It pays to support civil society organizations in Cambodia considering their impact on the country’s development, a new report argues.
Local and international CSOs working in Cambodia spent some $550 million on development projects in the country in 2011, the report by the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia says. This is close to the amount the Cambodian government plans to spend on development projects in 2012, the report adds.
Aside from directly supporting development projects, CSOs contribute to the Cambodian society by offering jobs. According to the report, the sector employed some 52,000 skilled workers in 2011.
The report, dubbed “CSO Contributions to the Development of Cambodia,” also offers a quick profile of Cambodia’s CSO sector. The top areas of CSO activities in the country are education, health, community development, and child welfare and rights. Meanwhile, there is significantly less activity in the areas of gender, water and sanitation, advocacy, and research.
Geographically, the top areas are Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap. Conversely, there is no strong CSO presence in Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear, Ratanakiri and Stung Treng.
CCC head Lun Borithy said the report shows the key role of Cambodia’s CSO sector to the country’s development. Borithy is hoping the report would “encourage discussion and reflection among government and donors as to how they can improve and ensure an enabling environment for CSOs.”
As for CSOs, the report says there remain key challenges preventing the sector from fully maximizing its potential to contribute to Cambodia’s development. The report says CSOs must improve their relations with their beneficiary communities, strengthen management and governance capacity, seek “more genuine” partnerships with the government, and improve strategic focus and coordination, among other measures.
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