Recent investigations into allegations of mismanagement within a few local non-government
organisations (LNGOs) have brought to the fore the issue of corruption in LNGOs in
Cambodia. We welcome these criticisms as an opportunity to reflect upon LNGO activities.
Not all LNGOs mismanage. Not all LNGOs, not even most LNGOs, are "deceitful
in their practices" ('Dubious practices', PPP, April 26-May 9, 2002). It is
a pity that the allegations leveled by the two foreigners were asserted as "the
RULE rather than the exception" ('NGO cheats', PPP, May 10-23, 2002).
It is true that a number of LNGOs mismanage, and we do not condone these LNGOs. It
is also true that many LNGOs have put in place mechanisms to ensure accountability
and transparency such as functional boards of directors, regular financial and programme
audit and evaluation by internationally recognised companies.
LNGOs have only recently emerged in Cambodia, and are currently and constantly working
to improve their operations, at both the administrative and programme levels. Efforts
include the promotion of an NGO code of ethics, a strong focus on training in financial
management, and discussion on the role of boards of directors and how to make them
We would like to remind readers that LNGOs only receive 10% of all funds allocated
to non-government organ-isations' activities in Cambodia. (See General information
of NGO statement to the 2001 Consultative Group meeting.) LNGOs operate in the remotest
areas of Cambodia, where the government cannot reach, thus providing crucial counterpart
contribution to the gov-ernment's priority objective of poverty alleviation.
In short, most LNGOs contribute significantly and positively to rebuilding the country
and strengthening democracy. It seems this contribution is not understood, or has
been ignored, by the two critics of Cambodia's LNGOs.
It is not productive to accuse all LNGOs or all women's LNGOs of corruption. Targeted
allegations provide the impetus for improvement. Broad generalisations will do nothing
but destroy our legitimate attempts to build civil society in Cambodia.
Mr. Thun Saray, President, ADHOC
Ms. Chheun Thavy, Execcutive Director, Banteay Srey
Mr. Koul Panha, Executive Director, COMFREL
Ms. Chea Vannath, President, CSD
Ms. Oung Chanthol, Executive Director, CWCC
Ms. Ros Sopheap, Executive Director, GAD
Ms. Koy Veth, Executive Director, KWVC
Mr. Yong Kim Eng, President, KYA
Mr. Hang Puthea, Executive Director, NICFEC
Mr. Russell Peterson, Representative, NGO Forum
Ms. Boua Chanthou, Director, PADEK
Ms. Hor Phally, Director, PADV
Ms. Khus Thida, C.Executive Director SILAKA
Mr. Nhek Sarin, Exec. Director, Star Kampuchea
Mr. Phuong Sith, Executive Director, Vigilance
Ms. Tiv Sarayet, Executive Director, WMC