Sunday, March 27, 2016

Building political ownership and technical leadership Decision-making, political economy and knowledge use in the health sector in Cambodia

Building political ownership and technical leadership Decision-making, political economy and knowledge use in the health sector in Cambodia

Op-Ed: odi.org

6 Recommendations

IMG_20160318_135946Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations can be made for AusAID Cambodia and other international development agencies engaging in the health sector in the country.
6.1 Recommendations for the next phase of programming
At the time of writing, it seems likely that HSSP II will be extended by one year, with the start of 2015 most likely to be the starting point of the next phase of AusAID support to the sector (Pearson, 2012). The following recommendations represent principles and ideas which could help guide the overall approach for this next phase of programming.
6.1.1 Politically savvy programming
1. Effective support for Cambodia’s health sector may involve designing elements of programmes to ‘go with the grain’ of political economy dynamics. This has the potential to have a high impact on health outcomes.
a. Attempting to work with the trend of mass patronage, by encouraging health to be seen as an appropriate ‘gift’ to constituents (e.g. disbursing vaccinations, dietary supplements, medicines), would be likely to garner the required behind-the-scenes approvals and ownership which could see broad, fast and effective roll-out with minimal leakage.
b. This could involve providing funding and/or in-kind resources for relatively top-down, one-off solutions to certain problems – for example, vaccinations, bed nets, or nutritional supplements. Key local government actors (and possibly CPP working groups) should be engaged, and it would be important that there were space for government and/or CPP to claim some credit for handouts. The issues of branding and publicity would need to be carefully considered.
c. Patronage-based distribution helps trickle down resources and allow for services to reach local people to some extent; yet it is far from being systematic and equitable. Complementary activities could be carried out to compensate for the downsides of mass patronage. One important priority would be public education and awareness to make the demand for health services better informed. Mitigation should be made for areas which are under-prioritised by the patronage system, for example through ensuring that NGOs focus service delivery on areas with low political priority.
d. Programmes could limit downsides through making gifts selectively available – for example, on issues where citizen demand is more likely to coincide with good medical advice, and by making the volume of gifts available proportional to the burden of disease or magnitude of the problem.
e. IDPs may want to limit their exposure to risk in such a programme through focusing on impact. Although it may often involve a ‘second best’ response to problems, the nature of handouts means they are suitable for conducting highly rigorous impact evaluations, which would establish improvement in health outcomes attributable to the programme, with a high level of certainty. Full randomised control trials are unlikely to be possible given the (required) lack of control over disbursement; however a variety of quasi-experimental methods should still be able to establish the value of the programme beyond reasonable doubt.
2. It should be recognised that medium- to long-term prospects for sustainability and effectiveness in the sector hinge on whether greater political ownership by the Cambodian government(15) can be built over health service delivery.
a. IDPs should formulate a basic theory of change and some principles and assumptions relevant to Cambodian context about how political ownership can be built in the sector. From that, they should identify strategic entry points or issues on which it is acceptable for them to work, or where their programmes can in some way contribute to health sector programming.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 39

Scene view of Cambodia Students during Exam 2015 - photo courtesy of MoEYs facebooke page.

Op-Ed: Leadership Skills

This part (39), the author Mr. Sophan Seng analysed the Education Reform of Cambodia. Beside of his summary of education history of Cambodia, two points are keyly elaborated:
  1. The displacement of Cambodian workers majorly young people to work in South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia or other countries, have evidently brought with them the two hands and two legs to scavenge soil and dirt in those countries in expected returns of higher compensation than working inside Cambodia. They didn't bring with them skills or expertise they have accumulated or learnt in Cambodia at all. Or if they have some levels of education, or skills, those host countries didn't value or accept such credential at all. So we could conclude that Cambodian youths have used only heritage from their parents (body and mind) to earn a living in those countries. Those youths have not been able to use their skills or knowledge from Cambodia schools at all.
  2. Second point is the foreign direct investment (FDI) in Cambodia. Until today, we see only garment factories being planted and mushroomed in Cambodia. The requirement of education credential or experiences for those garment labors (although completion of diploma or 12 years compulsory education) are not needed. Whenever, those young men and women can use their both hands, they are accepted to work. Their work environment is basic laboring, not skilling or technical utilization. Once, the factories are closed, those workers could not transfer their skills or inscript it into CV for higher position with expected higher wages beside of garment factory at all.
So education system in Cambodia has remained in limbo in producing higher skills and workable human resource in real working environment. But the recent strictness in high school examination is in question that: those passed and failed candidates are retained good quality of education or not?

Hun Manet speaks to Beverley O'Connor of ABC News


Pragmatically speaking, there are many things to be considered from his speech, but I have not been confident and it shall not buy out on his two points argument: peace and stability, and corruption is a universal human failure. In front of the 70% Cambodian young voters, Hun Sen has failed terribly on his boast of stability, peace and incremental progress during this 30 years under his power grip. Now his son has inherited such failure argument to aim on what? Screenshot_2015-10-16-13-37-02Corruption is not a universal practice and it is not a universal value at all. He might not be able to distinguish the difference between institutional corruption and individual corruption (which lean into nature of human greed)? More than this whenever he has never spoken up against corruption, it means he has conspirated it or involved in corruption. This last resort is very unfortunate for Cambodia to be survived on this planet.
At the end, observing from his stance, it is not wrong to attest the public saying: "like father like son" within a general perception. One of the likeness illustrated is the "self-defense" politics... I could assure you all that this self-defense approach has been very outdated. Whenever the incumbent clan of Cambodia politics has never learnt to accept mistakes, failure, reality, and Pragmatism, the navy of Cambodia is remained in the brink of danger. (Courtesy: Sophoan Seng facebook)  
Hun Manet speaks to Beverley O'Connor'Not no, not yes' Hun Manet, the son of Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen, has declined to say if he wants the top job one day in a rare interview. Posted by Radio Australia on Friday, October 16, 2015

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Siem Reap Ranked World’s Fourth Best City for Tourists

Siem Reap Ranked World’s Fourth Best City for Tourists
JULY 4, 2014
Siem Reap is the the fourth best city in the world for travelers, according to readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

The city received a score of 89.82 out of 100 in the magazine’s 2014 World’s Best awards. Among the categories readers were asked to rate were hotels, airlines, spas and city attractions.

Siem Reap’s best-ever showing on Travel + Leisure’s list comes about two weeks after Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat and Bayon temples placed 6th and 7th, respectively, among the world’s top 10 tourist attractions, according to TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice awards.