Building a Safe and Sustainable Company: Khmer Green Charcoal’s Pioneering Efforts to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in Cambodia

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious issue that affects women and girls all over the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of intimate partner violence in some Asian countries ranges from 17% to 68%. According to a UN report, one in five women in Cambodia between the ages of 15 and 49 have experienced physical abuse.

In the context of WE4F innovators, gender-based violence can have severe consequences for individuals in companies. Employees who experience such violence can suffer physical and psychological harm, resulting in decreased productivity, absenteeism, and high turnover rates. By addressing and preventing GBV, businesses can create a safe and supportive work environment that enhances the well-being and productivity of their employees (both women and men). Through partnerships and technical assistance support, WE4F promotes teamwork to prevent violence, respond efficiently, and minimize risks. One WE4F company making an effort to reduce GBV is Khmer Green Charcoal (KGC) and its partnership with the Samatapheap Khnom Organization (SKO).

KGC’s Initiatives to Fight GBV and Support Their Women Employees

Based on Cambodia’s laws KGC recognized the importance of taking action against GBV. The company approached WE4F with the idea of sensitizing its employees and implementing policies against violence. Due to the sensitivity of the topic, the South and Southeast Asia Hub suggested organizing sessions through a GBV-focused non-governmental organization (NGO). This led KGC to approach and collaborate with Samatapheap Khnom Organization (SKO)  to develop training programs and combat GBV within their organization. SKO is a local NGO partner experienced in working with men against violence, and together they planned the sessions. Subsequently, WE4F provided best pratices and examples of policies against sexual harassment to support KGC in creating its own.

Support Systems

To improve employee’s support systems, KGC ensures that employees are well-informed about the sexual harassment prevention policy. To ensure that employees are fully aware of the policy, KGC has made efforts to effectively disseminate information through regular trainings. All employees are informed that they can obtain free and confidential counseling from the Chief People Officers (CPOs); one CPO supports women while a second CPO supports men. Employees can seek assistance and, in addition to formal channels, explore informal means of resolving complaints. In cases of gender equality or domestic violence issues, workers can also call the SKO’s hotline number for additional support. KGC also monitors the level of GBV, so, when necessary, they can take appropriate actions.

Positive Outcomes

The sensitization training conducted by KGC has yielded significant positive outcomes. They developed and implemented a new policy to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This policy ensures a safe and respectful environment for all employees. KGC instituted Chief People Officers (CPOs), who are equipped to identify gender-sensitive issues promptly and provide support. They also keep records of gender-based violence or sexual harassment incidents.

Additionally, employees have gained a deeper understanding of domestic violence’s impact on their families and have become more aware of women’s and children’s rights, empowering them to stand against any form of violence or discrimination.

Lessons Learned

The gender sensitization workshops conducted by KGC have shown positive engagement from workers and how companies can tackle GBV. Some key lessons for other innovators include:

  1. Continuous training is necessary for lasting behavioral change.  KGC plans to provide ongoing sensitization sessions even after the project’s completion. 
  2. Partnerships with relevant organizations is crucial. KGC’s partnership with SKO, an organization specializing in gender equality and domestic violence prevention, played a crucial role in the project’s success. It allowed KGC to maintain the sensitivity of the issue while discussing and addressing the problem. 
  3. Underlying causes are often present. Counseling activities revealed alcoholism and mismanaged finances as the root causes of GBV. Therefore, KGC included sessions on the consequences of excessive drinking and basic financial literacy in their training program. 
  4. Practical advice from SKO’s trainers helped workers navigate challenges related to domestic violence effectively. KGC’s management team also gained new knowledge and recognition of different forms of abuse through the training. 
  5. Preventing GBV requires the participation of men and women. Inclusion of both men and women is essential to the prevention of GBV, both will understand the impacts on their lives as individuals and families and identify their role in preventing or addressing violence at home and in their community.


Gender-based violence has far-reaching social and economic consequences. It perpetuates inequality, limits opportunities for women, and hinders their full participation in the workforce. By addressing GBV, businesses can contribute to the creation of a more inclusive and equitable society, leading to increased economic productivity and growth. 

The efforts of KGC, in collaboration with the SKO, demonstrate the potential for positive change. By implementing comprehensive training programs, adopting clear policies, and creating support systems, KGC has made a significant step towards the prevention of GBV and empowering its employees. Lessons learned from their experience provide valuable insights to address GBV through organizational interventions. By taking proactive measures, businesses can contribute to creating safer and more inclusive environments for everyone. 

For businesses looking to address GBV within their organizations, there are several essential resources available: 

  1. Gender-Based Violence and Harassment – ESG Toolkit
  2. Collective Action to Reduce Gender-Based Violence (CARE-GBV) – Making Cents International
  3. For Companies, Steps to Prevent Gender-Based Violence (

These resources can serve as essential guides for advancing efforts to combat GBV and promote a more equitable and secure working environment. Take advantage of these tools to make a positive impact in your organization.