Developing constructive relations between state and society
Governance is the way in which a society organises itself to make collective decisions and take joint action for the benefit of its citizens. Cambodia began the process of improving governance over 20 years ago and has a way to go before all citizens benefit from a fair and equitably democratic society. Amidst relatively high economic growth, Cambodia still faces many development challenges, particularly regarding integrity, human rights, social equity and widespread poverty.
Understanding that there is no definitive path for a country to achieve good governance, Cambodia is now working towards establishing its own approach. Our role in this process is to offer options and to provide advice on how to develop a governance system that meets the needs of Cambodian people as well as the strategic needs of Cambodian women and people from socially disadvantaged groups.
In 2007, the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Federal Government of Germany agreed to prioritize good governance in their development cooperation. Germany co-operates with the government in carrying out several governance reforms, for example, to bring government closer to men and women, to make public administration more efficient and accountable, to establish a more transparent and efficient system of public finances, and to build an independent and fair legal and judicial system.
German development cooperation also promotes good governance in all areas we work in. This includes our priority sectors – health and rural development, as well as specific programmes in the fields of decentralisation and local self-governance, women’s empowerment, access to justice, good financial governance and poverty reduction.
We contribute to improving governance by promoting citizen participation, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, human rights and gender equality, with the aim to develop constructive relations between state and society.
Growing Numbers Call for a New Work Place
02 October 2014
Phnom Penh, Cambodia –Nearly fifteen years ago, Cambodia’s National Audit Authority (NAA) was founded as an independent public institution under the Audit Law.
The authority aims to fulfil its function as an independent Supreme Audit Institution and is responsible for implementing the external audit of the Royal Government of Cambodia which consists of Financial Statements, Performance and Compliance Audits.
Realistically, the NAA in legal aspect has turned out its history by starting the public auditing operation in early 2002. During the two mandates which are the first 10 years, beside the administrative management and human resource capacity development, the achievements in terms of the audit reports showed that some negatives points were started improving and strengthening by most of ministries-institutions and audited entities according to their capabilities from year to year with accountability.
A successful ten years has led to the authority extending its operations. The longer the authority operates its mission, the more resources it requires, especially in the area of human resources. As of now, the authority’s work has expanded and staff numbers are on the rise, which created a cramped work place.
To cope with a sudden rise in staff, the authority’s management located a new office space to accommodate its growing numbers. Recently the transition has started and the authority is making home in its new facility. Operations picked back up in August this year and the authority is now running smoother than ever.
For more information, please contact Mr. Juergen Lehmberg, Project Manager of GIZ Support to the National Audit Authority Project (Tel: +855 12 333 101; )
Poverty Eradication in Progress
Seminar Discusses Poverty Reduction Policies in Cambodia and Beyond
12 August 2014
Combatting poverty and bringing about better living conditions remains one of the cornerstones of international German development cooperation. In Cambodia, Germany, in cooperation with Australia, has been supporting the IDPoor programme for a number of years as a thematically cross-cutting issue within its good governance portfolio.
On August 12, 2014, the German Embassy and GIZ organised a session on poverty with participants from the Cambodian Ministry of Planning, bilateral and multilateral development partners and non-governmental organisations. The session was moderated by Ole Doetinchem, GIZ team leader of the Identification of Poor Households Programme support project. In a brief presentation, he outlined the key aspect of how IDPoor works and what issues the programme is currently working on:
IDPoor is a nationwide poverty targeting mechanism run by the Cambodian Ministry of Planning. It systematically identifies poor households to enable targeted poverty alleviation interventions. To achieve accurate results that are accepted by the local population, the programme has adopted a process combining means testing and participatory local consultation.
At present, the IDPoor programme is carrying out its eighth annual identification round, covering the provinces Kampong Speu, Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, Mondul Kiri, Preah Sihanouk, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng.
IDPoor Programme Looks Forward
As a future priority, the IDPoor team is currently developing the procedures for programme extension into urban areas. Simultaneously, the IDPoor database is being moved to the cloud to enable better data access and offer web-based services to its users. IDPoor is also considering current trends in poverty and how its data may support combatting vulnerability.
Internationally, Germany has supported the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network in publishing the third Chronic Poverty Report. Dr Chiara Mariotti outlined the report’s key findings and how this report relates to poverty eradication efforts in Cambodia:
- Achieving the goal of Zero Extreme Poverty by 2030 requires a new public policy approach to understanding and acting on poverty. This approach requires three action areas: (i) tackling chronic poverty (i.e. bringing people up to the poverty line); (ii) stopping impoverishment; (iii) and sustaining the escapes people make out of extreme poverty.
- World-wide evidence, demonstrates that there are three sets of policies that work in achieving all the three goals above:
(i) Social assistance including cash transfers or employment programmes to help the poorest get closer to the poverty line and provide a safety net against impoverishment;
(ii) Massive investment in pre-school, primary, and post-primary education, ensuring access and quality to all, including poor children;
(iii) A bundle of policies that promote pro-poor growth. These include industrial policies that promote expansion of labour-intensive sectors, coupled with apprenticeship schemes or training to match skills to opportunities; the promotion of small and medium enterprises; labour legislation that ensures that the jobs created. pay a decent salary and respect minimum health and safety conditions. These three sets of policies will then have to be complemented by more specific interventions tailored to each country’s poverty dynamics.
- Designing the policies needed to tackle chronic poverty, stop impoverishment and support escapes from poverty requires panel surveys, which follow the same households over several years, enabling the tracking of movements in and out of poverty. Significant investment in national (and sub-national) panel data by governments, donors and international institutions need to be part of the effort of eradicating extreme poverty.
You can download the Chronic Poverty Report at http://www.odi.org/chronic-poverty
ASEANSAI Setting Clear and Measurable Goals for Success
26 August 2014
When I was younger, I used to ask my mom the time she would come home from work to play with me. She used to tell me: “I´ll be there at 4.30pm; I took the car to get home quickly.” Every day, at 4pm I would sit in the kitchen, checking the hour regularly to see when my mom would arrive. If she arrived after 4.30, I would reproach her with the exact amount of minutes she was late and ask her to give a reason. If she blamed the traffic, I would try to convince her that she should take the bike next time, to avoid being late again.
Simply put, this is what strategic planning and monitoring is all about:
- Set a clear and measurable goal: be home at 4.30pm.
- Decide on a strategy to achieve the goal: take the car.
- Check on the achievement or failure: number of minutes late.
- Discuss reasons for failure: traffic jam.
- Revise the strategy to avoid future failure: go by bike.
In a regional organization of 10 Supreme Audit Institutions from ASEAN countries (ASEANSAI) deciding on strategic goals and setting up monitoring systems is much more complex, especially when dealing with good financial governance issues. Yet, the logic remains the same.
In a 4-day Workshop in May, participants from 6 members of ASEANSAI discussed how the goals of their ASEANSAI Strategic Plan can be amended with measurable indicators and what activities they needed to pursue to achieve the defined goals. As in other monitoring workshops, the challenge proved to be in the trade-off between relevance of indicators and costs for data collection. The ASEANSAI participants opted for a pragmatic solution: do not set goals too high and include proxy indicators for goals that are difficult to measure. I would like to recommend that approach to everybody dealing with monitoring on governance related topics.
For more information contact
GIZ supports Royal Government of Cambodia to Kick-off Efforts to Improve Public Service Efficiency
25 June 2015
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Parents seeking a quality public education for their children; citizens requiring an ID card or a marriage certificate; a small entrepreneur wanting to register her business; the victim of petty crime awaiting a police investigation – these people all have one thing in common: in times of need, they are expecting efficient and effective public services from their government. Yet as everybody in Cambodia knows, this is not always the case. With the aim to provide more effective and efficient public services, the government of Cambodia has pledged to reform its public administration.
To support this process, the newly established Ministry of Civil Service is working to establish a new 5-year National Programme for Administrative Reform 2014-2018.
The Ministry of Civil Service, with the support of German Development Cooperation provided through the “Decentralisation and Administrative Reform Programme” that implemented by GIZ, organised a National Workshop on 29-30 April 2014 to review progress made on public administrative reform. The purpose of the workshop was to consult with more than 300 representatives from ministries and institutions at national and sub-national level on the next stage of the reform.
The Ministry of Civil Service commenced by outlining the three core strategies of the administrative reform: 1) strengthening the quality and delivery of public services; 2) strengthening the management and development of human resources within the Civil Service; and 3) further reforming the compensation regime of civil servants.
Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports presented their achievements in improving public service delivery in order to provide participants with insights into effective approaches and practices.
The World Bank and the German Embassy, as development partner representatives, took the opportunity to voice their support for ongoing administrative reform and encouraged the ministry to take a demand-driven approach to implementation in order to engender ownership and ensure that the reforms address ministry priorities and are harmonised with sectoral reforms.
Participants were then invited to participate in discussion groups on the topics of public service delivery; human resource management; human resource development and remuneration. Facilitated discussions encouraged participants to share current practices and trends; to identify issues and constraints; and to identify priorities for the next phase of administrative reform.
These discussions demonstrated awareness of a growing demand for reform among civil servants that is driven by following points:
- Cambodian citizens are better educated and more informed; they expect improved public services and a more responsive government; and they are less willing to accept the need to make informal payments;
- Cambodia’s objective of becoming a middle-income country by 2030, and a well-integrated member of ASEAN, as well as an internationally accepted player in the global economy;
- Civil servants want to be well-respected members of a society and be appreciated for their contribution to the well-being of their nation; and
- The civil service needs to compete with a burgeoning private sector to attract and retain qualified and well-motivated staff.
In his closing speech, His Excellency Pich Bunthin, the new Minister of Civil Service, stressed that the workshop “created an important public forum to review experience and to identify in-depth actions for public administration reform”. It presented a clear message to all ministries and institutions that they hold ownership and are accountable for effective reform in their sectors, and are therefore responsible for adopting a proactive approach in implementing the National Programme for Administration Reform.
The National Workshop will be followed by a series of targeted workshops to focus on aspects of the reform programme in order to develop a broad base consensus on how best approach its implementation. It is envisaged that the national programme will be finalised in coming months, will focus on early successes to build momentum and commitment while at the same time gradually introducing more fundamental longer term reforms.
Legal Protection Guidelines to Stop Violence Against Women, Developed by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs with Support from GIZ
12 June 2014
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and GIZ Cambodia have launched here today the Guidelines for Legal Protection of Women’s and Children’s Rights, which aim to improve response for cases of intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women, as well as domestic violence and sexual violence against children.
“According to a recent survey undertaken by four UN agencies in Cambodia, 25 percent of women have experienced sexual or physical violence (or both) at least once from an intimate partner,” noted Minister of Women’s Affairs Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi during launch event. “These guidelines will contribute to strengthen the law enforcement in order to facilitate access of women and children to the judicial system and to make perpetrators accountable for their acts. The guidelines are to be used by the Judicial Police Agents of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs as well as by any state and non-state service provider assisting women survivors of gender-based violence.”
Ms. Birgit Strube, First Secretary of the German Embassy in Cambodia, said “Germany has situated gender equality and women’s empowerment at the center of our bilateral and
sectoral policy dialogue with the Royal Government of Cambodia. Between 2011 and 2013, more than 2,500 women and girls survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and trafficking, as well as more than 800 children of them, received basic services through a Fund led by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and implemented by six NGOs.”
The Guidelines for Legal Protection of Women’s and Children’s Rights in Cambodia have been developed under the framework of the Access to Justice for Women project, jointly implemented by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and GIZ with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and –between 2010 and 2013- with co-funding from the Spanish Agency for International Development and Cooperation (AECID).
Other achievements of the Access to Justice for Women project in the last three years included police and legal training for the 137 Judicial Police Agents of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs as well as the integration of good practices for behavioural change to promote gender equality amongst young people in school curricula for 127 lower-secondary schools.
For the Guideline in Khmer, please click here
For the Guideline in English, please click here
Further information: Dr. Dagmar Maria Baer, Program Manager, Access to Justice for Women project, GIZ [Tel: + 855 23722298; ]
Benefiting from mutual learning experiences in Cambodia – Peer-to-peer exchange visits
Kratie and Battambang, CAMBODIA – In May 2014, the first term of district, municipal and provincial councils in Cambodia will come to an end. This is a good opportunity to look back and review the experiences of local government officials over the past five years.
Councillors and representatives of the administration of Chet Borei District of Kratie Province visited councillors of Aek Phnum District, Battambang Province to exchange and learn from one another’s experiences in office. The exchange was jointly facilitated by the Secretariat of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) and the GIZ implemented joint European Programme for Strengthening Performance, Accountability and Civic Engagement (EU SPACE).
VSO, an international development charity works with volunteers alongside local organisations that serve the poor. In Cambodia, VSO volunteers work with several districts. EU SPACE is the technical cooperation mechanism of the NCDD-S, European Union, Sweden and Germany and is implemented by GIZ. Its objective is to promote transparent, citizen responsive, accountable and capable councils at the sub-national level.
At the event, district and commune representatives came together, eager to learn how serving as an official representative developed their careers, and changed their lives.
The power of peer-to-peer learning
VSO and EU SPACE are not strangers to the value peer-to-peer learning offers. In 2013, VSO and EU SPACE organised similar exchange visits, which proved to be a success. The exchange visits demonstrated that peer-to-peer learning complements expert inputs as well as technical and policy advice.
Since 2011, EU SPACE in cooperation with the NCDD-S have also facilitated exchange between Cambodian and German representatives. Over the past few years, two German municipal councillors have visited their Cambodian peers.
Councillors reflect on the past five years in office
During the visit, district councillors shared their experiences on how their professional and personal lives have changed since they entered office in 2009.
The atmosphere during the one-day exchange visit was relaxed and lively. The facilitators of EU SPACE as well as representatives from the two districts made an effort to make everyone comfortable and encouraged discussion from the beginning. Together, the councillors reflected on their roles and responsibilities, on their strengths, weaknesses and challenges. They shared experiences on how to better engage with citizens and civil society organisations; how to implement and disseminate decisions of the council; how to organise the planning process of councils; and how to encourage more equitable gender participation. They highlighted that the relationship between councillors and citizens has improved through the increased engagement of councillors with their local communities.The councillors discussed the impact of their political careers on their personal life. “I am quite popular in my area,” a councillor of Aek Phnum candidly shared. “There is hardly a social event in my district, which I am not invited to.”
The lively discussions between the councillors also exposed the challenges local governments in Cambodia face. The councillors of both districts pointed to unclear responsibilities which hamper their effectiveness; a lack of resources; and the need to build capacity. Further, they mentioned that it remains difficult to promote the participation of citizens in remote areas.
“We will bring back many new ideas applicable to our daily work,” a participant of Chet Borei District pointed out. Participants also recommended that further exchange visits should take place in order to give more district councillors the opportunity to learn from each other.
GIZ Supports South-East Asian Countries for Enhancing Public Accountability of their Audit Institutions
19 January 2014
Jakarta, Indonesia. 19th January 2014. Seven ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam) reached an agreement to implement measures for improving transparency and efficiency of their Supreme Audit Institutions in a meeting supported by GIZ.
The ASEAN member states participating in the symposium ‘Enhancing Public Accountability in ASEAN to achieve Regional Competitiveness and Prosperity’, organized in Jakarta (Indonesia), have decided to take crucial steps to overcome barriers for public auditing by 2017. These measures include: 1) To amend existing laws and regulations or to develop new regulations to strengthen the institutional and organizational capacities and autonomy of Supreme Audit Institutions; 2) To engage more actively with auditees and stakeholders such as the Public Accounts Committees, civil society, media and the public; 3) To increase awareness on public accountability amongst decision makers, politicians, etc.; and 4) To strengthen networking and sharing of good practices amongst ASEAN’s Audit Authorities.
Tan Sri Dato’ Setia Ambrin Buang, Auditor General of Malaysia and Chairman of ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions’s Knowledge Sharing Committee, presented a summary of results agreed by representativesfrom ASEAN member states during the meeting. The Malaysian Auditor General also highlighted a number of constraints for an effective public auditing system in the region: weak law enforcement; lack of coordination and cooperation between Supreme Audit Institutions and audited entities; limited parliamentary oversight; low transparency in public reporting; lack of mechanisms to ensure audited entities follow-up on Supreme Audit Institutions’ recommendations; and lackof qualified human resources, amongst others.Supreme Audit Institutions play a key role to promote good governance and monitor public finances. These institutions ensure that public finances are managed in compliance with state regulations in an efficient, accountable and transparent way. Supreme Audit Institutions also strengthen capacities of civil servants to ensure that their roles and responsibilities are clear as well as to facilitate their participation for monitoring governments’ public expenditures.
For more information, please visit the ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions’ website: www.aseansai.org
Key Data on Poor Households from the Ministry of Planning available
A new data set on poor households from seven provinces and the rural areas of Phnom Penh is now accessible and can be used by government institutions, non-governmental organizations and specialized aid agencies in order to target services and development assistance to the people living in poverty more effectively.
With support from the Identification of Poor Households program -implemented by the Ministry of Planning of Cambodia and its provincial departments with technical support from GIZ- the Ministry has just made available more data of households identified as poor in Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Beantey Meanchey, Kratie, Oddar Meanchey, Stung Treng and the rural areas of Phnom Penh.
This data includes lists of poor households with their poverty category; details of all members of poor households (name, sex, age/year of birth, relationship to head of household); photos of poor households; poverty rates at the levels of village, commune, district and province: household-based and person-based; and aggregated socioeconomic and other special characteristics of poor households.
The data is presented in form of reports (pdf and excel formats) and maps:
- Report 10: Summary statistics (per province)
- Report 13: Poor household list
- Report 8: Profile of all household members
- Report 14: Poverty Rate Comparison Report (district, commune/Sangkat, and village levels)
- Report 15: Names and photos of poor household members (to be provided as per requested by users with approval from the Identification of Poor Households program).
- Report 16: Household data summary (to be provided as per requested by users with approval from the Identification of Poor Households program).
Access to some information is restricted due to its personal nature. In order to receive it, the user (a person on behalf of the institution or organization) will be required to register as a data user and to request permission from the Identification of Poor Households program ().
GIZ provides advisory support to the Ministry of Planning and its provincial departments in all steps of the implementation of the Identification of Poor Households program and supports relevant capacity development measures (). The Identification of Poor Households program is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), DFAT, UNICEF and the Royal Government of Cambodia.
The benefits of looking beyond borders
02 December 2013
It was Christian Weiser’s third time to travel to Cambodia, and this time Marion Kütemeyer accompanied him. In 2011, the EU SPACE programme of the National Committee for Democratic Development (NCDD) suggested, for the first time, inviting members of city councils from Germany to promote experience sharing, to improve mutual understanding of local self-governance, and to strengthen the roles and responsibilities of Cambodian councils..
They came to Cambodia at the request of the Secretariat of the NCDD, bringing along their experience as members of the council of the German city of Eppstein. Their mission: Eight dialogue forums with district, municipality and provincial councils from the provinces of Battambang and Kampong Chhnang as well as a national workshop attended by around 400 participants. This year’s topic: promotion of local and regional development.
The large number of questions and lively debates that arose during the dialogue forums provided evidence that this glimpse beyond Cambodia’s borders had been both interesting and helpful
The starting point, however could not have been more dissimilar: in Germany, there is a long tradition of local self-governance, and the councils of cities and districts elected by the people are largely responsible for the development of their localities. They are responsible for energy supply and trash collection, for urban planning, schools and the promotion of local development, just to list a few examples. In Cambodia, commune councils were elected for the first time in 2002 and district, municipality and provincial councils were established in 2009. The scope of their activities is limited, since most responsibilities are still under the purview of the central ministries.
Nevertheless, the NCDD-S believes that the Cambodian councils can and should begin to develop an initiative, particularly in the area of local and regional economic development. During the national workshop the Regional Economic Development Program of GIZ (RED) showed with examples from Siem Reap, how such an initiative could work. Councils could, for example, create a profile of their district or municipality, identifying economic strengths and weaknesses. They could also invite representatives of the private sector to advise on potential improvements, and they could link experienced business people with younger less experienced ones in order to facilitate their entry into the business community.
In order to ensure that the sharing of experiences with the two members of the Eppstein city council and the RED presentation would not be one-off exercises, the NCDD-S recommended developing a handbook for the councils on the promotion of local economic development. The handbook should be created with support from EU-SPACE and the RED programme and disseminated to councils in the first half of 2014.
Apropos sharing of experiences: the Cambodian councillors were surprised that the two visitors from Eppstein city council belong to different political parties. Christian Weiser is a member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), while Marion Kütemeyer is a member of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD). Even during the forums in Battambang and Kampong Chhnang provinces, they made no secret of their frequent differences of opinion. They were playful and quick-witted as they parried the arguments of their respective “opponents”, much to the amusement of their Cambodian audience. This exchange not only provided an important contribution to the promotion of local development, but also to improving the political culture.
The EU-SPACE programme receives funding from the European Union and the governments of Germany (through BMZ) and Sweden (through Sida). It is implemented by GIZ as a component of the German-assisted “Decentralisation and Administrative Reform Programme” (ARDP).
Transparency and human resource efficiency central to GIZ’s support to the Cambodian National Audit Authority
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Cambodia’s National Audit Authority recently agreed on a way forward to improve human resource management, as well as standards for greater transparency with the public.
In a discussion facilitated by GIZ in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia’s National Audit Authority learned how to overcome bottlenecks hindering the implementation of guidelines for public financial auditing. Discussions also committed to accomplish further organizational changes to improve employee capacity.
Previously, GIZ advised the National Audit Authority on developing and implementing two handbooks – the Human Resource Management Handbook and Training Programme Handbook, which are considered key for building organisational and human capacity, as well as strengthening the authority’s quality assurance system.. The National Audit Authority will report on the status of the implementation of the handbooks by the end of this year, so lessons learned can be incorporated into the future performance of the institution.
In the briefing remarks to the Cambodian Auditor General, Som Kimsuor, held in Preah Sihanouk province, Juergen Lehmberg, Project Manager of the GIZ National Audit Authority Project, said, “Improved human resources management and stronger capacities for public transparency of the National Audit Authority will definitely contribute to build the trust and confidence that all Cambodian citizens deserve.”
Since 2005, GIZ has provided strategic technical support to the National Audit Authority of Cambodia. This work also comprises facilitation of learning and knowledge exchange at regional and international levels, such as the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) and the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).
For more information, please contact Mr. Juergen Lehmberg (Tel: +855 12 333 101; )
“Polishing a Diamond” – Enhancing Women’s Engagement in Local Governance in Cambodia
Seventy percent of Cambodia’s population is between 14-30 years old; more than 30 percent of this young generation consists of women. However, women – and young women in particular – are not yet well represented and actively engaged in political decision-making processes of the country. For example, young women are not represented in the National Assembly and the Senate at all. Eight-teen percent of the commune councillors are women, but women at the age of 25 to 35 hold only 281 out of 11,450 commune council seats – a proportion of 2.5 percent. Of the 1,633 commune council chief positions, only 8 are held by women of this age.
Against the background of this situation, the Committee to Promote Women’s Political Participation (CPWP) has developed a study in cooperation with the GIZ-implemented EU Programme for Strengthening Performance, Accountability and Civic Engagement (SPACE) of Democratic Councils in Cambodia.
Testimonials demonstrate concerns and hopes for political participation
This case study and the accompanying film, “Polishing a Diamond – Young Women’s Political Participation and Representation in Local Governance in Cambodia”, reflects the voices, experiences, and life stories of young women. The young women interviewed are not a representative sample, but they provide strong testimonials illustrating the concerns, issues, inspirations and hopes regarding political participation and representation.
To give a few examples:
“I moved to Phnom Penh and started working in a garment factory almost 11 years ago. I work 10 hours a day, and I earn US$140 a month. I dropped out of school at grade 9. I understand what politics are: I am aware of my power as a voter and my rights as a citizen. I listen to the radio, and I understand what the commune council is about. But, I am absent from my commune and far from my daughter. I need to work and help my family.” (29 year-old factory worker)
“I do not remember anyone ever telling me that I could be a leader […] but I have [all those] voices in my head, talking about my role as a good daughter and wife.” (30 year-old factory worker)
“We have better education compared with our mothers; we work outside the kitchen; we have access to information, the Internet, Facebook, mobile phones, and SMS. We have CYWEN (a membership-based network for young women [100 members]), and we have more decision-making power both in our own family and in our community compared with our mothers.“ (30 year-old CYWEN member)
“I will support and encourage my daughter to consider joining local politics. I am thinking that women are doing a better job than male councilors. After 10 years of having women as council members, I can see their values. They do not waste time and they are practical. Young women would be even better. I will vote for them. Women in the past could only take care of chickens and the kitchen, but now it is different. They can be leaders, and they are doing a good job.” (57 year-old male commune member)
“[…] I am not sure how I can do it [get involved in politics]. Political parties are not providing us with clear information and simple instructions on what the channels are for young people to obtain more information about a party and its platform, policies, and the youth/women’s movement. How can I join them or approach/contact them? What is the requirement to stand as a candidate? I feel also, it would be so strange if you just go to their office and ask for information. I am personally in the dark and do not want to walk in the dark. What I mean is, politics is a dark tunnel for me, and I need some lights before I can join.” (25 year-old university student)
“Cambodian families expect for their sons to attain public status or high positions, and not for their daughters to do this. I am reflecting on my own experience, which my mom often reminds me of, that I should be modest and not aim for a position that may place me at a higher status than my husband. To put it simply – she wants him to shine, not me. This is not an isolated experience, but a common one among those of us with successful professional careers. We talk about it, we laugh about it, and we are working on it to change our families’ perceptions […]” (30 year-old CYWEN member)
“I send home US$70 per month […] My dad passed away in 1997 when I was 16, and since then I have been the breadwinner of the family. I can imagine myself as a commune councilor, but I stop thinking that thought immediately [...] We need to eat, pay for rent and medical bills, and […] I think then politics is not for the poor and young women like me who need to support their families. It is simple, we can’t afford it.” (32 year-oldowner of a car repair shop)
“In 2002, who could have even imagined that in 2012, 18 percent of commune council members would be women? This will be the story for young women, too. Cambodia is changing. And change is happening (mostly) at the local level. Cambodia and people in the communes are ready to vote for a 25 year-old single woman. […] Political parties are smart, and that is why they are now recruiting young people in all the villages. Village youth leaders of different political parties are joining and attending their commune council meetings.” (19 year-old CYWEN member)
“I am doing my best to recruit more young people for my party. We now have 12 members (youth, ages 18–25) for each village, and I must admit that they are mostly women. Young men refuse to be group leaders, but young women are interested. Women can bring votes for political parties, and both the CPP and the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) are aware of this. Women can mobilize people in the village and get lots of support. They talk, and they go door to door to listen to villagers. They are so close to the community.” (50 year-old female commune chief)
Bringing new perspectives into politics
Young women recognize the lack of their interests in politics. Their reasons have to do with politics perceived as irrelevant to their concerns, and their feelings of alienation from an arena dominated by an older generation. This older generation appears to many young women as unapproachable and hierarchical. However, young women also believe in the notion of balancing leadership by including more women and young people. They believe inherently that women will bring new perspectives to solving problems and are interested in what younger candidates might have to offer.
Locating entry points
Through the study and the film, CPWP looks into possibilities, opportunities and entry points for greater engagement in local politics and hopes that this work will serve as a starting point for further discussion and advocacy among relevant stakeholders.
CPWP is a non-profit, non-partisan network of local organizations committed to enhancing women’s political participation and representation in Cambodia, established in 2005. The goals of the CPWP are to promote and advocate for equal access, participation and representation of women and men in political decision-making. The findings of the case study were presented and the accompanying film launched in a Consultation Forum on Young Women’s Leadership in Local Governance with representatives of political parties, relevant ministries, elected commune councilors; youth Networks, women’s rights organizations, relevant local and international non-government organizations and development partners in early 2013.
If you would like to watch the whole documentary “Polishing a Diamond” please visit GIZ Cambodia’s YouTube-Channel!
ID Poor, RED-Green Belt and ARDP, Winners of the Gender Competition 2013 of GIZ Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Three programs Support to the Identification of Poor Households (ID Poor); Regional Economic Development Programme-Green Belt; and Support to Administrative Reform and Decentralisation (ARDP), have won the first ‘Gender Equality Competition’ for GIZ Cambodia. Eight initiatives from seven programmes participated in this competition with the goal of encouraging managers and technical advisors to promote gender equality and mainstreaming within GIZ’s work.
During the award ceremony held in Phnom Penh on 30 May 2013, Mr. Adelbert Eberhardt, Country Director of GIZ Cambodia said, “Due to the high quality of several proposals we have decided to award three programs, which will all be the winners of the ‘Gender Competition’ of GIZ Cambodia. I hope that all GIZ staff in Cambodia will continue making gender equality a priority in our daily work.”
The initiative “promoting women’s participation in the identification of poor households” of GIZ’s ID Poor programme was selected because of its impact on reducing gender gaps when identifying poor households; its high client demand; and potentials for business acquisition. This initiative also targeted women from socially disadvantaged groups, such as rural-illiterate women and women who are head of households.
Meanwhile, the “RED-Green Belt gender initiative” from RED-Green Belt programme was awarded based on its achievements in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in district workshops, at quantitative and qualitative levels.
For example, participation of women in district awareness workshops increased from 20 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2012, while women’s participation in cross visits increased from 16 percent in 2008 to 38 percent in 2012. This initiative from RED-Green Belt programme also successfully engaged men for gender equality and is, in fact, a good example of cooperation with decentralized institutions.
Finally, the initiative, “Helping get their voice heard – Strengthening newly elected female councillors”, from the ARDP programme, was also awarded for targeting 44 women councilors in two provinces. In addition to contributing to the participation of women in critical areas, such as decision-making at the sub-national level, this initiative effectively supported women councilors to improve their skills and leadership. As a result, this initiative gained interest from different partners.
Together, four judge assessed the initiatives and made the final call for the awards: Mr. Adelbert Eberhardt; Ms. Barbara Haeming, Regional Gender Focal Person for Asia-Latin America Department from GIZ Headquarters; Ms. Cornelia Grade and Mr. Rodrigo Montero, country gender officers of GIZ Cambodia, An assessment grid was especially designed and used by the judges for this competition. All initiatives will be published in a special digital publication in the upcoming weeks.
Mr. Rodrigo Montero Cano,
Gender and Communications Advisor,
GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’
Phone: +855 129 237 71
GIZ Supports Cambodia to Contribute to Historic Global Agreement to Stop Violence against Women
Minister of Women’s Affairs Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi and representatives from GIZ, line ministries, women’s organizations and other development partners participated on 21st May in a follow-up event on the remarkable agreement reached at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women to end violence against women and girls.
The historic 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women produced an agreement by 123 countries that paves the way for action to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide. Representatives from the Royal Government of Cambodia participated in this international conference held in New York in March 2013. GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’ supported Cambodian Delegation by setting up an internal process within the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to prepare inputs in a participatory manner and review progresses and challenges on the fight on violence against women and girls to be reported in the international forum.
As part of the follow-up event at Cambodian level organized on 21st May in Phnom Penh, Minister Phavi said “Cambodia will move forward with the Second National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women 2013-2017 in line with international standards and commitments such as the 57th Commission on the Status of Women. We will make sure that perpetrators are held accountable and that women survivors receive the necessary support. Further improvements will have to be made in critical areas, such as prevention and response to sexual violence, including rape and sexual harassment.”
In fact, the unique process to develop the Second National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women 2013-2017 was shown as one of the best Cambodian practices during the international conference held in New York. The referred process has involved women survivors of violence, civil society organizations –including women’s organizations-, line ministries and development partners who have participated in more than 10 consultations at national and sub-national level in the last year. This policy plan builds on the results and lessons learnt from the First Action Plan 2009-2012 and will come into force after final endorsement by the Council of Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the upcoming months.
Dr. Andreas Selmeci, Team Leader of the GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’, said during event “Interventions under the umbrella of the Second National Action Plan are expected to be more human-rights and gender responsive, more socially inclusive and more empowering. In addition, actions would target women who are at higher risk of sexist violence, such as garment factory workers, sex workers, women with disabilities, women living with HIV/AIDs, women from indigenous, ethnic or religious minorities, as well as lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people.”
Mr. Paul Keogh, Counsellor Development Cooperation of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), said during event “Violence against women is a significant human rights violation. It devastates lives, fractures communities and undermines good development. The Second NAPVAW is an example of the commitment and cooperation of the Royal Government of Cambodia with their partners to address this issue. Australia is very pleased to be working with Royal Government to help develop and implement this important initiative.”
Agreed conclusions of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women urge all countries to strengthen legal and policy frameworks, with important provisions on ending impunity of perpetrators, ensuring accountability and access to justice for women, as well as putting in place coordinated multisectoral services that respect confidentiality and the safety of women who suffer from gender-based violence.
“In March this year, the United Nations convened the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW),” noted United Nations Resident Coordinator Claire Van der Vaeren. “It offers global standards on actions to end violence against women, and Cambodia’s efforts are already in line with many of the Commission’s recommendations. The United Nations continues to support the Royal Government and development partners to prevent violence against women and girls, and to address the root causes– gender inequality and discrimination.”
In addition, H.E. Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior; Ms. Pok Panha Vichet, Executive Director of Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center; and Ms. Sok Panha, Executive Director of Banteay Srei, participated as well in the event to highlight national responses and challenges to eradicate violence against women and girls in Cambodia
For more information on GIZ project ‘Access to Justice for Women’ please contact:
Mr. Rodrigo Montero Cano
Gender and Communications Advisor
Tel.: +855 129 237 71
eMail: [email protected]
National Audit Authority Celebrates Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women
Phnom Penh, Cambodia In commemoration of the 102nd Anniversary of International Women’s Day, the National Audit Authority (NAA) organized an event around this year’s theme: “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity to Accelerate Progress”. Her Excellency Som Kimsuor, Auditor General of the NAA, presided over the event while 59 women from the NAA and the GIZ project to support the NAA joined the event as well.
Advancing technical knowledge to advance women’s status
Ms. Kuoy Lang, representative of the women of NAA, conveyed the message from Her Majesty Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk. This year, messages focused on improving technical knowledge of women to strengthen their rights and improve career opportunities. Ms. Kuoy Lang also summarized the activities and outcomes of women’s work inside the NAA.
In addition to Ms. Kuoy Lang’s speech, Auditor General Som Kimsuor stressed that achieving “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities to Accelerate Progress” requires promoting rights and opportunities for allowing the participation of women in the country’s development. This also requires encouraging Cambodian women and men to take action and stand as champions of gender equality.
Government Commitments to Reduce Gender Disparities
The 1993 Constitution states “Men and women have equal rights before the law and enjoy equal participation in political, economic, social and cultural life. This includes equality in marriage and family; employment; and equal pay. It also includes measures to prevent and eliminate of all forms of discrimination and exploitation of women.”
Additionally, the National Strategic Development Plan and the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) highlight the Government’s commitment to reduce gender disparities in all development sectors; the need to put in place effective measures to remove barriers that women face; and to increase opportunities for women to fully participate and benefit from development.
Precisely, GIZ also applies a gender mainstreaming strategy to help anchor the gender aspects of its work. This involves managing the development, and evaluation of decision-making processes and measures from a gender perspective while also measuring the impact of interventions on the lives of both women and men.
Poor households identified in 7 provinces and rural areas of Phnom Penh, covering a total of 4,821 rural villages
Cambodia - With support from GIZ, the Ministry of Planning and Provincial Departments of Planning have successfully completed “Round 6” of identifying poor households (“IDPoor”).
Village meetings and household interviews took place in all rural areas of seven provinces including Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Beantey Meanchey, Kratie, Oddar Meanchey, Stung Treng and the capital, Phnom Penh. Up-to-date lists of poor households are now available for these areas, covering a total of 4,821 rural villages. With support from GIZ, the data will now be entered into the IDPoor database.
Equity Cards provide access to social services
Households identified as poor during the IDPoor process will receive so-called “Equity Cards” from the Ministry of Planning. The cards will enable them to qualify for and access a range of services and receive support from various poverty reduction programmes.
GIZ advises the Ministry of Planning and Provincial Departments of Planning in all steps of the IDPoor implementation process and supports relevant capacity development measures; this support is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Australian Aid.
For further information on the IDPoor Programme please visit: http://www.mop.gov.kh/Projects/IDPoor/tabid/154/Default.aspx
On-the-job banking audit training: building confidence and technical capacity, hand-in-hand
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – On-the-job training is known to be an effective approach to putting technical skills into practice. By adopting this approach, GIZ’s National Audit Authority Programme helps Cambodia’s National Audit Authority (NAA) strengthen its capacity and team skills of auditors in charge of auditing at the Central Bank. Auditors at the Central Bank are mainly responsible for monetary policy and bank supervision of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Development of Audit Guidelines listed as, ‘an urgent task’
Momentarily, the NAA is working to urgently finalize the (draft) Audit Guideline for the Central Bank. At the same time, staff training is underway with the aim to raise the quality of independent audits.
In 2008, NAA initiated an audit at the Central Bank and Parliament discussed its audit findings in 2012. In coming years, NAA Central Bank audits are planned to continue. Guidelines would aid this process, and provide a foundation for auditors to work from.
Audit Working Group overcomes challenges through training
Her Excellency, Auditor General Som Kimsuor, recently established a new Working Group to conduct audits at the Central Bank to aid the process. However, as audit topics have evolved from previous ones, the newly established Working Group is anticipated to face some difficulties.
To overcome their challenges, GIZ’s NAA Programme engaged a German audit specialist, Dr. Uwe Roger Schreiner, to facilitate hands-on training for the audit team responsible for the Central Bank audit. The objectives of the training that took place on 11-15 March 2013, included:
1) Contextualizing the (draft) Audit Guideline to better suit Cambodian needs;
2) Training the Working Group on the audit process – from planning to reporting – at the Central Bank by providing some best practice examples from the German Bundesbank; and
3) Drafting the Audit Programme for the audit at the Central Bank.
The result of this work will be discussed with the Working Group and included in the Audit Guideline.
Trainings deliver solutions. moving the process forward
As a result from the training, the Audit Guideline on the Central Bank will be restructured to comply with the general standards of the INTOSAI. The Working Group will continue to refine the Guideline’s content and will submit the final product to the Auditor General for approval. Training participants have not only developed their professional capacity and technical knowledge through these trainings, they also feel more confident to conduct the audit at the Central Bank.
It is a challenging task for NAA to perform an audit on a specialized institution, such as the Central Bank. The Guideline was developed to aid this process. As the Guideline is a ‘living document’, its drafting is just the beginning a longer process ahead. To ensure its effectiveness, the Guideline must be tested and regularly updated to reflect changes in the Central Bank, and assist with the development of new audit methodology.
For more information on GIZ Support to the National Audit Authority Project, please contact:
Mr. Juergen Lehmberg
Tel: (855) 12 333 101
Email: [email protected]
Cambodian Officials Visit German Parliament to Improve Transparency of Public Finances
Phnom Penh, Cambodia During a recent study visit to Germany, Cambodian officials from the National Audit Authority, the Senate and Parliament had the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge on how the close cooperation between the German Parliament and the German audit authority enhances transparency and accountability in the use and management of public resources.
Mr. Juergen Lehmberg, Team Leader of the GIZ project supporting the National Audit Authority in Cambodia, said during the study
visit “We expect that some of the best practices we have seen from German institutions will inspire participants to reflect on how similar models can be applied in Cambodia to make management of public funds more transparent and meaningful for all citizens”.
The Cambodian delegation visited Germany on March 18-27, 2013 and comprised Her Excellency Som Kimsuor, Audit General of the National Audit Authority; H.E. Chea Chet, Chairman of the Commission on Economy Finance Banking and Audit of the Senate; and H.E. Khek Sam On, member of the Commission on Economy Finance Banking and Audit of the National Assembly.
The Cambodian National Audit Authority was founded in 2000 to audit the Government’s budgeting and to guarantee proper management of public funds. The GIZ National Audit Authority Project began in 2006 with the goal of improving transparency and reliability of the Cambodian public finance system, including the implementation of regulations as part of the Second Strategic Development Plan of the Cambodian National Audit Authority.
Mr. Juergen Lehmberg
Team Leader of the GIZ Support to the National Audit Authority Project
Tel: (+855) 12 333 101
Email: [email protected]
First Chapters of Handbook for newly elected Councilors launched
5 February 2013
Phnom Penh, Cambodia - With a series of Technical Documents, the National Committee for Sub-National DemocraticDevelopment (NCDD) aims to support the Councilors of Capital, Provinces, Municipalities, Districts and Khans to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Once finalized, the Technical Documents will constitute a “Handbook for Councils”. Recently, the Chairman of the NCDD approved the first two chapters. In two provinces, launching ceremonies marked the achievements of the contributingcouncils and the chapters’ handover.
More effective council meetings
During the last year, NCDD-S developed the handbook’s first two Technical Documents for sub-national Councils with technical support of the EU Program for Strengthening Performance, Accountability and Civic Engagement (EU SPACE). These documents provide orientation on how to conduct more effective council meetings as well as dissemination and consultative forums. During the 2-3 month modeling period, the target councils of the EU SPACE Program in the provinces of Battambang and Kampong Chhnang put the documents to the test. Councils tested their own comprehension of the documents and the degree in which they help them achieve their new roles and responsibilities.
During the launching ceremony, Mr. Sok Sothy, Deputy Head of the NCDD-S Policy Division, expressed his appreciation for the efforts and contributions of NCDD-S officials and the EU-SPACE Program. Mr. Sothy especially thanked the target councils for their contributions to the development and modeling of the documents. The councilors’ meaningful involvement helped to field-test their usefulness and improve document quality.
Mr. Sok Sothy furthermore underlined that the Technical Documents are not intended to serve as an instruction or guideline for the councils. The documents are intended as a resource for the council. The extent in which the councils follow the guidelines is their choice.
Councils appreciate capacity development support
Mr. Gereon Kaus, EU SPACE Strengthening Councils Advisor, stressed the importance of developing sub-national council capacities, and welcomed the recent approval of both Technical Documents by Deputy Prime Minister, His Excellency Sar Kheng. He expressed his hope that the documents will help the councils to improve the efficiency of their monthly council meetings and support them to be well-prepared for organizing dissemination and consultative fora.
As representative of the councils in Battambang, His Excellency E Sarom, Provincial Councilor, shared his perspective that, ‘council meetings improved remarkably over time, with the guidance of the Technical Documents’. His Excellency E Sarom welcomed coaching support provided by the EU SPACE Program for supporting the councils’ meeting preparation.
Additionally, His Excellency Men Thoeun, Chairperson of the Provincial Council in Kampong Chhnang, asked for continued capacity development from NCDD-S, specifically mentioning the coaching approach, tested with EU SPACE support, to achieve better performances of all councils.
Rolling out the coaching approach – countrywide
NCDD-S is currently rolling out the coaching approach that was successfully tested with EU SPACE support in two target provinces.
The ceremonies marked a milestone in the efforts of NCDD-S to support the capacity development of sub-national councils. A slightly re-formatted version of the modeled Technical Documents is expected to be made available and disseminated country-wide to all councils in the upcoming months. Meanwhile, two new Technical Documents are currently being developed and will be modeled in the target councils.
More Information >>>
Study trip aims to strengthen Human Rights in Cambodia
10-14 December 2012
Berlin, Germany - Understanding human rights policy and implementation is a life-long activity, even for senior officials. Last month, two Cambodian Senators and three Members of the National Assembly, went on a study trip to Berlin to learn about Human Rights policies and implementation in Germany. The visit served to further strengthen the capacities of the Human Rights Commissions of both houses of the Cambodian Parliament. Organized by CIM Advisors working with the National Assembly respectively the Senate, the event was kindly supported by GIZ.
The Cambodian delegation took advantage of every moment in Berlin: they met with members of various Bundestag committees, including the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid and the Complaints Committee, and a a number of other institutions relevant in the area of Human Rights and International Cooperation.
Together, the delegations discussed issues surrounding Human Rights and good practices, the Bundestag shared their experience handling petitions; the delegation explored future inter-parliamentary cooperation with the Bundestag’s Parliamentary Group on ASEAN.
Transparency ‘backs’ anti-corruption policies
Transparency and its relevance in the context of a sound anti-corruption policy was discussed at the global headquarters of Transparency International. The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information shared his insights on the implementation of a regime of free access to public information, which is an important aspect of good governance and democracy.
Garment industry workers’ rights better understood
A further focus was on workers’ rights. The NGO Clean Clothes Campaign presented their activities that strive to raise awareness amongst consumers in western countries of garment factory workers’ precarious working conditions in Cambodia. The issue of workers’ rights was revisited during a meeting with the DGB, Germany’s umbrella organization for trade unions.
Further meetings took place with the government funded German Institute for Human Rights, BMZ, the GIZ branch office Berlin, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the Human Rights Centre of the University of Potsdam.
ID Poor – Media Campaign
The Cambodian Ministry of Planning has started a media campaign to inform the public and interested organisations that new data from the Identification of Poor Households (IDPoor) Programm is now available. Adverts announcing that updated information on poor households in several provinces is available have been published in several well-known Cambodian newspapers, both in English and in Khmer language. The process of identifying poor households was undertaken in 11 provinces in 2010 and in 9 provinces in 2011, so that updated information is now available for a total of 20 provinces.
More Information >>>