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Special Project

Special Project
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Be an Honorable Warrior: A campaign to end domestic violence in Cambodia

Finalist in Developing Nations



  1. Create a bold, culturally resonant campaign to engage and educate Cambodian men about domestic violence, encouraging them to oppose it.

  2. Confront the 36% of men who've used violence against women, portraying it as "un-Cambodian", socially unacceptable and legally punishable. 

  3. Grow our online presence to influence future change.


  1. Create cultural change. 36% of Cambodian men *admit* to having used violence against women, reflecting lingering social attitudes. Tragically, 40% of victims of violence consider it "normal". Despite many previous campaigns, the problem persisted. Based on our social workers consulting with communities affected by violence, we knew that change would only happen when men were confronted with the problem, and committed to opposing it. In order to grab men's attention and get them to absorb a confrontational message, we needed an instantly engaging creative concept that appealed to national pride and traditional values. We created a campaign to harness male enthusiasm for a) the vast popularity of Kun Khmer boxing, shown almost continuously on Cambodian TV, and b) the historic Khmer Empire, which once ruled much of South-East Asia.

  2. Create national impact and lasting change on a budget of $4,500. Social media's explosive growth in Cambodia could provide a powerful, cost-effective platform to reach and mobilise a population eager for change.  According to Hootsuite research in January 2019, 8.4 million Cambodians use social media, reaching over 50% of the population. Lotus Media research found 79% of Cambodian Facebook users believe it empowers them to support the causes they care about.

Strategy and Execution

Our strategy was to overcome the limitations of a three-person team and $4,500 budget by creating a culturally resonant campaign powerful enough to "punch above its weight", achieve national impact through social media virality, and enlist men to oppose domestic violence.

The 16-day 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 urged viewers to:

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.


  1. Develop the "Honourable Warrior" code with our domestic violence team. Bring it to life by asking people to obey three rules: reject violence, embrace respect, and raise their children with these values. We created a private Facebook Group where people could discuss collaborative actions.

  2. Create a user-friendly campaign page on our website, featuring life-saving resources. As well as our video and campaign messages, this page included a simplified version of the domestic violence law, the first audio version of the law (created in-house), links to support providers and a downloadable information pack.

  3. Produce low-budget Honourable Warrior short film, with supporters and staff appearing as no-cost extras. Our iconic Honourable Warrior belt was introduced in the video and featured throughout the campaign as a motif returning readers and viewers to the campaign concept.

  4. Recruit celebrity "Honourable Warriors" and photograph them with our iconic belt. Although most of the influencers were men (boxer Chan Rothana, footballer Thierry Chantha Bin and rappers Reezy and Vitou), women were represented by influencer Catherine Harry, actor Tharoth Sam and rapper Sang Sok Serey.

  5. Publish content in 40+ posts across all platforms over 16 days, including 


Objective 1: Engage and inspire Cambodians, especially men

‚ÄčObjective 2: Confront men who use violence

Objective 3: Grow This Life Cambodia’s profile 


Video for Be an Honorable Warrior: A campaign to end domestic violence in Cambodia

Entrant Company / Organization Name

This Life Cambodia


Entry Credits