D&D Bulletin: Vol8

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					                     D&D BULLETIN
    CCSP                                             The Publication of the Commune Council Support Project

Volume 8 No. 1   Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms                  January-March, 2008

      Page 2
Model Commune?
  Case Study in
 Rolea Phea Ear
   , Kampong
Chhnang Province

     Page 7
   A Milestone
 towards Local
Reforms: Passage
of Organic Laws

     Page 8
   Building a
Crematory for the
Interests of Local
 People in Chroy          Youth attended training on Youth in Local Governance in Kandal’s Leuk Dek district in February 2008
 Svay Commune,
    Koh Kong
                              articipation is a fun-       ideas, revitalization, strength,   of membership and repre-
      Page 9
  Youth Initiate
  Discussion with
   CC on Forest
                       P      damental right of all
                              people, irrespective of
                       age. Youths are directly
                                                           energy, insights, creativity
                                                           and optimism, with a new
                                                           vision of honesty and integri-
                                                                                              sentation within decision
                                                                                                    In Cambodia, out of
    Protection         affected by many public deci-       ty. Furthermore, they can          13.1 million people there are
                       sions, but their views on           infuse commune councils            about 30% youth aged from
     Page 10           these public issues are rarely      with specific knowledge,           15 to 30, among this 57% are
Lecture Series for     heard. In all spheres, com-         capability, skills or expertise,   female (national plan files
Civil Servants on      mune councils do not ensure         by working towards the big         2003 - 2015). The Cambodian
   Theory and          adequate representation of          picture with their incredible      National Youth Policy count-
   Practise of         youths’ best interests, in law,     richness of talent and ability.    ed Youth those are male and
Decentralization       policy or practice. Youths          Youths are the economic cor-       female people aged from 15
                       could contribute to the devel-      nerstone of society, and           to 30.
                       opment of a vibrant and             potential assets for the over-           By involving youths,
                       healthy local governance            reaching goals of economic         commune councils can
     Page 11           system, which cherishes,            and social development.            develop and implement
 Role of Commune       nurtures, welcomes and cel-         They generally exhibit grea-       more effective solutions to
  Chiefs in Land       ebrates people of all ages,         ter receptivity to new ideas       the issues that they face.
      Affairs          from all backgrounds.               and are more often innova-         Marginalization of youths
                             Youths provide fresh          tive. Youth perspectives add       from governance processes
                       unique perspectives and             value and promote diversity        signals CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
                       Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

                        MODEL COMMUNE?
 OVERVIEW OF ROLEA PHA EAR                    2006, a big effort has been made by the     People’s Party (CPP), the Sam Rainsy
 COMMUNE                                      provincial Department of Water              Party (SRP) and the Norodom
          olea Pha Ear commune, in the        Resources, Royal Government and by          Rannariddh Party (NRP), the latter

 R        district of the same name, lies
          within Kampong Chhnang
 province, located around 13km from
                                              the council to construct and repair irri-
                                              gation facilities, such as water gate,
                                              spillways, excavate canals and dams
                                                                                          newly established in 2006, taking over
                                                                                          the CC seat held by FUNCINPEC in
                                                                                          the first mandate. Unusually, the com-
 the provincial center. The commune                                                       mune chief of the first mandate has
 holds a total of 7,884 residents, equal to   This case study was written by Mr. Im       become a councilor in the second man-
 1,759 households; there are 4,223 resi-      Sokthy for the Commune Council              date, while the first deputy of the first
 dents between 18 and 60 years old            Support Project (CCSP) to disseminate       mandate has gone on to become the
 (Commune Profile 2006). Part of the          experiences and lessons in planning,        chief in the second mandate. Both are
 land in Rolea Pha Ear is low-lying,          budgeting, project implementation and       from the same party.
 including five villages; this land has an    monitoring and evaluation. The case                   The commune clerk has
 irrigation system but is not very fertile.   study focuses on service projects using     always been present and on hand in
 One village is on a plateau. Most of the     the commune council’s own budget, even      the commune office, which was not the
 people in the commune work in farm-          if this is supported by NGOs or the         case for the commune chief and com-
 ing (1,708 households); generally, they      commune fund. It illustrates real situ-     mune councilors during the first man-
 are not poor. Besides farming, people        ation and the writer takes full respon-     date. Now, though, the commune chief
 carry out other small business activi-       sibility for the content of this case       is always at the office of his own voli-
 ties, such as basket weaving and sugar       study. Research Assistant was Mr.           tion, also encouraged to do so by other
 palm tree-made products. The houses          Chhim Sopheark, CCSP's Information          stakeholders. The commune chief pre-
 in the commune are often roofed in zinc      and Documentation Officer. This case        pares specific assignments for mem-
 or cement, or are tiled. People often        study remains the property of CCSP and      bers, including giving them the respon-
 have electricity and possess televisions,    cannot be copied, in part or in entire-     sibility to implement projects along
 motorbikes, bicycles or remorques (a         ty, without permission. Copyright ©         with Phnom Neang Kangrey
 three-wheeled passenger-carrying             CCSP December 2007. CCSP in 2007            Association (PNKA). The chief believes
 vehicle).                                    documented four case studies on com-        that the CC can benefit from experi-
           The people in the six villages     mune councils: two in Kampong Chhnang       ences acquired through co-implemen-
 make use of the only market, located in      and two in Siem Reap provinces.             tation with PNKA, and go on later to
 An Dong Snay village on National                                                         work on projects in other villages to
 Road 5. Traveling and transportation                                                     help alleviate poverty. However, he is
 of goods from one village to another         construction. These facilities are still    not clear on the methodology and
 and to market is not difficult because       not sufficient, and lie mainly in the       processes of property ranking. He
 the commune possesses a red-laterite         north of the commune.                       prefers councilor, who is responsible for
 road in good condition. Commune                                                          project implementation with PNKA, to
 infrastructure is also relatively devel-     COMPOSITION     AND MANAGEMENT OF           say because he does not know all about
 oped. Infrastructure projects in Rolea       COMMUNE COUNCIL                             the project.
 Pha Ear commune is less than irriga-                  olea Pha Ear is one of the 69
 tion projects. This made a situation
 where Rolea Pha Ear commune is dif-
 ferent from other communes where
                                              R        communes of Kampong
                                                       Chhnang, with seven com-
                                              mune councilors (among 419 across
                                                                                          AN   OPEN COMMUNE CHIEF WORKING
                                                                                          FOR THE COMMON GOOD
                                                                                                  decided to stand for the CC
 there are more infrastructure projects
 such as the construction of white-dirt
 trail, red-laterite road, pipes construct-
                                              the province). Three are from Kruos
                                              village, three from Prey Khmer village
                                              and one from An Dong Chros village.
                                                                                          “I      election because I wanted to
                                                                                                  serve democratically and to
                                                                                          improve citizens’ livelihoods.” These
 ed across roads, and schools.                The other three villages do not have        were the words of Mr. Saom Hong,
           Because Rolea Pha Ear was          their own representatives at commune        Commune Chief of Rolea Pha Ear. His
 affected by drought which impacted           level. CC members come from three           own life has met with difficulties, but
 farming in the 2004 rainy season until       parties, including the Cambodian            he has nevertheless had success as a
Commune Council Support Project                                  2                                         January-March, 2008
                       Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

citizen and in the military. Mr. Saom        US$1,000 to implement a project titled         lage, where soil for farming is losing
Hong is 45 years old, educated as a          "Income Generation for Poor Families           quality because of usage of chemicals,
monk for one year. He is a citizen of        in the Community."                             could benefit from the CC building
Kruos village. He completed Grade 6 of                 In the view of the district facil-   compost holds and providing training
school in 1974, one year before the          itator for Rolea Pha Ear commune,              to villagers in this area.
Khmer Rouge regime came in. After            service projects were prioritized at                     CCs have a small budget and
the overthrow in 1979, for five years, he    third. Priorities of the CC in the second      many areas of focus, so must know how
was the head of the local solidarity         mandate should be (1) construction of          to manage limited funds according to
group. He was in the army at com-            bridges; then construction of schools          real circumstances and the on-the-
mune level between 1984 and 1986.            and classrooms; then trainings and             ground situation. The DFT comments
Leaving the army, he took back his civil     awareness raising on natural compost           that if there is no support from NGOs
citizenship as a commune staff in            fertilizer, HIV/AIDS, vaccinations of          or provincial line departments, the CC
charge of commerce, carrying rice bags       cattle and pigs and environmental pro-         can still use its fund left over from
on his shoulder. From 1989 until 1993,       tection. Referring to compost fertilizer,      infrastructure project bidding for
he was vice-chief in charge of commune       she added that natural compost would           spending on services which are high
agriculture. From 1993 until the com-        improve soil quality as it would replace       priorities. Moreover, the CC can use its
mune council elections in 2002, he was       the chemical fertilizers used in recent        carried forward budget from previous
second deputy, moving up to first            years by farmers for their crops.              years for service projects. However,
deputy after the elections, holding the      Farmers really need compost fertilizers        even if such a process begins, project
position until 2007. He saw further suc-     because there were a lot of irrigation         design work should not be limited to
cess in 2007 when he took the position       constructions already.                         securing a budget, as the CC is likely to
of commune chief for the period 2007-                  As such, major priorities of the     face many difficulties during project
2011. What factors have brought such         commune chief and the district facilita-       implementation. Methods of project
success? Mr. Saom Hong felt that his         tor lie with infrastructure. However,          implementation are very new for CCs
frankness and openness were critical in      NGO officers tend to focus more on             and technical skills and a monitoring
his rise, and that he had focused on the     services related to the livelihoods of         system are necessary for all projects.
common good rather than on his own           local people. The director of PNKA said
needs. He also felt that he was friendly     that, during CIP discussions, the CC           PROCESS OF COOPERATIVE AND PARTIC-
and kind towards others.                     suggested few projects related directly        IPATORY PLANNING
                                             to the livelihoods of community people,             he CC knew that Trapeang Trach
          he commune chief hopes to see
                                             for instance anything dealing with
                                             shortages of agricultural land, agricul-
                                                                                            T    village was the poorest of the six
                                                                                            villages in the commune and hoped for

T         development in all five sectors
          listed in the five-year commune
development plan (CDP) and the three-
                                             tural techniques, lack of water sources
                                             for usages, etc. On the contrary, the CC
                                             was more interested in projects related
                                                                                            budgetary support from PNKA to help
                                                                                            poor families there, as it only had a
                                                                                            small budget itself. The CC and PNKA
year commune investment plan (CIP).          to road and school construction. He felt       then went directly to Trapeang Trach
These five sectors are: economy; social      that this was a result of lack of capaci-      to conduct a wealth ranking of the 114
affairs; administration and security;        ty of the facilitator group, which             poor families in the village. This was a
natural resources and environment;           thought only about infrastructure, and         participatory process. The village chief
and gender. Despite the need for             lack of knowledge in terms of collecting       was responsible for facilitating the
achievements in these areas, for him it      data and analyzing priorities and              work after receiving authorization
is still infrastructure that should be the   responses. Related to data collection,         from the CC and PNKA, which gave
major focus, as it is vital to the com-      he said that the commune lacked infor-         him methodological instruction.
mune economy. This feeling is in evi-        mation to use for planning, and capaci-        Surveying criteria included family pos-
dence across the nation: the                 ty (among councilors and other rele-           session of rice fields, rice crops, cattle
Cambodian             government      has    vant stakeholders) to analyze data             and other assets, including motorbikes,
announced itself as the government of        thoroughly and clearly. Participation          bicycles, radios, etc. Among the poor
roads and irrigation. The commune            at village level is also limited, because      families surveyed, only the 12 poorest
chief affirms that the Rolea Pha Ear         villagers lack trust in the commune            were selected through final interview
council also prioritizes infrastructure,     council. This is generally the case in         to receive credit support from PNKA
including road and irrigation construc-      many villages in Kampong Chhnang               through the CC to help with income
tion: “I think about irrigation first and    province.                                      generation to improve standards of liv-
then service.” Service is the second pri-              Nevertheless, the CC should          ing. Allowing for different needs and
ority, with support from PNKA. Our           not overlook services and could imple-         circumstances in terms of job creation
example here is that PNKA has fund-          ment many types of service projects in         and income generation, the CC and
ed Rolea Pha Ear CC to the amount of         the villages. For instance, Tany Sar vil-      PNKA held             Continued on page 4

January-March, 2008                                               3                           Commune Council Support Project
                       Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

Continued from page 3 discussions
with these families and let them make
decisions as to what they wanted to do
with the credit support, for example
raising pigs, hens or cows, selling gro-
ceries, etc. Some families decided to
raise chickens and pigs.
          Although the CC knew that it
had only US$1,000, it tried to use this
money package to the greatest advan-
tage, by allocating budget left over after
providing credits to 12 poor families to
other two poor families.
          The study activities on project
planning above had participation from
poor people and collaboration with
PNKA, and as result the CC could
identify specific target groups. This
was a different kind of planning             Commune councilors, Planning and Budgeting Comittee members, clerk and
process to the CDP, which also               DFT in a meeting at Rolea Pha Ear commune office on November 13, 2007
involved public participation but saw        September to December 2006" to             mented as planned. It was planned to
less sharing of ideas. The CDP process       PNKA describing spending in detail in      finish by the end of 2006, but until
saw the participation of many poor peo-      US dollars. When the CC and PNKA           November 2007 it was implemented
ple sharing less idea and only a few         agreed to deposit US$1,000 in the com-     only 50% compared to activities
rich people. The director of PNKA            mune account at the provincial treas-      planned in the project proposal.
noted that representatives of the poor       ury, there were many complicated           Therefore, the CC decided to take its
had rarely participated in previous vil-     problems related to preparation and        unused 2006 budget to carry forward
lage development planning, village           withdrawal.       This     complication    for spending in 2007 for the service
meetings and commune planning and            required CC to make budget adjust-         project implementation.
budgeting committee meetings organ-          ment many times. Until August 2007,                 In any event, problems were
ized by the CC.                              the CC could make final budget adjust-     not completely solved by the final budg-
          After participatory project        ment (the third adjustment).               et adjustment. The procedure for with-
planning, the CC designed a project for                 The budget adjustment also      drawal was also causing difficulties.
a three-year rolling CIP (2006-2008),        had to amend the memorandum of             Many attached documents were need-
then submitting it to PNKA.                  understanding (MoU) between the CC         ed and enough to withdraw money
                                             and PNKA, and was made because             from the provincial treasury otherwise
COMPLICATED BUDGETING SYSTEM                 there were differences between the CC      the money withdrawer shall have to
      nlike other communes, Rolea Pha        and PNKA financial systems. Firstly,       come provincial town many times to
U     Ear is the first commune got
PNKA funding which the CC had
                                             the budget proposal was in US dollars
                                             and the budget for the commune
                                                                                        attach all required attachment for the
                                                                                        provincial treasury. This transport to
received and deposited to the commune        account was in Khmer riel. Secondly,       the provincial town was expensive and
account at the provincial treasury.          budget codes and amount items in the       time consuming, which could delay
Another different point, it was only a       proposal were also different, or in some   project implementation. For instance,
budget for the project services and will     case had no description in the budget      claiming expenses for a meeting
be implemented by the commune coun-          codes and in the commune financial         required the minutes, receipt and
cil. Can Rolea Pha Ear be taken as a         system. There was a need for discus-       attendance sheet which number of par-
model commune in the province?               sion and facilitation between PNKA,        ticipants shall be parallel to the
          Rolea Pha Ear is acting as a       the CC, Finance Unit (FU) and Local        amount expensed. A PNKA staff
kind of pilot commune, receiving NGO         Administration Unit (LAU) of the           member felt that this was too inflexi-
funding and using the commune finan-         provincial Executive Committee in          ble, because all expenses must follow
cial system. It could also be described      order to review budget codes and           items as stated in the detail budget
as the first commune to implement a          expenditure in the proposal to match       plan. Even though, he showed his view
service project using its own budget. In     these to the commune financial sys-        that the attached documents were
2006, Rolea Pha Ear CC submitted a           tem. The process of discussion and         seemingly not transparent and believ-
proposal "Income Generation for Poor         facilitation took a long time. As such,    able because attached documents
Families in the Community for                the service project could not be imple-    (which do not fully reflect to the real
Commune Council Support Project                                      4                                   January-March, 2008
                      Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

                                                                                       implementation of the commune budg-
                                                                                       et system was easier. Transferring the
                            PROJECT BENEFICIARIES                                      budget from the NGO system to the
                                                                                       commune financial system, as a result,
                 “I am very happy to have a young pig credit”                          was a real obstacle to project activities,
             Ms. Pen Samphors, villager in Trapeang Trach village                      indirectly impacting the effectiveness of
                                                                                       the project.
          The poor in Trapeang Trach village are the target group of the cooper-
ative effort between Rolear Pha Ear CC and PNKA. The two implementers con-             HIGH FOCUSING ON MONITORING IN THE
ducted a wealth ranking to select beneficiaries for an income generation project       FUTURE
in the community. The CC has limited resources of US$10.00.00 for poor fami-
                                                                                                 s with infrastructure projects,
lies, allocated based on their different needs and basic skills. Thus, families
receive different credits to earn an income, such as young pigs, hens or cows, or
inputs to sell groceries, or bicycles.                                                 A         the CC selected focal points to
                                                                                                 follow up on and monitor the
                                                                                       service project, also allocating a budget
         Ms. Pen Samphors smiled and said that she was very glad to have a             line for this in the proposal. A CC mem-
young pig credit. She learned of the project from her husband, who heard about         ber in the monitoring group felt that
it from the village chief. They discussed the situation together and decided that      the amounts allocated were insuffi-
receiving a pig credit was the best option. Her family was one of the additional       cient: “Traveling to the project area on
two families brought in by the CC, having not been selected in the first screen-       our own motorbikes took a liter of gaso-
ing.                                                                                   line. Sometimes, I paid out of my own
                                                                                       pocket.” He said that the effectiveness
          Her family received 124,800 riel to buy a young pig but the money was        of monitoring was linked to personal
so late and the price had gone up to 160,000 riel. She had to add her own money
                                                                                       willingness rather than to financial
to buy the baby pig. She wanted two pigs. She, therefore, borrowed from her
neighbor to buy another young pig, in order to reduce payments on pig food: she
said that if she raised only one pig she would not get a good net income because        LAW ON THE ADMINISTRATION AND
the price of pig food keeps increasing. She added that the CC had come to her           MANAGEMENT OF COMMUNE/SANGKAT:
house a couple of times since she had received the credit but they did not talk         ARTICLE 67
                                                                                       The CC is still responsible for monitor-
                                                                                       ing and evaluating, planning, pro-
                                                                                       grams, and projects even if these tasks
                                                                                       are to be implemented by any selected
                                                                                       focal points or persons.

                                                                                               ocal points in Rolea Pha Ear

                                                                                       F       commune had to follow up on
                                                                                               and monitor both infrastructure
                                                                                       and service projects. The commune has
                                                                                       many projects and intends to hold
                                                                                       many others in the future. As such, the
                                                                                       focal points need to understand proce-
                                                                                       dures clearly. There are currently not
                                                                                       enough focal points (usually two people
                                                                                       in a commune). If a monitoring commit-
                                                                                       tee is established, things will be easier,
                                                                                       with more people who can help in the
                                                                                       work. Such a committee should include
                                                                                       members from outside the council. On
 Two pigs of Ms. Pen Samphors, Trapaing Trach village, Rolea Pha Ear commune
                                                                                       the contrary, having many members
                                                                                       will cause problems. Sometimes, mem-
budget expenses) can be completed and      cattle or other items with a price from     bers might feel that other members are
made it parallel to commune financial      200,000 riel up) before making a pur-       responsible and therefore not take
system. In addition, the procurement       chase. The district facilitator felt that   responsibility for the work; as in the
process also caused problems because it    the procurement procedures were a           Khmer saying: “Too many apathetic
was difficult to do price quotation (for   constraint to implementation, and that      cooks spoil the broth”.
January-March, 2008                                            5                        Commune Council Support Project
                      Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

 undemocratic exclusion, which poses a
serious threat to social stability.
Youths will influence outcomes in new
ways, which could make services more
responsive to youths as well as more
understanding and considerate of their
needs. Youths insist on honesty and
integrity, of why certain decisions were
made. They challenge others to think
creatively and consider new ways of
operating. What youth can achieve
should not be underestimated. Good
governance can be achieved if youth
potential is pumped into work towards
it. For these reasons, youths must be
equipped with appropriate knowledge
and skills to make meaningful partici-     Youth attended training in Kampong Chhnang’s Toek Phos district in March 2008
pation with commune council.               duced through learning exercise and         (Kandal province), said in a half-day
     n this cause, Commune Council

                                           self learning activities in appropriate     meeting with youth trainees that he
     Support Project (CCSP) initiated a    time span which require participants        welcomed the youth contribution in his
     pilot program on Youth in Local       to fully participate and contribute.        commune. “I am very happy that you
Governance. The project is supported       Most of the time participants were          are all interested in helping develop
by World Vision Cambodia.                  encouraged to speak out.                    the commune. There is a great deal of
      CCSP organized series of train-            The overall objective of training     room for your contribution. You can
ing courses to build capacity and          courses is to support in providing          disseminate commune information,
knowledge of youths to engage or sup-      youths knowledge and capacity to            give out invitations to people, organize
port commune councils at national and      make meaningful participation in local      the documents in the commune office,
local levels, especially in Kandal and     governance works so that they can           help organize scheduling on important
Kampong Chhnang provinces.                 directly support their respective com-      days, identify youth needs, and give
      The course provided youths and       munity and commune council.                 out information on drug use and other
those working with them productive               Youth have gained skills and          development work. Oh, there is a lot
guidance towards effective involve-        knowledge needed for participation as       you can do,” he said to the youth
ment of in local governance. Courses       a responsible citizen, in order to serve    trainees in the February 26 meeting.
would provide participants with an         commune council and community, and                Noeun Hun, 16, is studying in
understanding of good governance and       build capability to share view in local     Grade 8 in Peam Raing commune.
commune councils. This will offer fer-     decision making.                            Noeun Hun, a participant of Youth
tile ground for them to participate. It          Through their actual participa-       Volunteers for Community Develop-
also highlighted prospects of youth in     tion after training, youths gained effec-   ment, along with 31 other youths in
local governance and introduce trails      tive communication skills, work effec-      her commune, has attended training in
for youth participation and ways in        tively with CCs and productively in a       Phnom Penh and in Kandal province.
which they could work together with        team, able to create and sustain effec-     “I want the community and the com-
commune councilors.                        tive partnerships and collaborations.       mune council to see the strength and
      There were three trainings to be     Ultimately they have gained knowl-          value of youth in development. Young
organized. The first training was a        edge and experience on local gover-         people can express their opinions and
TOT organized at national level in         nance works that put them to the right      raise concerns about the community to
Phnom Penh for youth advocates and         track for overall social development.       the commune council. I have seen in
potential trainers of youth networks,            After training, youth and support     my community problems of domestic
national NGOs staff working with and       organizations could map their way for-      violence, dropping out of school and
for youth. Two other trainings were        ward to engage with commune council         pornography, among other issues.
conducted one each in Kandal and           in their respective area through half-      Young people would like to solve these
Kampong Chhnang for youth in com-          days meeting to discuss and share idea      issues and, for this, we have to cooper-
munes covered by WVC-Area                  on areas of collaboration and partner-      ate with the commune council,” she
Development Program.                       ship.                                       said.
      The course was organized in par-          hrin Voeun, chief of Leakdek dis-
ticipatory way. Each content was intro-    C    trict’s Peam Raing commune
                                                                                             Compiled by Chhim Sopheark

Commune Council Support Project                                6                                        January-March, 2008
                      Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

         ambodia has now well entered       undertake necessary affairs to achieve       person called the Governor and a cer-

C        into a new phase of local gov-
         ernment and administrative
reforms following the adoption of the
                                            the purpose of establishing, promoting
                                            and sustaining democratic develop-
                                            ment and to perform functions and
                                                                                         tain number of vice governors. The gov-
                                                                                         ernor and deputy governor’s mandate
                                                                                         shall not be more than four years.
Law on Administrative Management            duties that have been assigned and del-             The governor and deputy gover-
of Capital, Provinces, Municipalities,      egated to.                                   nor is not a councilor. The governor and
Districts and Khans by the National               Democratic development inclu-          deputy governor is entitled to partici-
Assembly in April 2008.                     des: Public representation; Local            pate and share their opinions in council
      The law defines administrative        autonomy; Consultation and participa-        meetings but is not entitled to vote.
management of the Capital, provinces,       tion; Responsiveness and accountabili-              The governor shall represent gov-
municipalities, districts and Khans,        ty; Promotion of quality of life of the      ernment ministries and institutions in
which will be governed in accordance        local residents; Promotion of equity;        supervising, coordinating and directing
with the principles of unified adminis-     Transparency and integrity; Measures         all vertical line departments and units
tration in order to establish, promote      to fight corruption and abuse of power.      of the government ministries and insti-
and sustain democratic development                                                       tutions that operate within the jurisdic-
through the policy of decentralization                                                   tion of the council.
and deconcentration.                         “The board of governors shall                      The board of governors shall pro-
      The establishment of unified           provide comments and advice to              vide comments and advice to the coun-
administration at sub-national level         the council, report to the council          cil, report to the council and implement
aims at strengthening the unity of the       and implement decisions of the              decisions of the council. In return, the
state in order to facilitate all public      council. In return, the council             council shall monitor activities and per-
administrative activities within its ter-    shall monitor activities and per-           formance of the board of governors and
ritory.                                      formance of the board of gover-             governor.
      The Capital, provinces, munici-        nors and governor. “                               The board of governors or gover-
palities, districts and Khans are legal                                                  nor who makes decision or performs
entities of public laws.                                                                 any activity under the jurisdiction of
      Each legal entity shall have a               The council shall have the            the council and have not been author-
council as a representative to be elected   authority to make legislative and exec-      ized by the council, the decision or
in accordance with the Law on               utive decisions. The council shall per-      activity shall be invalid.
Elections of the Capital Council,           form functions and duties through deci-             A national committee for demo-
Provincial Council, Municipal Council,      sions made at its meeting and shall          cratic development at sub-national
District Council and Khan Council.          ensure that the decisions are executed.      level called the National Committee
      The legal entity shall receive its    The council shall be accountable direct-     shall be established by a Royal Decree
mandate through the Constitution,           ly to all citizens for making decisions on   based on the request of the Prime
laws, Royal Decrees, sub-decrees and        priorities and for ensuring democratic       Minister as proposed by the Minister of
other legal instruments that are consis-    development within its jurisdiction.         Interior.
tent with this law.                                The council is obligated to estab-           Based on various provisions of
      The Capital, province, municipal-     lish three vital committees: Technical       this Law, the National Committee
ity, district and Khan shall have its       Facilitation Committee, Women and            shall review the responsibilities and
council which is indirectly elected by      Children Affairs Committee, and              functions of ministries, institutions,
Commune Councilors in accordance            Procurement Committee. In addition           departments, units, and authorities at
with procedures provided in the Law         to the three committees, the council         all levels to identify functions to be
on Elections of the Capital council,        may establish additional committees          transferred to sub-national councils.
provincial council, municipal council,      as necessary to assist the council with             In twelve months following the
district council and Khan council. A        its works.                                   promulgation of the Law on Admi-
council shall have a mandate of five               A board of governors shall be         nistrative Management of Capital,
years and shall end when the new            established for the Capital, province,       Provinces, Municipalities, Districts and
council takes office.                       municipality, district and Khan. The         Khans, the elections of Councils will be
      The council shall have roles to       board of governors shall have a chair-       held.

January-March, 2008                                            7                          Commune Council Support Project
                       Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

      n line with the Strategic Frame-

 I    work for Decentralization and
      Deconcentration and good local
 governance reform, on February 4,
 2008, the Local Initiative Team of the
 Department of Local Administration,
 Ministry of Interior, with technical
 assistance from the GTZ Adminis-
 trative Reform and Decentralization
 Project (ARDP), visited various com-
 munes in Koh Kong province. Chroy
 Svay commune, in Sre Ambel district,
 presented an interesting local initia-
 tive: the commune council has built a
 crematory, in order to reduce the diffi-
 culties of the local people. So far, this
 commune council has invested con-
 crete efforts in its local governance
 work and has strengthened its position
 in terms of its role, duties and respon-
 sibilities so as to achieve a successful
 mandate.                                    Chroy Svay commune council initiates to build a crematorium
        Elected for office in this second
 mandate on April 1, 2007, Chroy Svay        commune on how to solve this prob-           matory, councilors made great efforts
 commune council consists of 5 mem-          lem. Among those involved were the           to collect contributions from charitable
 bers, including one female councilor.       commune clerk, officials from the            people in the commune, from local peo-
 The commune holds eight villages, 167       Office of Cults and Religions, officials     ple and from fishing communities. The
 groups and 1,612 families, with a total     from the Office of Education, members        money collected was managed by the
 population of 8,468 including 4,177         of the committee of clergy (achar) and       committee. After the crematory was
 women. The commune is located 17km          commune policemen. The commune               built, those who wanted to hold a cre-
 west of the Sre Ambel District Hall.        council then organized the election          mation were to make a payment; this
        On taking up office, the council     from those involved of a committee to        money is used for the cremation of poor
 observed a number of local issues that      manage the construction of a cremato-        and vulnerable people without family
 needed to be tackled. The people of the     ry.                                          members, and for maintenance of the
 commune encountered difficulties                  With good cooperation from the         crematory itself.
 when they needed to hold funerals, as       district Office of Cults and Religion, the          The Local Initiative Team
 no proper crematory existed. People         Office of Education, the police and the      encouraged the commune council to
 cremated corpses in traditional ways,       clergy of the commune, the achar com-        cooperate with non-governmental
 which was troublesome; furthermore,         mittee was put in charge of managing         organizations and relevant authorities
 during the rainy season, cremating          construction. This committee had to          and made a request to the governor of
 was very difficult, as there were no        report on construction status, manage-       Koh Kong province and to district gov-
 good places to do it and not enough fire-   ment and maintenance of the newly-           ernors to continue to support this ini-
 wood. Additionally, after a cremation       built crematory to the commune coun-         tiative. The Chroy Svay commune ini-
 took place, people would cut down           cil and ensure proper consideration          tiative is an interesting case, as it
 trees in the cremation area, with           was given to hygiene and cleanliness.        meets the actual needs and serves the
 impacts on the environment.                 The committee was to inform local peo-       interests of local people. It is also in line
        The commune council under-           ple that they should not cut down trees      with the Law on Administration and
 stood this issue clearly. Councilors        and to encourage cremation at the cre-       Management of Commune/Sangkat,
 were called for meetings to collect opin-   matory.                                      which aims for local development and
 ions and suggestions from people in the           To build and maintain the cre-         poverty reduction.

Commune Council Support Project                                  8                                           January-March, 2008
                      Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

         outh reporters in Svay Chrum

Y        district, Svay Rieng province,
         initiated a discussion with
decentralized commune councils about
forest protection on September 19,
2007. This discussion took place in
accordance with their previous find-
ings, published in Community Infor-
mation Newsletter, a program of the
Open Forum of Cambodia (OFC) that
aims to strengthen and promote youth
participation in local governance
       Youth reporters in each commu-
nity were trained in news-writing skills
and coached on conducting forums.
They worked with local authorities and
the OFC to conduct a community-
based forum, called the Community
Information Forum, to discuss forest        Community Information Forum in Chheu Teal commune, Svay Chrum
protection, mainly focusing on chheu        district, Svay Rieng province, September 19, 2007
teal (a kind of tree which is valuable      the Chheu Teal commune council               to plant trees, using funds from the
and scarce) in Chheu Teal commune.          about the reasons for the deterioration      Social Development Fund. Fifth, chheu
       The forum aimed to provide an        of the forest and about actions to pre-      teal forest must be put onto the devel-
opportunity for youths and local resi-      vent the situation from worsening. Sok       opment program and the commune
dents to meet and discuss with their        Ruoch, Second Deputy Chief of Chheu          council needs to look for NGOs, com-
commune councils and local authori-         Teal commune, said that reasons for          munity people, ministries or institu-
ties in order to solve the problems they    forest destruction included poverty,         tions to develop the forest to become a
were facing. The Community Informa-         lack of understanding of the impor-          tourist attraction in the future”, he
tion Forum does not aim to denounce a       tance of the forest, lack of information     said.
party or an individual, but is a simple     dissemination on measures to prevent               “No-one will be allowed to enter
discussion between the people and the       logging, ineffective measures and lack       or collect rubbish or leaves in the forest
commune council to exchange opinions        of foresters – currently old and cutting     any more, since they might harm the
and experiences.                            trees for settlements.                       shoots of the newly planted trees.
       Mr. Buth Kosal, a youth reporter            Yos Souy, Chheu Teal commune          Anyone who violates the law will be
based in Svay Chrum district, said:         councilor, said that the commune coun-       brought in for education, fined or pun-
“This is the first time Chheu Teal com-     cil had continuing plans to protect the      ished in accordance with the law”, Yos
mune has held this kind of forum”,          forest. “First, the commune council,         Souy added.
adding that the reason for choosing for-    with cooperation from the local author-            The forum finished on the same
est protection as a theme was that the      ities, will take action to prevent the       day with a good atmosphere among cit-
forest was a valuable natural resource      destruction of the forest. In particular,    izens, youths and commune councilors.
in Chheu Teal. “The forest is a useful      the commune council will disseminate         At the end, councilors asked the youths
natural resource which provides a lot of    information to the people on national        to provide them with forum reports, so
benefit to the people as well as the com-   laws and forestry administration laws.       that they could inform councilors who
munity as a whole”, he said. He also        This can be done through discussion          had not participated on the events of
mentioned that, in recent years, chheu      with local people. Second, the com-          the forum. However, it is noteworthy
teal trees in Chheu Teal commune had        mune council will talk to the                that, after the forum, news on chheu
gradually been destroyed by the peo-        Department of Agriculture and Forest-        teal forest problems in this commune
ple. If the people and authorities do not   ry Administration and recommend              has rarely been published in the
find a solution to this problem, the for-   that they recruit more forest keepers/       Community Information Newsletter.
est will be completely destroyed in the     guards, who are strong and have              Instead, the newsletter has published
coming years, and chheu teal trees will     enough time to protect the forest.           news about gambling in Chheu Teal
disappear from the forests of               Third, the issue of the forest will be put   commune, which has become another
Cambodia.                                   on the commune council's development         important topic for community youth
       During the forum, youths and         plan. Fourth, the council will cooperate     reporters in the area.
participants raised many questions to       with the people and related institutions     BY IM SOKTHY, OPEN FORUM OF CAMBODIA

January-March, 2008                                             9                          Commune Council Support Project
                       Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

     n 2001, the Royal Government of

I    Cambodia initiated sub-national
     governance reform through the
establishment of commune/sangkat
councils and holding the first ever com-
mune elections in 2002. The reform
process is, however, not completed:
Additional governance levels are fore-
seen for district and provincial levels,
details for which are outlined in the
Organic Law, which was adopted by
National Assembly April 2, 2008.
       As the Royal Government of
Cambodia, NGOs and Development
Partners are well aware; the Reforms
will not only require a major reshuf-
fling of powers and human resources
from the national to local levels but also
need to be supported by tremendous
capacity       development        efforts.
Therefore, the GTZ supported – Admi-
nistration Reform and Decentra-
lization Project (ARDP) has together
with The Ministry of Interior (MoI) and
particularly the Department of Local
Administration (DoLA), developed a
comprehensive capacity development
program for national and sub-national
level government as well as civil socie-
ty organizations. In all, ARDPs
Capacity Development Component
will support nine activities for 2008.
       In March, the Ministry of
Interior, in cooperation with the Royal
School for Administration and with
financial and technical support from
the French Cooperation and ARDP,             is expected that throughout the            overview of the legal framework with
kick-started the activities with the         Lecture Series some 250 students of        emphasizes on the implications of the
opening of the Lecture Series for Civil      the Royal School of Administration will    (draft) Organic Law.
Servants on Theory and Practise of           attend.                                          Participants showed great inter-
Decentralization and Deconcentration.                he Lecture Series was opened       est during the presentation and
Nine lectures on various reform related
topics are scheduled for this year. The
lectures will be presented by senior
                                             T       officially March 20th by H.E. Ly
                                                     Kimsok, Director of the Royal
                                             School of Administration, in the pres-
                                                                                        numerous questions were raised dur-
                                                                                        ing the Q&A session. Several questions
                                                                                        focused on further details of the (draft)
level government officials and experts       ence of over 300 participants and          Organic Law, showing that the launch-
from (inter) national organizations.         selected guests from the donor and         ing of the Lecture Series was both time-
The Lecture Series aims to contribute        NGO community. The ceremony was            ly and highly relevant.
to more effective implementation of          followed by a lecture presented by H.E.    For more informationon the Lecture Series or
sub-national governance reform by            Sak Setha, Director General of             any other capacity development activities relat-
equipping civil servants with a theoret-     Administration, Ministry of Interior,      ed to sub-national reform, please contact Marija
ical and practical understanding of the      which focused on the history of decen-     de Wijn, Coordinator Capacity Development and
reform process and its implications. It      tralization in Cambodia and gave an        Training:

Commune Council Support Project                                 10                                           January-March, 2008
                       Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms


         s you know, decentralization        ture. I have also noticed that commune       that commune and village chiefs are

A        reforms came in for implemen-
         tation through commune coun-
cils six years ago. Elected councils and
                                             chiefs have a tremendously important
                                             role in facilitating business transac-
                                             tions in real estate. In addition, village
                                                                                          now very busy, and sometimes they do
                                                                                          not come to the office to work. Some
                                                                                          come to the commune office for only
commune chiefs have important roles          chiefs have an increasingly important        around one or two hours in the morn-
in terms of serving the local people and     part to play as real estate agents or        ing and then leave. If the local people
bringing about development, using            agents in the submission of land titles      want to get help or assistance from
their decentralized powers and author-       to commune chiefs and district gover-        them, they have to go to their home or
ity. I have noticed that commune offi-       nors.                                        their farm. Is this not a big challenge
cials are carrying out their duties well           I learned about this when I went       for decentralization?
with regard to developing their com-         to see some plots of lands with my
munities, through the building of rural      friends. My knowledge and experience                              BY IM SOKTHY
roads and other necessary infrastruc-        of decentralization have also taught me              

          In the same way, Mok Kor
says, local leaders should use every
means to strongly engage NGOs as
development partners. Despite the fact
that his personal business, which he
carries out to support his family, keeps
him very busy, Mok Kor actively par-
ticipates in meetings/workshops organ-
ized by civil society organizations.
Using these, he asks NGOs to invest in
his commune.
          Since the first mandate, there
have been a number of local and inter-
national NGOs working in the com-
mune. For projects implemented by
NGOs, each commune councilor is
assigned to monitor two villages. The
commune council meets once a year
with development partners to evaluate
all projects in the commune.
          Duy Sareth, a 39-year-old vil-
lager, says that many developments
have been made since the commune
council came into existence, and that
the living standards of the people have
improved under the leadership of Mok
Kor. “I think he is a good leader. People
love his personality. He is really good at
speaking, persuading people to partici-
pate in development, and making rela-
tionships with NGOs to help the com-
mune,” she says. “He makes an effort
to find jobs for the people. I can earn                      Commune Chief and mat-making group
more income after joining mat-making
group,” she said.                            from the experiences of NGOs. The            The commune chief’s good tactics draw
          Hak Kiri, Director of the          projects that AARR has implemented           more attention to the commune’s
Alliance Association for Rural               in the commune have been very suc-           development work and attract invest-
Restoration (AARR), which has been           cessful. “NGOs like to work in this com-     ment, especially as the commune chief
working in the commune since 2000,           mune. Projects implemented by NGOs           invites the media to dissemination
says that the commune chief is a per-        stay sustainable following phase-out,”       events on project achievements.
son full of potential, willing to learn      he says.                                               BY CHHIM SOPHEARK

January-March, 2008                                             11                          Commune Council Support Project
                                  Strengthening Civil Society Influence and Participation in D&D Reforms

         he art of communication plays

 T       an important role in local devel-
         opment. For development work
 to happen, local leaders must be good
 at internal and external relations. This
 means that, on the one hand, they
 must be able to communicate with
 local people to be able to engage them
 in development projects. On the other
 hand, they must be very diplomatic
 and skilled at attracting NGOs and
 development agencies to support the
       Snar Ansar commune council in
 Krakor district, Pursat province, is a
 good example from which lessons can
 be drawn. Aside from disseminating
 information about commune projects                               Local people participate in commune investment planning in 2007
 to the people, the commune chief is                           have also been supporting service proj- make close cooperation” with NGOs
 very skilled at communicating with                            ects, dealing with distribution of rice and convince them to support projects
 local and international NGOs to per-                          seeds, chicken-raising, pig-feeding, fer- in the commune. “The commune coun-
 suade them to implement their proj-                           tilizers, mat-making and sewing, com- cil must be open, enthusiastic and
 ects in his commune.                                          munity trainings, food security and cooperative with NGOs and charity
       Mok Kor, 48, was elected to the                         other livelihood projects. In 2007 alone, people in order to develop,” he says, “so
 Snar Ansar commune chief position in                          the commune council implemented 16 chances to develop the commune will
 2002, and was re-elected in April 2007.                       service projects, which were supported not be lost.”
 Since then, under his leadership, the                         by provincial department offices and            The commune chief says that
 commune council has been imple-                               NGOs.                                     development cannot be achieved with-
 menting both physical infrastructure                                 The commune council in Snar out the participation of the people. The
 and non-infrastructure projects.                              Ansar commune is made up of five best way to engage the people is to dis-
 Physical achievements include: rural                          councilors. By 2007, the population seminate information on laws and on
 roads, culverts, bridges, wells, primary                      had increased to 1,005 families, equal the benefits of development projects.
 schools, a floating school, training cen-                     to 4,977 people; of these, 94% are farm- The commune council has so far set up
 ters, dams, WCs, water filters, and so                        ers and the rest are fishermen.           11 information boards in villages in
 on.                                                                  The working strategy of the com- the commune.
       NGOs and development donors                             mune chief is simple: “open up and                          CONTINUED ON PAGE 11

                          D&D BULLETIN
                      COMMUNE COUNCIL SUPPORT PROJECT                                                This publication is made possible through general
                                                                                                                    support provided by
  1st floor, VBNK No. 28, Street 80/75
  Sangkat Srass Chak, Khan Daun Penh
  P.O.Box: 50, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  Tel/Fax:. 023 427 197,                                                                                                         through
  Website:                                                                                                     and
  Publisher: Commune Council Support Project
  Managing Editor: Chhim Sopheark
  Cover photograph: Chak Solyneth                                                                                        Oxfam GB
  Printing House: Sunway Printing Company

     CCSP is co-managed by Church World Service, DPA, COMFREL, Concern WorldWide, Oxfam-GB, NGO Forum, SEDOC, World Vision Cambodia, PACT Cambodia, and
AFSC. Responsibility for the ideas, facts, and opinions represented in the D&D Bulletin rests solely with the authors. Their opinions and interpretations do not reflect the views of
the Commune Council Support Project [CCSP].

Commune Council Support Project                                                          12                                                        January-March, 2008