When Soknak joined Oxfam, he brought in many years of experiences with local and international organizations in the fields of community development, natural resources management and governance. He had worked as a consultant for ADB and as an adviser for German International Development (GIZ) in support of decentralization and de-concentration reform and sub-national administration capacity development.
Advocating for Better Governance
“I am truly inspired by Oxfam’s projects. They allow me to promote resource sharing and allocation among people through the principle of justice and to empower citizens to participate in resource protection and management for their own benefits. Those areas require better cooperation and building local partnership among communities, authorities and NGOs to co-manage those resources sustainably,” said Soknak. His main responsibilities include grant management, technical advice, policy engagement strategy design and CSO capacity-building in the realm of water and extractive industry governance, policy dialogue, youth engagement and community-based ecosystem/fishery management. Those responsibilities allow him to debate at the government level when NGOs and government’s policy differ on certain issues and to fine-tune cooperation among NGOs.
Putting forward a strategy for partners to debate and influence policy, Soknak raises awareness and builds the capacity of partners and communities on water and extractive industry governance linking ecosystem-based, and gender inclusive approaches, by empowering youth and women, especially indigenous people to exercise their rights to protect economic, social and cultural rights and make collective decisions on those resources. He works with relevant stakeholders to facilitate cooperation in influencing strategies for water and extractive industry governance and renewable energy in the Mekong Basin. “With Oxfam, I have enjoyed working with CSOs and empowering community to actively engage in these thematic areas, and I feel satisfied with these achievements because of the great benefits given to the people in terms of inclusive water resource and fishery governance and socio-environmental sustainability,” said Soknak.
“The empowerment and engagement of local people, especially women in natural resources management decision making is important for promoting gender justice in fair sharing of those resources, and securing their livelihoods.”