Poor governance and the limited resources of local authorities to plan, implement and manage projects can contribute to a lack of development in remote communities. There can also be a shortage of opportunities for community members to be actively involved in these projects.
When Tey (picture below) became a member of a commune council in Kratie Province in 2013, there were no proper systems in place to plan for development. “Retired members were not trained and did not keep a legacy for newly elected members,” she says. “We needed to start again each time.
“We didn’t have a preschool in our community, so I tried to raise funds to build one, as well as toilets and a well for the students, but people in the community did not trust the way we worked and how we managed our budget.”
ChildFund Cambodia is helping local authorities collaborate better with other community members. Through the Community Voice project, commune councils are learning new skills in planning, project management, fundraising and leadership. Child and youth-led groups are also being established to ensure children and young people have a say in the development projects.
Since ChildFund’s project began in Tey’s community, four preschools and four wells have been built. Preschool teachers have been trained and equipped with child-friendly teaching materials, and parents and caregivers have been helping to maintain the schools by repairing and maintaining infrastructure.
Thirty-five toilets have also been constructed in homes, providing better hygiene and sanitation for children and their families. The council is also supporting unemployed youth to complete vocational training.
“Community members now trust how we work because there is transparency; we are consulting and meeting with them about plans and results,” Tey says.
“We are making sure that community members, especially young people, work with us so there is joint-ownership of projects.”
Mother-of-three, Samros, says ChildFund has helped empower people in her community. “There is more information sharing, many consultation meetings, and more people are confident to raise issues or advocate with the government,” she says.
Samros’ five-year-old daughter Sina (pictured below with Samros) is enjoying going to preschool and learning numbers and the alphabet. “Going to school makes me happy,” Sina says.