A Strategy Plan for the ICT4D Cambodia Network is Needed

The whole pictured in the first partner meeting  Mr. Mak Puthea, ICT4D Cambodia Network Coordinator Assistant welcomed two new members, CCHR and CCC as network potential partners.                         Date: March 24th, 2015                         Photo by the Open Institute

Open Institute : During the first Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) Cambodia Network meeting on the 24th of March, partner organizations expressed the need for a strategy and capacity building plan along with the development of outcome/impact goals for the network. In the meeting, idea, questions, as well as objectives for the network were passed around the table and will remain open for discussion as the network continues to grow. For instance, the partners discussed documenting the activities of each ICT4D partner organization, so as to identify those with similar characteristics, goals and approaches. Such information would allow for the partners with similar activities to work together in one accord towards a common goal as opposed to working individually and in discord with one another.

The ICT4D network is, for the most part, in its early stages of development. Through the financial support of the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER), the ICT4D Cambodia Network was launched in 2012. Its objective is to congregate various organizations with expertise in technology and grassroots organization development to craft solidarity by sharing experiences and knowledge as well as creating discussion spaces to meet the needs of other civil society organizations in Cambodia. It was created to prepare the way for and to raise awareness about the ICT4D program. 

Rather than agitate and advocate for any issues against the government, the network would work with the government to learn the different ways ICT can solve social issues. It was purposed as a bridge connecting and encouraging strong cooperation between government institutions, the network and its member organizations.  The network will also be supporting the ICT4D program in its endeavor to bring skills training and access to use of the ICT’s for the development of Cambodia. By extension it will assist the organizations serving in the ICT4D program along with those striving to build robust civil society spaces in Cambodia.  

The participants concentrated in the first partner meeting during discussion. Date: March 24th, 2015.                           Photo by the Open Institute

The network which is composed of several different organizations such as The Association of Progressive Communications (APC), East West Management Institute (EWMI), Innovative Support to Emergencies Disease and Disasters (InSTEDD), Open Development Cambodia (ODC), Open Institute (OI), and Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia (WMC) to name a few, welcomed two new members. The Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) concentrates its efforts in protecting the right of Cambodian citizens to participate in political institutions and express their concerns about any aspect of Cambodian society. Moreover, CCHR reported that for its Sithihub project, it has already proceeded in training youth to use blogging, FB, Video reporting…etc. as spaces for civil society with the support of GIZ and possibly SPIDER. The Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC), on the other hand, serves to reinforce the “cooperation, professionalism, accountability, governance, and development effectiveness” of diverse civil society organizations working in Cambodia. The two new member organizations were brought up to speed with the accomplishments, opportunities and activities of the network thus far, as well as its envisioned role in society and within governmental systems.

Through its Women’s Program, committed to the development of collective communication networks between women, women activists and women’s organization to further gender equality, the Open Institute (OI) extended itself in assuming administrative duties of the (ICT4D) Cambodia Network. The Open Institute, founded in 2006, is a non-profit and non-governmental organization empowering the citizens of Cambodia to participate in the social, political and economic. It works to provide access to and instruction in information and communication technology. OI endeavors to harness technology for the advancement of education, health, as well as, women’s rights and gender equality.