As part of the VBNK ‘Strengthening Grassroots Democracy’ project, commune council representatives and the related local NGOs have been conducting community consultative villages meetings to collect the issues from the communities and villages and identify their concerns so that the CCs/CCWCs can consider them for integration into the Commune Investment Plans (CIPs). The consultative meetings are a mechanism to encourage villagers to have the confidence to speak out and prioritise the issues they want to see included in the CIP. They also assist the commune council representatives to build relationships and respond positively to the issues raised, along with clarifying the priority issues raised by the citizens. As part of this process, the CNGOs have been supporting the citizens to monitor the implementation of the CIP. Additionally, for issues that aren’t included within the CIP, a Local Action Plan is developed so that the citizens can see who is going to take responsibility for moving issues forward, and the citizens also play a role in monitoring the progress of that Plan.
As part of sustaining the project and processes, VBNK conducted final M&E sessions with the communities they have been working with to ensure that they feel confident to continue with the monitoring activities after VBNK has finished working with their community.
Ms. Khan Mov, a Councillor in Snoung commune, Battambang province, said “I am very satisfied with the SGD project. It has helped citizens understand their rights and has empowered them to raise their voices and work together to bring about change in their communities. I also feel much more confident to fulfill my role and am more aware of, and responsive to the needs of the community I serve” Ms. Mov also discussed the importance of the capacity development that everyone involved in the community has received to strengthen the monitoring processes. “Since VBNK came to our community, we have solved a lot of issues, such as improved levels of teaching at the primary school, staff at the health center providing better responses to the community and an overall sense that the community are much more engaged in bring about their own solutions to some of the problems. I feel happier and more confident now to raise the communities’ issues and bring them to the commune monthly meetings” she added.
Impactful Results and satisfied commune council members, NGO staff and citizens.
VBNK spent two days in each of the targeted provinces as part of delivering the final M&E capacity development sessions for the community members, the NGOs and the CCs/CCWCs. From our own observations, it was very pleasing to see how the commune councilors had grown in confidence since the commencement of the project, and how they have taken responsibility for the increased monitoring of the implementation of the CIP and the Local Action Plan, to address the communities’ issues.
The result from the community meetings is that everyone is agreed that the activities respond effectively to the needs of the NGO partners, the commune council and the communities as they all play an important role in empowering the communities to have their development needs met. Community members have taken their monitoring role seriously and as a result have also taken some responsibility for supporting the implementation of the Local Action Plan. Everyone feels more accountable to play their part and the relationships between all of the stakeholders has improved considerably since the inception of the SGD project in their communities.
“I’m very pleased to have a role in the monitoring of the implementation of the CIP and the Local Action Plan. I can ensure that the issues raised by the community will go to the next monthly commune meeting, so that the citizens’ voices can also be heard there” (Ms. Heng Channy, Kindergarten Community).