Siem Reap – The Joint Accountability Action Plan (JAAP), which has been developed through the meaningful process of citizen engagement through the Implementation of Social Accountability Framework (ISAF), was integrated into a Commune Investment Plan (CIP) during the annual District Integration Workshop (DIW). The workshop, held on 7th December 2017 in Chikreng District hall, focused on a Three-Year Rolling Commune Investment Plan.
DIW was presided over by Mr. Vannet Dork, deputy governor of Chikreng District, who is also a focal point for Social Accountability at district level. In attendance were 91 participants comprising district staff, commune chiefs, commune council, clerks, Commune Accountability Facilitators (CAFs) and International non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff from World Vision, Plan International, Save the Children, Temple Garden Foundation, ADDARIDA and Hallo.
Leu Chanda, a 63-year-old Commune Chief at Chikreng district, explained the development process prior to DIW: “Before we submitted JAAP to the district governor, we looked into our commune data which focuses on five sectors: economic, society, natural resource and environment, administration service and security as well as gender, and compared it with actions outlined in JAAP. Then, we used diagrams related to the commune investment plan and district priority activities matrix to track progress. This exercise helped us to prioritize the action plans and submit them at district level. Some priority plans will be achieved with budget allocation from the commune fund, while support will be sought from NGO partners for the remaining plans.”
For improved services delivery through ISAF, World Vision has been implementing this framework in 12 communes at Chikreng district
During the workshop, community volunteers known as Community Accountability Facilitators (CAFs) actively engaged in a discussion to observe how the Commune Investment Plan (CIP) would be implemented at the village level. At the same time, NGO partners offered support for selected plans.
“I think CAFs are the main characters supporting community development work in the commune,” says Leu Chanda, fellow Commune Chief at Chikreng District.
Seng Sa, a 30-year-old CAF in Kork Thlork Krom commune, said: “According to the observation, some consolidated action plans are lacking financial support and budget allocation from the national government, related public service delivery line departments and NGO partners needs to be explored. If those action plans are not achieved, citizens will question its progress in the next village meeting on the social accountability framework.”
Proposals developed at the workshop by the various communes were written on flipcharts and stuck on the wall to be compared with existing district plans. The needs of the commune members were co-responded to by government and NGO representatives.
Dork Vannet, Deputy Governor of Chikreng District and a focal point on social accountability work at district level, expressed: “From 2016 to 2017, with the support of NGO partners, CIPs have progressed well with the coordination of our annual district workshop. However, we still face a big challenge on the lack of financial support for some priority action plans and we would like to seek more budget allocation from the national government and NGO partners.”
Through active discussion at the workshop, 739 action plans in the CIP have been identified, with 108 action plans (15%) supported by NGOs. The rest await support from from other key partners.
For improved services delivery through ISAF, World Vision has been implementing this framework in 12 communes at Chikreng district, and is among 220 communes in total across five provinces: Preah Vihear, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom and Kampong Chhnang.
To implement the project well, World Vision International has provided a number of capacity building and regular coaching sessions to CAFs in ISAF on facilitation skills, information for citizens (I4C), rights, policy standards, budgeting, and the community scorecard in citizen monitoring process. 1,171 CAFs across five targeted provinces, including 150 from Siem Reap were actively involved in the project. They have facilitated citizens in their community to conduct JAAP meetings and submit JAAPs to the authorities for presentation at DIW.
ISAF supports the improvement of service delivery in schools, health centers and communes for rural households in selected districts in Cambodia.
CAFs have played an active role as the bridge for relationship building between citizens and their public service delivery body and commune administration. At national level, a higher level Partnership Steering Committee provides guidance and strategic recommendations for ISAF implementation, while a Technical Working Group provides technical guidance for implementation. At sub-national level, a coordination team supports implementation. All of these groups hold mandatory regular meetings on a quarterly basis to provide updates on progress and challenges. These groups consist of members from both the supply side (government body) and demand side (implementing NGOs and citizens).
“CAFs are an indispensable partner who have supported a great deal of local government work. So we need them to work together to develop our community especially for the benefit for our children and the whole community,” says Vannet, a focal point of social accountability at district level.
“70 CAFs, including 53 females, have been working with public service providers and service users to improve public services and keep growing civic engagement,” added Mr. Mean Pros, Project Coordinator for the ISAF project.
ISAF supports the improvement of service delivery in schools, health centers and communes for rural households in selected districts in Cambodia. Through implementation in 5 provinces with and 24 selected districts, around 1,820,000 community members including over 950,000 children are impacted by the project.
The grant financing ISAF was received under the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) from the Government of Japan through the World Bank.