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Local NGOs reach for autonomy

Local NGOs reach for autonomy

Participants from around 40 local and international NGOs met May 25 to discuss how

local NGOs can become more self-reliant and efficient. The idea was to share the

experiences of members which had successfully made the transition to autonomy.

Kong Sarom is the executive director of children's NGO Bandos Komar, which grew fromthe

French NGO Partage. He said the movement towards autonomy was something overseas

NGOs were keen to see expanded.

"We are Khmers, so we understand our people's problems better than outsiders,"

he said. Sarom acknowledged that Cambodians generally trusted foreigners more than

fellow Khmers, but felt that attitude would change as more local NGOs showed they

were capable of meeting the same high standards.

Attendees said building capacity was key to a successful handover, and emphasised

the importance of maintaining management skills in finance, program preparation and

fundraising. Local NGOs should also ensure their leaders were skillful at managing

staff, and were transparent and accountable.

The trend towards handing control to more local NGOs began in the mid-1990s. Cambodia

now has more than 1,000 local NGOs. The issue of accountability has become vital.

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