Report from National Coordinator in Cambodia

Final Conference and Final Reporting–one Last Big Effort

reported in July 2012

Just like all the other DELGOSEA offices around the region, the coordinating team in Phom Penh was busy with preparations for the final conference of the project taking place in Bangkok from 7 – 8 August. 19 participants were attending from Cambodia, including representatives of the pilot cities, the LGA and best practice cities. The DELGOSEA office needed to ensure that all relevant information was well received by the participants. This meant that the invitation, the agenda and all other documents had to be explained and translated into the Khmer language – a big task that took up a lot of time throughout the month.

There were also the market place stalls of the Cambodian pilot cities to prepare with all cities eager to display their replication progress. Last, but not least, the coordination office was supporting the panelists and speakers from Cambodia who played a prominent part during the conference. This required close cooperation with several officials, including representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, Kampot Municipality, NLC/S and respective coaches on their presentations.

With the project drawing to a close, there was of course also the need to complete the project documentation, i.e. to finalise monitoring reports, publications and internal reports. A key task was to oversee the printing of the DELGOSEA training textbook, as well as to produce the final version of the pilot cities’ transfer process documentations and the national policy recommendation paper.

Final Monitoring of the Pilot Cities–The Project Results are Becoming Obvious

reported in June 2012

The final monitoring reports of the two Cambodian pilot cities were completed in June 2012 and the coordination team was of course curious to see how the DELGOSEA activities had benefited the two municipalities.

Choam Chao, the city that had concentrated on the relocation of street vendors, was pleased to report that so far two sites have been selected for official markets and that 263 former street vendors have moved in already. The benefits of this move have been immense: the atmosphere in town has changed drastically, as roads are now unobstructed and clean. The vendors are safe from the danger of injuries through traffic accidents and have also seen an increase in their income since they can charge higher prices in the market hall.

It was encouraging to learn that the schools participating in the Eco-saver project in Kampot had made a small profit through the sale of recyclable rubbish to local junk shops. Some schools used that money to reward the pupils, others to cover the waste collection service bill. The city also experiences some social benefits with children becoming more disciplined in managing their own garbage and being interested in keeping their environment clean. The tree-planting efforts of Kampot have paid off for the environment, as has the reduction of garbage on landfill sites.

There were more good news from Kampot when it emerged that Prey Chor, one of the biggest and most populated districts in Cambodia facing many problems particularly with regard to urban environment and a lack of infrastructure, was interested in taking up the Eco-savers project as well. The mayor of Kampot was invited to present the city’s experiences and to share their successes and challenges in replicating the best practice.

Finally, the coordination office began with the preparations for Cambodian participation at the DELGOSEA final conference, taking place in early August in Bangkok, Thailand.

Workshops and Final Monitoring Visits

reported in May 2012

The beginning of the May was dominated by not just one, but two workshops – the DELGOSEA Cambodia team was responsible for the national workshops on policy recommendations, taking place on 2 -3 May and straight afterwards, from 3 – 4 May, was hosting the workshop for the regional policy recommendations also taking place in Phnom Penh.

The aim of the national workshop was to discuss draft policy recommendations and next steps for lobbying and advocacy activities, which should be based on a strategy to ensure sustainability of best practice transfer in the country. The results included: A clear commitment from the National League of Communes/Sangkats (NLC/S) to remain the primary contact point for the identification of best practices within Cambodia and to intensify best practice replications in the country; consolidated policy recommendations for the local and national administration and an agreement that an advocacy strategy would be drafted. It was also heartening to see a show of genuine moral support for Kampots and Choam Chao’s projects.

DELGOSEA Cambodia was responsible for the logistics and administration of the regional conference with more than 60 delegates from all project countries – quite a job! The event went very well, ending with ‘The Phnom Penh Record of Principles on Strengthening Decentralization and Local Governance.’ The declaration is calling for a more permanent dialogue on decentralization and local governance to be established between ASEAN member states and for expanded collaboration with local authorities (LAs), as well as civil society, in a multi-stakeholder approach.

Also during May, the pilot cities received their last monitoring visits. The coaches, for whom it was the last month with the DELGOSEA team, met and interviewed the local task force members and drafted their reports.

As part of the sustainability strategy, the DELGOSEA team is looking for future funding for the activities of the pilot cities and has started to develop a concept note for EU-funding – first talks took place on 18 May 2012 and the proposal is currently being edited and finalized by an external expert.

Preparing to Host Workshops on Policy Recommendations

reported in April 2012

The DELGOSEA Cambodia team was very busy in April with the preparations not only for the national workshop on policy recommendations, but also for a regional workshop, bringing together representatives of all the five project countries with the aim of arriving at recommendations on and for a regional level.

The ‘Second National Workshop on Policy Recommendation and Networking’ was planned for 2 and 3 May in Phnom Penh, followed directly by the ‘Regional Workshop on Strengthening Decentralisation and Local Governance in ASEAN Countries through a Multi-Stakeholder Approach’ on 3 and 4 May.

The coordination office worked closely with the local government association NLC/S as well as the KAS Cambodia office in Phnom Penh to prepare invitation letters, invite participants for the national workshop as well as identify participants for the regional conference. The coordination of all the presentations for the national workshop as well as the ones from the Cambodian participants for the regional one was also one of the responsibilities of the administrative team.

As part of the preparations for the national workshop, the DELGOSEA office organized and facilitated the ‘Reflection Workshop’ at Kampot from 5 -6 April 2012, which gave coaches and key actors in the municipality the opportunity to share information on the activities and results implemented as well as consolidate lessons learned. The focus was on identifying challenges encountered during the project implementation and looking for suggestions and recommendations to be presented at the national workshop.

A similar reflection workshop took place in Choam Chao on 11 April, with the coordination office assisting the local task force in organizing the event. 37 participants from all sectors of society came together to discuss the best practice replication so far. Here as well, suggestions and recommendations emerging from the implementation experience were gathered for presentation at the national workshop.

Focusing on Workshops and Study Tours

reported in March 2012

While the capacity backstopping visit to by delegates from Toul Sangke to Bacolod in the Philippines that took place in the first week of March had occupied the coordination office in February, it was the study tour of key stakeholders from Kampot and Choam Chao to Muangklang in Thailand that kept the DELGOSEA team Cambodia busy in March.

Although neither of these two cities is implementing the best practice from Muangklang, a town aiming to become a low carbon city through an improvement in the management of solid waste, both Kampot and Choam Chao have become interested in the scheme and are contemplating introducing it into their own municipalities. Despite this being to a large extent a self-financing trip with most of the 24 delegates paying their own way, the coordination office was heavily involved in facilitating the trip, i.e. arranging transports and accommodation as well as liaising with their counterparts in Thailand.

With the national and regional workshops in early May coming closer, the coordination team was very involved in the detailed preparations for these two large events in Phnom Penh.

Last but not least, the fourth monitoring visit took place in Choam Chao, giving the pilot city the opportunity to discuss open questions with the coaches and get their input into the replication progress. The monitoring team was pleased to note that the BP replication of the pilot Sangkat is on track!

A Busy Month for the DELGOSEA Team

reported in February 2012

In early February, the coordination office of DELGOSEA Cambodia helped the pilot city of Toul Sangker with the preparations for a capacity backstopping visit to Bacolod in the Philippines, the two cities felt that they would profit from an exchange of experience, since both are interested in public-private partnerships and how to make them work. It was a very informative and useful trip for the host of Bacolod.

The city of Kampot is also planning a study trip to Muangklang in Thailand to find out more about how the management of solid waste could help a city to become a low carbon city, and the coordination office was busy preparing that trip at the end of the month.

The main focus in February was, however, on the preparation for the national and regional workshops to agree on policy recommendations to improve national legislation and administrative procedures to favour good governance. DELGOSEA's project manager came over from Manila for a planning meeting with both KAS and DELGOSEA coordination staff to help organise the events, which will take place in May in Phnom Penh. The content of the workshops was discussed in detail, together with the agenda, participants, budget and other logistical matters.

The visit provided a good opportunity for DELGOSEA's project manager and Cambodia's coordinator to take part in Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM’s) regional workshop in Siem Reap to give a presentation on DELGOSEA's experience about best practice transnational exchange.

In the pilot cities, the replication of best practices was of course continuing at full speed. In Kampot where schools replicate the recycling scheme of the eco-savers from the Philippines, the DELGOSEA team was invited to join in the first Eco-day that had been organised by the Sangkat chief and municipal staff on 10 February. Monitoring visits to the two pilot cities also took part as scheduled. In Choam Chao, coaches assisted the local task force in their meetings with local stakeholders to review progress and find solutions for obstacles and challenges that are being encountered.

Concentrating on Replication Activities in Kampot and Choam Chao

reported in January 2012

After their monitoring visits, capacity building workshops and helpful feedback from the project coaches, the two Cambodian pilot cities are keen to continue their replications along the agreed timeline.

In Kampotan Eco-daytook place in five more secondary and primary schools, allowing school children to bring in the recyclable rubbish they had collected throughout the month.For Cambodia this is a new and exciting initiative that was conducted at each school under the leadership of the school principal with the support of municipal environment and education offices. In addition to this main focus of the project, Eco-day also provided an opportunity to spread information on environmental issues, the benefits received from tree-planting and waste management.

Activities in Choam Chao concentrated on supporting the Sangkat task force in its efforts to negotiate the planned relocation of street vendors to a market areawith all stakeholders. The two coaches, in close consultation with the coordination office, worked intensely with the task force and helped them in their talks with street vendors, landowners and village authorities to review progress and find solutions to obstacles. During a stakeholder meeting on 20 January 2012, attended by representatives from the Ministry of Interior as well as the municipality, 32 participants, including market operators, street vendors, local residents, factory and landowners agreed on the importance of relocating street vendors and the need to conduct such relocation in a harmonious and lawful way. The meeting was deemed of such importance that it was even covered by two local newspapers and TV stations.

Finally, a coordination meeting with the two coaches took place in the coordination office to finalizelogframes, improve monitoring reports and the draft of the transfer concept documentation. Reporting also played an important role this month, with internal interim reports as well as monitoring reports being drawn up.

A Busy Last Month of the Year

reported in December 2011 

Rather than winding down towards the New Year, the DELGOSEA team in Cambodia spent a busy December tying up loose ends and preparing activities for the next year. In two of the pilot cities, Kampot (implementing a waste management best practice) and Choam Chao (replicating Solo’s street vendor’s management scheme),progress was made in disentangling thorny issues, partly as a result of the workshop on local conflict resolution that had taken place in November 2011.

In Choam Chao, this took the form of a series of discussions amongst all the stakeholders involved and facilitated by the project coaches, on how best to relocate street vendors in the city. These talks had been difficult in the past, so it was a relief to get all concerned – market operators, landowners, street vendors and Sangkat authorities - around the negotiation table again. It was encouraging to see that the village and Sangkat authorities had started to consult with street vendors and have already registered 150 of them to move to the new market when the site is ready.

Kampot had faced its own problems in getting all stakeholders to come to an agreement on how to proceed, and a meeting was called on 20 December for 18 school principles, five Sangkat councils and village chiefs to finally develop action plans for waste and environmental management. It was encouraging for the DELGOSEA coordination office and the two coaches that the pilot city had already initiated the publication of leaflets on environmental and waste management education to be distributed to local residents.

Apart from supporting the two pilot cities in these important negotiation processes, the DELGOSEA team focused on the follow-up of the DELGOSEA coordination meeting which was held from 7 – 8 December in Manila and which had been attended by the project coordinator. During a briefing meeting with the four coaches, important issues such as report formats, major events in the coming months, the monitoring work plan and the budget for 2012 were discussed.

Also on the agenda in December, despite not taking place until May 2012, was the national workshop on policy recommendations. It was decided that this workshop would take place in Phnom Penh in the first week of May, aiming to finalize policy recommendations, agree on concrete steps for lobby and advocacy activities for the proposed function transfer and develop ideas for a country strategy to ensure the sustainability of best practice transfers in the country. Last, but not least, there will be an element of brainstorming on an envisaged ASEAN Working Group on Local Governance and the sharing of best practices on local governance within ASEAN.

Planning for Next Year

reported in November 2011

In November, the DELGOSEA Cambodia team started to look forward to next year and the last project phase. From 11 – 13 November, all team members, the four coaches as well as staff from NLC/S got together for a retreat in Banlung, to discuss the activities for the last few weeks of 2011 and to plan the monitoring and coaching schedule for 2012. It was decided to develop a logbook in Khmer for each pilot city – quite an innovation. Furthermore, the preparations for a joint training workshop for both pilot cities on local conflict resolutions related to street vendors’ arrangements (Choam Chao) and solid waste management (Kampot) were discussed. This workshop was speedily carried out, taking place from 25 – 26 November in Preah Sihanouk Province.

The Spotlight is on Monitoring

reported in October 2011

In Cambodia as well, the monitoring phase of the DELGOSEA project began in late October, with the project team preparing the first monitoring visits.

During a planning meeting with the different coaches, the monitoring sequence was set up for each city and the logframe, i.e. the basic monitoring tool, was updated and re-checked for the correct use of indicators and the availability of baseline data. The last coach was also recruited, so that the monitoring teams for Cambodia are now complete.

One of the monitoring teams, consisting of a project coach and members of the DELGOSEA project team, paid their first visit to Choam Chao from 28 – 30 October 2011. First on the agenda was a talk with the task force of the city to finalise the logframe and look at risk mitigation. This was followed by meetings with the village chief, landowners and market managers to inform them about the project activities, with the view of gaining their continued support and commitment. A walk around the area to talk to vendors and local residents, getting their views on the replication process, rounded off the trip. While there were some delays to the activities, due to the unusually long and heavy rainy seasons, the monitors were happy with the progress so far!

Midterm Conference Coming Up

reported in September 2011

During August and September DELGOSEA Cambodia was also preparing for the DELGOSEA midterm conference. This included putting together both a country and a pilot city report, as well as policy recommendations, all with the help of the national coaches. Of course, a visual presentation of the developments in the pilot cities of Kampot and Choam Chao was prepared for the market place session. In addition, Battambang Municipality, the host of “One Window Service Office” Best Practice, joined at the conference and made the market place of the two Cambodian pilot cities more attractive by providing more documentation and explanation on the Best Practice and its success’ story.

It’s All about Exchange Visits

reported in August 2011 

Like all other national DELGOSEA teams, the office in Cambodia was busy both with sending off a delegation from Kampot to visit Marikina in the Philippines and at the same time welcoming a delegation from Bacolod in the Philippines to Toul Sangker, Phnom Penh.

Of particular interest was the delegation from Bacolod, touring Toul Sangker from 1 -3 August. The purpose of the visit was to deepen their understanding of the structures and processes of the public-private-people-partnership (PPPP) that brought about capital investment in roads and infrastructure. The group, consisting of the mayor, several councillors and administrative staff, had meetings with their counterparts from Toul Sangke, learning about Cambodia's development reform programme and the structures in the municipality. This was followed by talks with a variety of representatives of the local community and businesses as well as a city tour to see the changes for themselves.

From 3 – 6 August, it was the turn of Cambodians to travel: several representatives of Kampot city, including the mayor and the coaches, joined a delegation from Vietnam for a visit to Marikina, Philippines, to explore the Eco-Savers project with its focus on urban waste management and recycling. The visitors were well briefed by the various stakeholders who were responsible for making the project such a success, including the vice mayor and the head of the department for environmental management. A sojourn at participating elementary schools to see the project in action rounded of the trip.

Following the study tour to Marikina, Kampot City organised an information-sharing workshop and presented the results of the visit to more than 100 participants from the city offices, schools, local governments, communities and the private sector.

Focusing on Exchange Visits

reported in July 2011

For the Cambodian DELGOSEA team, June and July were busy months, preparing and carrying out not just a study tour by a Cambodian delegation to Indonesia, but also preparing a second exchange trip, of Kampot City to Marikina City, Philippines, as well as a visit from the Philippine city of Bacolod to Sangkat Toul Sangker. Both these trips are planned for early August.

The trip was designed very professionally in close cooperation with the city of Solo and the participants from Choam Chao Sangkat were delighted to have the opportunity to see for themselves the best practice example – the revitalization of an old market and the relocation of street vendors – which had been studied so closely. The visit, taking place from 11 – 15 July, was a great success with the guests being very impressed not only by the well-organized markets, but especially by the kindness and generosity of the mayor and his staff in sharing experiences and suggestions of how to make Choam Chao’s project a success.

Kampot City is looking forward to a similarly positive experience in August, when visiting the eco-city of Marikina, which inspired the municipality to introduce their own eco-saving scheme.

At the same time, Sangkat Toul Sangker was putting the final touches to their programme for the visitors from Bacolod, Philippines, who are keen to find out more about how to involve residents and private businesses in planning and decision-making processes to improve local infrastructure.

Getting Ready for Action: Finalizing the Transfer Concepts

reported in June 2011

The DELGOSEA Cambodia team spent June working intensely on the transfer concepts for the two Cambodian pilot cities: the eco-saving scheme of Kampot City and the relocation and empowerment of street vendors in Choam Chao Sangkat. In a meeting with the mayor of Kampot, his staff and the pilot city’s coaches, this crucial document was finalized and handed over to the city’s administrators. In both places, the administration is showing strong support for the projects and is keen to get started in cooperation with the selected coaches.

Even before the pilot cities have started their work in earnest, DELGOSEA’s activities attracted attention in the country, with many government agencies, especially the Ministry of the Interior, showing a great interest in the two projects and how they relate to government programs supporting decentralization and deconcentration.

Experts Assist in Finalizing Transfer Concept

reported in May 2011

With the goal of improving the outputs of the National Workshop, DELGOSEA Cambodia hired two experts to assist the pilot cities in finalizing their respective transfer concepts. Mr. Chat Sophiep assisted Choam Chao in completing its draft transfer concept while Mr. Rous Chanthy supported Kampot in firming up its transfer concept. The experts completed a 20-page transfer concept for each pilot city. The coaches who took part in the Training of Trainers in Pattaya last November 2010 helped finalizing the transfer concepts by facilitating the discussion between the experts and pilot cities. 

 Aside from helping the pilot cities finalizing their transfer concepts, the experts also facilitated the drafting of concept notes to secure additional funding in order to increase sustainability beyond the duration of the DELGOSEA project.

DELGOSEA Cambodia Organized First National Workshop

reported in April 2011

Phnom Penh, Cambodia. As a culminating activity in the drafting of transfer concepts, DELGOSEA Cambodia gathered representatives from the pilot cities, civil society organizations, media and academe for a National Workshop in Himawari Hotel on 26 April 2011. At the end of the workshop, participants came up with separate matrices that outline each pilot city’s transfer concept. The matrices contain expected outputs, concerned stakeholders, and associated risks in replication.  Participants also agreed to continue the dialogues with higher tiers of government in popularizing the DELGOSEA project. This is particularly true in the case of Choam Chao. Engaging the capital, Phnom Penh, will greatly help facilitate replication in the area. 

The workshop also served as a venue for pilot cities to network with representatives from civil society, academe, and media. The workshop was broadcasted in four television stations and was covered by two local newspapers.

Coaches get More Involved in Preparing Transfer Concepts

reported in March 2011

In preparation for the national workshop calendared on 26 April 2011, coaches for Choam Chao Sangkat and Kampot Municipality get more involved in assisting their respective pilot areas. In Choam Chao, coaches conduct regular meetings with Sangkat Chief and his staff. Such initiative, on the part of Choam Chao coaches helped develop a good working relationship with all stakeholders involved in the DELGOSEA project.

On the part of Kampot Municipality, aside from assisting in the preparations for the national workshop, the coaches also helped the municipality develop its five-year development plan and three-year rolling plan. One coach for Kampot even helped the municipality prepare the Mayor’s presentation for the UN Habitat Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka held on 29-31 March 2011.

The deeper involvement of the coaches helped the pilot areas came up with detailed transfer concepts. These outputs were also converted into a proposal to secure EU-funds for the pilot areas.

Joint Transfer Concept Development Workshop Organized

reported in February 2011

Kampot, Cambodia. DELGOSEA Cambodia convened the management staff and coaches from Kampot Municipality and Choam Chao Sangkat for a transfer concept development workshop on 24-26 February 2011 in Kampot Municipality. This is the first time that staff from the two pilot areas met and worked together. The workshop was conducted in preparation for the National Workshop slated on 26 April 2011.

After the joint workshop, coaches for Choam Chao meet with Sangkat Chief and his staff regularly to prepare information, work on the concepts, and draft the presentation slides for the national workshop. On the other hand, the coach for Kampot municipality assisted both Choam Chao and Kampot on the contents of the presentation.

 One of the major outputs of the joint workshop is a detailed transfer concept and strategies to engage higher tiers of government. An agreement was reached during the joint workshop that a series of continued dialogues with Phnom Penh for Choam Chao and concerned stakeholders in the two pilot areas must be organized. There was also an understanding that the group will seek the assistance of NLC/S, the Sangkats’ local government association in Cambodia in approaching Phnom Penh Capital Authority.

DELGOSEA Cambodia on Document Translations

reported in January 2011

After the Trainers Training in Pattaya, Thailand, DELGOSEA Cambodia focus on translating DELGOSEA project documents to Khmer to get more buy-in from the local governments. The reason behind this is Cambodian government officials are only able to discuss and formulate transfer concepts in Khmer. First to get translated are Best Practices models from Marikina and Muoung Klang. DELGOSEA’s brochures were also translated to Khmer with assistance from the Coordination Office. The translation of DELGOSEA documents to local language contributed to the success of preliminary meetings in Kampot Municipality and the instant scheduling of the transfer concept workshop on 17-18 January 2011.

Translation of key components of fiscal management is still going on in Choam Chao, another pilot site in Cambodia, making it difficult to immediately conduct the transfer concept workshop. The workshop is scheduled in February 2011.

DELGOSEA Cambodia Rising Above Challenges

reported in December 2010

While other Coordination Offices are confronted with the challenge of busy schedules brought about by the holiday season, DELGOSEA Cambodia is facing a different set of challenges. For one, there exists varying capacities of local coaches from Kampot and Choam Chao. With Kampot coaches more capacitated than Choam Chao, the Coordination Office needs to step-up and assist the latter to facilitate the accomplishment of project milestones. The National Coordinator, Mr. Min Muny and the Project Assistant, Ms. Hin Muny participated in the discussions in Choam Chao while the local coaches facilitated the discussion in Kampot.

 Budget constraint is another issue in DELGOSEA Cambodia. As the project could only support capacity and knowledge transfer, pilot sites look for other sources of funding to finance their hardware and infrastructure needs. Timing is the third and final challenge confronting DELGOSEA Cambodia. The National Program for Sub-National Democratic Development is still on its earlier stages, thus local governments in Cambodia including Kampot has been very busy attending to activities related to the reform program.

Despite these challenges, DELGOSEA Cambodia was able to finish translations of key components of urban environment and fiscal management, finalize the transfer concept and workplan until 2012 for Kampot, and translate DELGOSEA brochure in Khmer.