Youth in Local Development and Local Governance

Ms. Chim Manavy, Executive Director of Open Institue Picture: Open Institue Date: February 06, 2013Phnom Penh: To provide youth with knowledge about the roles, duties, and responsibilities of commune/sangkat councilors according to the law of “commune/sangkat administration management” for the effective participation of  the commune/sangkat councilors,to identify the participatory strategies to promote youth participation in the process of decision making through planning and its implementation, and to provide quality programs and services which are effective at sub national level especially at commune/sangkat level, The National League of Commune/Sangkat (NLC/S) and the Open Institute hosted a half morning forum on “Youth Role in Strengthening Local Development and Local Governance ” on 6th February 2013 at the Open Institute Office. 40 participants attended (20 females and 20 males). They were representatives from Commune/Sangkats  from Battambang, Siem Reap, Kandal and Phnom Penh,   ministries  from Ministry of Women's Affairs, Ministry of Interior  and NGOs  such as Voice of Democracy or CCIM (VOD), Khmer Youth for Social Developments (KYSD), People Health Development Association (PHD), Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP), Khmer Youth Association (KYA), Star Kampuchea, Youth Star, Advocay and Policy Institute (API), CCC. In the opening remarks, Ms. Chim Manavy, Executive Director of the Open Institute mentioned that the youth make up 30% of Cambodia's population , and therefore youth participation is very important in local development and good local governance. There is no strong democracy without youth participation. This forum will allow young people  to understand their important roles and responsibilities in participating  in Commune/Sangkat development and in applying the law and policy on Administrative Management of Communes/Sangkat .  Ms. Chim Manavy continued to stress that the expectations of the forum was also to identify key strategies to motivate youth participation in planing process and decision-making. Ms. Kaing Sanary, the Project Manager of Dialogue on Development (D&D), explained how the purpose of the project is to create an enabling environment for a series of dialogues on development for the youth and the Commune/Sangkats councilors in Phnom Penh and in five provinces,using ICT to promote  effective participation in the democratic process. The project has three main components; Trainings, Dialogue on Democracy and Development, and Democracy and Development Information Campaign. The project has partnered with four organizations; the National Leagues of Communes/ Sangkats (NLC/S), the Voice of Democracy (VOD), the Khmer Youth for Social Development (KYSD) and the People Health for Development Association (PHD).
Mr. Sok Sothy, Deputy Chief of Analysis and Policy Department of  NCDD is addressing the “National Program for 10 Year Democractic Development in Sub National Level” Picture: Open Institute Date: February, 06, 2013
Mr. Sok Sothy, Deputy Chief of Analysis and Policy Development Department of the National Committee For Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) within the Ministry of Interior, gave a presentation on the National Program for 10 Year Democractic Development in Sub National Level. The goals of the National Program are to promote equal democratic development , the improvement of the quantity, quality, and accessibility of public services, and the effective alleviation of poverty. The objective of the National Program is to set up sub-national administrative management according to democratic governance. This is to ensure the transparent and accountable implementation of the efforts to promote the local governance and service provision in order to meet the demands of people and contribute to the reduction of poverty in each local Commune/ Sangkat.
Mr. Sok Sothy emphasized that the National Program focuses more on empowering the sub national administration through delegation. This is to ensure the commune councilors are entitled to make decisions and to delegate resources in order to meet the demand of the people, also to ensure peoples' participation in making decisions, and to monitor and evaluate the sub national administration's implementation, position transferring to the commune councilors, and the mechanism to support funds for the commune councilors.
Moreover, he shared that we have recognized the extensive achievement of promoting democratic development through decentralization reform and predicted that it is going be more effective in the future. In spite of that, the Unify Administration still has a long way to go due to the limited human resource capacity.
Following the key note speaker, Ms. Douch Malin, Commune Chief in Siem Reap province, spoke about the “Daily works of the Commune/Sangkat Councilors in Investment Project(CIP), the Commune/Sangkat Development Plan(CDP), and the Achievement and Procedure for Youth to Involve”. She focused on the guideline of Commune/Sangkat Investment Program. She said the Commune Investment Project bid has allowed all enterprise companies to join fairly without considering the political view of the owners, and that they should qualify if they meet the basic administration requirements. She also discussed the administration forms and the procedure of 5 Years Development Plan, the third period (from 2013 to 2017). She highlighted the following 5 steps. The first step is to review the issues or needs of the villagers. The second step is the preparation of Commune Investment Project. The third step is to hold a seminar on Integration Plan of Commune Investment. The forth step is to implement the Assessment of Commune Investment Program, And lastly the fifth step is a follow up and evaluation of the Commune Investment Project.
The last key note speaker, Ms. Chan Setha, the project officer from the Youth Resource Development Program(YRDP),  shared a presentation on “The experiences of youth integration into the process of local development and local governance.” She also showed a  video clip about “Young Leaders for Social Accountability ”. She mentioned that youth participantion in democratic development was very important and she was pleased with the recent  desire from the younger generation to join in social activities in the community. She hoped that the youth will not be considered as a problems to  society. She added furthermore that we should help and motivate young people to use their spare time in positive way and we should empower them as individuals. .   Mr. Lee Sovan, a student from the National University of Managementand also a Volunteer  for Khmer Youth of Social Development (KYSD),  reflected that the forum was  crucial and vitally necessary.  This was because he was keen  to understand the Sub-National Development Project and financial control of Commune/Sangkats both for him and for his network. so that they could  be involved in the development project. He said that “After this forum, I would like to share this knowledge with my network in Green Youth Senate in 30 universities”. After the presentation of the guest speakers, there were five questions discussed.  The first was on “The role of the citizen in the good governance”, Whilst the second was on  “The role of youth in good governance in their communities.”Thirdly they discussed the issue of  youth participation in communes/sangkats. The fourth question was on  “The benefits of youth to participation in the local community especially in the commune/sangkat governance.”  Lastly they discussed strategies to develop how youth partticipation can strengthen local development and good governance. Result of the discussion: Question1: Citizen's role in good governance should involve the following major eight areas; full participantion, rule of law, transparency, consensus orientated, equity, effectiveness and efficiency, accountability and responsiveness. Citizens should take an active role and understand their obligation to ensure that the work is carried out smoothly. Question2: Youth should understand the extent of their own value, how they have an important role to play for the nation, but also how the role of the youth is not  so different from the role of the citizen. However, youth have extra responsibilities, such as sharing information, capacity development, seeking information,  acting as a good role model and moreover, to cooperate with local authority in order to ensure the safety and security of the commune. Some participants also expressed their concern over some youth  getting involved in and spending their days doing drugs and gambling. Question3: Youth must observe the change and progress of local development. They should take an active role at local level to use and follow up the budgeted plan of the commune/sangkat's development project, The fund of development should involve youth participation. Question4: Youth and the adult population can benefit from one another's skill set, knowledge and capabilities. Youth participation will improve and increase good governance. Meaningful youth contribution will allow the commune to function smoothly and effectively. Moreover, youth participantion in development of the commune/sangkats will help to reduce the widely accepted stereotype that youth are a problem for society. Youth will be beneficial in offering new ideas, innovation and a more current perspective. The youth have the ability to  impact and significantly change the future of the commune by acting passionately for the well being of their society. Question5: In order to promote the role of youth in local development and good governance, a forum, seminar, and round table discussion should be organized. This would provide the opportunity for the exchange and sharing of ideas and experience from working with youth. Furthermore, promoting public information and use peer talk can be an effective strategy to engage the attention of the youth Commitment to youth should be greatly encouraged and they should be motivated to play a more significant role in society. To be noticed that it is the second forum that project D&D of the Open Institute collobrated with National Leagues of Communes/Sangkats to organize. The first forum about “ Youth and The 2013 National Election” was organized on November 21th, 2013 for the youth and commune/sangkat councilors from the provinces. (For more information in Khmer please visit this link

  1. Agenda of Forum
  2. Presentation about ICT4Democracy
  3. Presentation about IP3
  4. Presentation abut National Program
  5. Presentation abut The experiences of youth integration
  6. Report Youth Forum in Khmer


Mr.Youn Sophon, Chief Sangkat, shared information about financial flow of his Commues/Sangkats Council. Picuture: Open Institute Date: February 06, 2013
Ms. Chan Setha, Project Offer in YRDP Presented about “The Experiences of Youth Integration into the Process of Local Development and Local Governance.” Picture: Open Institute Date: February 06, 2013

Particitpants gave their view on “how youth participation can strengthen local development and good governance” Picture: Open Institute Date: February, 06, 2013
Participants learnt about“Youth Role in Strengthening Local Development and Local Governance” Picture: Open Institute Date: February 06, 2013