A turning point of Cambodia's civil space and role of INGOs

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Oxfam launches two research publications on the future role of INGOs in Cambodia, and challenges and opportunities for active citizenship.

Today’s Cambodia is at a significant turning point in its social, economic and political development. The benefits of growth are not equally shared amongst all social groups. Access to quality public services, land alienation, vulnerability to market fluctuations, disasters and climate change are major development challenges for Cambodia. 

Given the changing political landscape in Cambodia, Oxfam considers it the right time to start a discussion on the political and social dynamics in today’s Cambodia in order to understand the threats to civic spaces but also the opportunities for expanding it in the coming years.

Oxfam is delighted to announce the launch of two research studies on political and social dynamics in Cambodia and the future role of INGOs in the country. The researches have been assigned to independent consultants as part of the Active Citizenship program of Oxfam. 

The study on Political Economy Analysis (PEA) finds that national level CSOs and Government relations are important and must be strengthened while sub-national relationships hold the greatest promise for constructive and meaningful civic engagement. Citizen demands for inclusion in decision-making cannot be reversed. 

Oxfam and development actors must facilitate mechanisms for citizens to engage in meaningful ways in their own development. INGOs and development actors play important roles to identify and facilitate those mechanisms that will provide citizens with opportunities to engage in the changing political landscape.

The research of the future role of INGOs in Cambodia suggests:

  1. INGOs review their future roles and develop an organizational development plan, and hold themselves to high accountability and transparency standards through reflection, peer reviews, social audits and impact assessments
  2. INGOs facilitate an enabling environment with inclusive partnerships that build bridges between CSO, Government and Development Partners for sustained collaboration
  3. INGOs increase CSOs knowledge, skills and strategies to leverage international networks and apply successful global experiences
  4. INGOs improve coordination, communication and cooperation amongst themselves

“The PEA can provide a perspective to Oxfam and development partners in Cambodia to expand opportunities for broader and more substantive civic engagement to influence the country’s decision-making process,” Chris Eijkemans, Oxfam Country Director, said. “The study of the role of INGOs in Cambodia provides an excellent reflection on how INGOs and development actors could prepare their future involvement strategy for Cambodia.”

Notes to editors: 

Active citizenship (AC) program received its core funding from the Hewlett Foundation. It supports partners to promote CSO space through global and national voices including enhancing CSO coalition building and capacity building to engage and affect change, supporting initiatives to empower and build the confidence of the citizens to foster citizen’s demand for public access to information on national budget and expenditure, mobilization of global voices to protect CSO space and enhance civic participation in policy making processes. 
For several years Oxfam has been actively supporting an Active Citizenship agenda. More recently we began investing in developing a design to build this work into a coherent program design.

Contact information: 

For further inquiries, please contact: 

Contact for Press Release and Media Advisory: 

  • Ou Ritthy, Information and Communications Coordinator, Oxfam, 017 340 722 or 023 885 424, and Ritthy.Ou@oxfamnovib.nl