The German government has committed €5 million (about $5.68 million) to a joint government and civil society programme to boost cooperation between local authorities, local service providers and the public to improve performance.
The German Embassy announced the funding of the Implementation of Social Accountability Framework (I-SAF) in a press release on Tuesday.
The news came during the visit of German Parliamentary State Secretary Norbert Barthle, who met with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.
“Economic growth is important, but not enough. A vibrant civil society is the engine for change and progress,” the press release quoted Barthle as saying.
“Germany is supporting Cambodia in improving its public health, advancing rural development and in moving forward on decentralisation."
“Regional projects foster trade integration and promote better labour standards. Germany is committed to continuing its efforts to clear mines in the Kingdom,” the press release said.
According to the Strategic Plan on Social Accountability for Sub-National Democratic Development 2015-2018, the government is focused on three sectors – health centres, primary schools and administrative services – in 120 communes and districts.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (Ansa) executive director San Chey said the I-SAF is supported by the World Bank.
The German funding could be additional money to the current EU's funds donated through the World Vision organisation to implement the second phase, he said.
Chey said the aim is to reform local public services to make them more beneficial – though the provincial level is still important.
He wants to establish mechanisms to help people gain more knowledge of public services and also to fight against corruption.
Chey said the I-SAF is not comprehensively implemented in some rural areas due to limited financial support from the international community.
“We are lacking in some areas, such as the budget for civil society and the government. Funding [from the international community] is still on a small scale but it will help to implement I-SAF in those rural areas.”