Song, 59, from Koh Kong province wanted to know about development plans for her community.Fortunately, CARE is working with the Cambodian government to improve community awareness of the services provided by local authorities so Song was easily able to find the information she was looking for!
CARE’s partner Mlup Promviheathor Center trained local volunteers to run awareness sessions in the village where Song lives. They help people from all walks of life to understand things like what hours health centres should be open or what information they need to get a child a birth certificate. As part of this, community members are supported to understand the budgets of their local authorities and what this means for them.
Song was surprised to be able to learn budget information on the income and expenditure of her local commune, health centre and primary school. She had never known this before and found it a very useful way of understanding what is prioritised in their community.
Song observed that these three services really do spend their budget for the development of their community, allocating money for improvements such as building fences, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
“After I attended the awareness raising, I came to know that those information are true,” says Song. “I saw the health centre and primary school have spent their budget on building fences and improving their environment. Also, I now know the commune have allocated their budget to build roads and bridges in some villages. I am really happy with this information.”
According to Song, it is helpful for community members to have a good level of communication with their local authorities. “We should know all information related to the development plan for our community. It’s important to have the opportunity to give feedback because it will help to improve the services.” She believes that if people have better understanding and a clear way to provide feedback, services will keep improving and this will make communities happy.
For Song, the work of Mlup Promviheathor Center in her community has helped her to understand that local authorities are spending their money well to improve services so they are better than before.
CARE’s work in Koh Kong province as part of the NCDD’s efforts to improve social accountability is supported by the European Union.