms of receiving awards for this work, and these are also listed with the associated campaign.

We would like to thank Manan Trust, our funding partner for this work.

2022 Campaign: Goodbye My Love

Domestic violence is an extensive problem in Cambodia. The research bares this out and the statistics are frightening.

Our campaign addressed the above focus areas through the production and release of a video called ‘Goodbye My Love’, and an interlinked social media campaign. The video featured  our own rendition of a classic Cambodian song of the same name and highlighted different types of domestic abuse, demonstrating that abuse can take many forms. The song is both catchy and is an ode to women experiencing abuse. We saw this as a unique way to continue the message in a different, long-lasting medium.

The video itself was aspirational in nature. In it,  communities shun abusers and not their victim, which is not how things are in Cambodia. There was also extensive social media activity.  A schedule was developed for social media postings over 18 days. It included advice and guidance for victims and/or those aware of ongoing abuse, stories from survivors, manuals on how to initiate divorce (a cultural challenge in Cambodia), animations illustrating what healthy relationships should look like. We also did radio interviews and received extensive coverage in national newspapers.

The campaign also included key collaborations with public officials and stakeholders who not only lent their support to the campaign, but also shared it on their platforms to further amplify our message. Some of the public figures and groups included the ambassador to Cambodia from Australia, women’s rights organisations, and diplomatic agencies like GIZ, all alongside several Cambodian influencers.

Targets and outcomes

Additional resources

Awards for Goodbye My Love Campaign 

2021 Campaign: Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Campaign aimed call to action that encouraged family, friends and neighbours to Reach Out, Check In and Act, to ensure that women are safe.

We conducted internal and external focus groups, and we found that the culture of victim-blaming was very much woven into the fabric of the lives of Cambodian women. 66% of the population believe that victims should remain silent for the sake of the family unit. One of our operational objectives is to reduce the incidence of violence against women and children in Cambodia and its destructive impact on women, girls, children, families and communities. 

The video concept was developed over several months. The video is more controversial than previous campaigns.  However, we wanted to share the harsh reality that sadly, gender-based violence can result in the death of the woman.

Our strategy included the release of the virtual reality video, and an interlinked social media campaign , which utilised the strengths of social media platforms and our website. 

A schedule was developed for social media postings over 18 days, with the video, a selection of useful tips, reaction videos from Cambodian influencers and international dignitaries, photo reveals, and statements. A fundraising component was also included in the campaign. In conjunction, we established a resource, ACT on our website. The website provided contact information and services available to women and children, information on legislation and how women are protected by the law, and tips on how friends, neighbours or family members could recognise and support women experiencing violence, to ensure they could be kept safe. The resources are available in Khmer and English.


Targets and outcomes

Additional resources

Awards for Virtual Reality Campaign 

2020 Campaign: Not Her Fault

Not Her Fault’s campaign objective was to address the culture of victim-blaming in Cambodia. 

In August 2020, Kanhchna Chet, a well-known Cambodian singer spoke on Facebook about being harassed by a man on a motorbike. Kanhchna’s story resonated with Cambodian women who posted comments expressing outrage at the man’s behaviour. There was a strong current of support for Kanhchna when she confronted suggestions that her choice of clothing was the reason for the attack. We approached Kanhchna and asked if we could use her story as the basis for our short film. She agreed, and it became the centre of our 2020 campaign for the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence.

The film asked viewers to support women rather than blaming them when they experience violence and abuse. Through collaborations with two Facebook pages that facilitate anonymous contributions, we invited women in Cambodia to submit their own stories describing experiences of violence, harassment, or abuse. Along with their stories, women were asked to include a description of the clothes they were wearing at the time.

We collated the stories and created an interactive, online exhibition that is set at different times of day inside a Cambodian house. Visitors to the exhibition website can explore the house and find the women’s clothes. They can interact with the clothes and read or listen to the associated story, either in Khmer or English. This exhibition is the first of its kind in Cambodia, and it uses the words and voices of Cambodian women to tell their own stories.

During the campaign, we received thousands of comments, messages, and emails from people who saw the campaign and supported its call to end victim-blaming in Cambodia. Among these vocal supporters were Ambassadors to Cambodia from Australia, the US, and India.

Targets and outcomes

Additional resources

Awards for Not Her Fault campaign

2019 Campaign: Honourable Warrior

Honourable Warrior’s campaign objective was to engage men in the fight to end gender-based violence.

The Honourable Warrior campaign tapped into Cambodia’s pride in the ancient Khmer Empire, embodied in the proverb, “Cambodians carry the blood of warriors in their veins”. We reclaimed this proverb, adding emphasis on honour, arguing that the Empire was built by “Honourable Warriors” who protected the vulnerable. This lost tradition was rediscovered, distilled into our slogan #BeAnHonourableWarrior. It resonated and was discussed in newspaper features.

Our leading Honourable Warrior was Chan Rothana, Cambodia’s most beloved sportsman and revered Kun Khmer boxing champion. We created a short film showing an excited crowd waiting to see Rothana compete, only to be shocked by a twist – his opponent is revealed as a trembling, frightened woman. The audience turns away, horrified, until Rothana pulls off his boxing gloves and helps the woman. He’s then awarded our specially-commissioned “Honourable Warrior” title belt.

We used social media tools such as Facebook frames featuring our iconic belt to build momentum and visibility, and amplified the campaign through endorsements from Cambodians influential among men, including Chan Rothana, footballer Thierry Bin, singer Vuthea, and rapper Reezy. They posed with the belt, delivered powerful messages of support and shared them with their predominantly male fanbases.

Targets and outcomes

Additional resources

Awards for Honourable Warrior

2018 Campaign: Protection

Protection’s campaign objective was to increase awareness of gender-based violence in Cambodia.

Our first video, Protection depicts the stories of a range of Cambodian women facing violence in their homes. It was important to combat the myth that only poor women living outside big cities face this problem. It ends with a reminder of the scale of the problem and a call to action to learn more about the law and about who victims can turn to for help.

The two-minute film sees an office worker, a rice field worker, a garment worker and a high school student, all placing an orange helmet on their heads before entering their home. It confronts the fact that for many women, the place where they are most vulnerable is inside their own homes. Women in Cambodia are more likely to experience violence in their own homes by a husband or family member than anywhere else.

Alongside the campaign, we recorded and published the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of Victims (2005) in audio format. One in five Cambodians cannot read, so this is a significant addition to the legal landscape in supporting victims.

Targets and outcomes

Additional resources

Awards for Protection