As a staff member of the Women’s Affairs department in Pailin province, Ms. Choup Khemnik used to wait for instructions from her superiors before conducting monitoring and evaluation of activities carried out by her department. Today, she teaches others how to perform those tasks.
“I have received new knowledge and learned skills that I can apply to my daily work and share with monitoring and evaluation focal points,” Ms. Choup Khemnik said.
She is one of the two Champions from Pailin province, a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge guerrillas until late 1996. The region was integrated into the national government 13 years ago, and it is now one of the leading provinces in local governance reform, where responsibility is being transferred from national to local authorities to deliver many services to residents.
The Cambodian government has determined that improved local governance, or decentralization and deconcentration, is a necessary pre-condition for promoting good governance and reducing poverty. Developing knowledge and improving the technical skills of officials at the sub-national level is seen as a key element of achieving this goal.
The Champions come from Provincial Rural Development Committee (PRDC) – which serves as an important mechanism to coordinate planning and implementation of development projects at local levels – and from many line departments. They are involved in the monitoring and evaluation of investments and services promoting good governance and reducing poverty. They are chosen because of their high motivation in promoting monitoring and evaluation work.
They have received four training sessions between May and August this year. The lessons taught included how to design, organize and deliver a training, and finally to evaluate its impact. Visual aids, games and exercises were also used as examples to create an engaging atmosphere for participants. The Champions, which include 12 women, are expected later to be able to design training that will respond to the needs and issues specific to individual communities.
The activities were part of a pilot project supported by UNDP to improve monitoring and evaluation knowledge and skills of provincial-level officials and focal points. The project itself falls under the broader UNDP’s work to strengthen systems and structures of local administrations and give them more decision-making power to allow them to deliver services quicker to local residents.
In her Champion Trainer role and work in Pailin, Ms. Choup Khemnik would pair with another Champion Trainer in the province and be technically supported, mentored and guided by a Master Trainer.
“Without skills and knowledge, our provincial staff cannot provide services to the local people as efficiently as we would like to see,” she said.
Mr. Tek Kim Song, another Champion from the agricultural department in Stung Treng province, agreed.
He said that before going through the training he did not realise how important it was to have a thorough understanding of monitoring and evaluation processes and procedures. The training has since changed his perspective.
“It was completely new for me. Initially, I was unsure if I would be able to catch up with all the topics in the training. I was a bit scared of it too. But now I have acquired new skills and knowledge that will be extremely useful for me when I facilitate similar training for others in the future,” he said.
He added that in the context of the ongoing reform, “implementation of any project will become meaningless if we do not know how to conduct monitoring and evaluation.”
- Related topics: Democratic Governance