People's Participation as the Key to Success

People's Participation as the Key to Success


From 1 - 4 August 2011, it was the turn of a Philippine delegation from Bacolod City, consisting of the mayor, several councilors and administrators, to visit Toul Sangke, part of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, to gain further understanding of the 'People-Private-Public Partnership (PPPP) to Improve Local Infrastructure' Best Practice. The group was warmly welcomed by Toul Sangke councilors and staff for an informative first session, learning about Cambodia's development reform program and the structures in the municipality. This was followed by talks with a variety of representatives of the local community and local business people, held at different places throughout the borough to give the visitors the opportunity to get a good impression of the results of the project. One of the highlights of the trip was, of course, the practical aspect, walking around the community and experiencing first-hand the positive changes brought about by the improvement of the infrastructure.

The visitors were very impressed with their host city - in spite of Toule Sangke being positioned at the lowest tier of the local government structure in Cambodia, it was able to mobilise resources to construct roads and a drainage system. The Philippine delegation felt that this was an encouraging sign that, regardless of the size of an LGU, much can be accomplished if there is the political will and strong involvement by the local community. People's participation and constant communication  between all parties involved, was seen to be the key to success, leading to a sense of ownership in the project. On the basis of their visit, Bacolod City has decided to revise their transfer concept to incorporate activities that will increase stakeholder participation in the second phase of the project.

The visit was a very positive experience, and at the debriefing meeting with the Sangkat. council, it was agreed to pursue future bilateral cooperation - the best practice model is fast becoming a partner city of Bacolod.