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Dr. Kao Kveng Hong* Scholar at Angkor Khemara University Date: 2014
Development is seen as a process that increases the real freedoms enjoyed by the people. These freedoms are both the primary ends and the principal means of development. After the end of Pol Pot regime, during 1979 to 1990, the government of Cambodia implemented Rural Development Programs/Projects (RDP), aiming to improve the quality of life of rural people and also the rural infrastructure with using the emergency relief approach. In late 1990s, the rural development program has been changed to Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) and sequentially to Integrated Rural Development through Empowerment Program (IRDEP) with demand Responsive Approach (DRA) or Right Based Approach (RBA). At this stage, the IRDEP was broader than rural development. IRDEP is the first program, which has been implemented in Cambodia as pilot program by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in three provinces namely, kampong Speu, Battambang and kampong Chhnang. The present study has been undertaken in kambong Speu province to find out the impact of Integrated Rural Development through Empowerment Program on Community Beneficiaries. The research questions of the study are given below: i. What is the concept of development and, more particularly, rural development? ii. What are the findings of different empirical studies on rural development conducted by others? iii. What is the socio-economic status of the study area? iv. Is there any improvement of the beneficiaries in the study area in regard to their occupation, accessibility to drinking water, sanitary latrine, light, road, market and housing condition due to Integrated Rural Development through Empowerment Program? v. What is the effectiveness of different training programs of IRDEP on the beneficiaries in the study area? vi. What are the changes taken place in the income, asset position, saving and expenditure of the beneficiaries between before and after the implementation of IRDEP in the study area? vii. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of different components of IRDEP on the community beneficiaries in the study area? The objectives of the study are: (i) To review the related literatures of the study; (ii) To examine the socio-economic profile of the study area; (iii) To analyze the profile of the beneficiary households, and examine the impact of Integrated Rural Development through Empowerment Program on
occupation, and accessibilities of drinking water, sanitary latrines, light, road, markets, and housing conditions of the beneficiaries; (iv) To assess the impact of different trainings of IRDEP on the beneficiaries; (v) To examine the economic impact of IRDEP on the beneficiaries in the study area in terms of income, asset positions, saving and expenditure; (vi) To assess the effectiveness of integrated Rural Development through Empowerment Program on the community beneficiaries in the identified target areas; and (vii) To provide suggestions for the improvement of the living conditions of the community beneficiaries on the basis of the findings of the study in the identified areas. The study has tested six hypotheses, which are as below: Ho1. There is no change in the occupation, accessibilities of drinking water, sanitary latrine, light, road, market and housing conditions of the beneficiaries after the implementation of IRDEP. Ho2. There is no change in the percentage of beneficiaries having knowledge on different integrated rural development training programs after the implementation of the program. Ho3. The incomes of the beneficiaries have not changed significantly between before and after the program. Ho4. The asset positions of the beneficiaries have not changed significantly between before and after the program. Ho5. The saving of the beneficiaries have not changed significantly between before and after the program. Ho6. The expenditures of the beneficiaries have not changed significantly between before and after the program. To achieve the objectives and test the hypotheses, the study employs several methods for gathering data. Firstly, secondary data were collected in order to describe the historical context of development in Cambodia. Secondly, key information interview and focus group discussion were used in obtaining information on beneficiaries’ knowledge on different components of the program such as community development and planning, human rights, environment, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture (animal raising and vegetable gardening) and disaster preparedness. Furthermore, 405 community beneficiaries have been interviewed to find out the extent of change in the quality of life of the beneficiaries between before and after the program. The whole fieldwork was conducted in a period of seven months i.e., which is divided into two stages. Firstly, preliminary data collection lasted three month, from October, 2006 to end of December, 2006. Secondly, the actual field research was conducted in four months, i.e., from February, 2007 to May, 2007. The study illustrates that the rural development program in Cambodia has been changing from time to time according to the government policy and strategy. The government of Cambodia has employed the decentralization approach, and the integrated rural development program has been implemented as the demand responsive approach or rights based approach for the development of the rural area.
The study has analyzed the results of field work and come up with the results as given in brief below: First, rice was the first prioritized crop of the beneficiaries and its productivity was 2.15 tons per hectare after the program as compared to 1.45 tons per hectare before the program. Second, the beneficiaries’ occupations in the studied districts were cultivation, animal raising, firewood collection, charcoal making, business, service provider, daily and monthly worker, vegetable gardening and fish raising. The study reveals that occupations, which could affect positively on the beneficiaries’ quality of life, were cultivation, raising, vegetable gardening, service provider and business. Third, the beneficiaries’ drinking water accessibility in the study area is compared between before and after the program. The study found that the beneficiaries had changed their behavior from using the unsafe water to safe water, and after the program, the percentages of beneficiaries who used water from hand dug well, community drilled well and private drilled well were increased. Fourth, the study shows that more percentage of beneficiaries had access to sanitary latrine as compared to that before the program, and especially after the program, the beneficiaries had access to dry pit and poor flush latrines. Fifth, the study illustrates that only three per cent of community beneficiaries had access to electricity after the program as compared to nil before the program. Further, there was large increase of community beneficiaries in using battery after the program in the study area. Sixth, the study identifies that the community beneficiaries could improve their quality of house after the program. There were several types of houses in the study area, but the important changes of housing conditions of the beneficiaries after the program were found to be as Zinc roofed with room, Zinc roofed without room, Brick roofed with room and Brick roofed without room. Seventh, the study reveals that the community beneficiaries had access to road from village to village, village to commune, village to district, and village to province headquarters. The large increases in the percentages of beneficiaries having access to different kinds of roads were found in provincial based road, district based road and commune based road after program. Eighth, as the road condition in the studied districts was much better after the program compared to that before the program, so the community beneficiaries were able to go easily to the market located either in the village or commune or out of the commune/ district. Ninth, the study reveals that the community beneficiaries had knowledge on community development and planning, human rights, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture (animal raising and vegetable gardening), water supply and disaster preparedness after the program. Furthermore, they could use the above knowledge, which they gained from the community development programs to develop their own commune, improve their health situation and increase their quality of life through income generation under the facilitation and support of LWF and local authority. Tenth, the study finds that the income of community beneficiaries had increased significantly after the program as compared to that before the program. The result of the
study indicates that larger increases in the income of the beneficiaries in the study area were found in vegetable gardening, animal raising, firewood collection, business, daily workers and charcoal making. Before the program, the average annual income of the beneficiaries was US$416.75, which increased to US$ 599.99 after the program. Eleventh, the asset value of the community beneficiaries in the study area had increased considerably after the program as compared to that before the program. The largest increases in the percentages of beneficiaries having assets in terms of both in quality were found in case of motor cycles, bicycles, radios/radio cassettes, rice mills, ox carts, animals, televisions (TVs) and land for rice and crop farming activities after the program as compared to before the program. Twelfth, the study reveals that there was significant increase in the savings of the community beneficiaries after the program in the study area. The largest increases in the saving of the beneficiaries were found in saving in house and group saving after the program, and there were decreases of the saving of the beneficiaries after the program in the study area in buying gold and asset. Thirteenth, significant increase in the expenditure of community beneficiaries was found after the program as compared to that before the program. The average annual expenditure of the beneficiaries in the study area after the program was found to be as US$ 341.14 as compared to US$ 286.36 before the program. Fourteenth, the SWOT results show that CCs, VDCs and community beneficiaries had increased their knowledge not only on the community development and planning, importance of village bank and credit; but also on human rights, environment, selection of rice seed, water and sanitation facilities. In addition, they could use knowledge to develop their commune plan and select rice seed to increase rice production. But, the weaknesses of the program were insufficiency of following up activities, inadequate financial support at commune level, less number of training on health and sanitation and lack of resource persons. But, the community beneficiaries had the opportunities to learn how to select rice seed, agricultural technique and learn about the importance of village bank. Further, they had the opportunity to use credit from the village bank for income generation through raising animal, chicken, duck cow…etc. The threats of the program were lack of human resources and poor understanding on health, rice bank, natural resources and internal cooperation among community beneficiaries. The study concludes that for the sustainability of Integrated Rural Development through Empowerment Program (IRDEP), the Donors, NGOs, programs, projects, and the state should take into account the participation of the community beneficiaries in the development programs/projects from the initial stage of project (project design and implementation) till the end of project (monitoring, evaluation and following up); and the capacity building of the beneficiaries in various sectors such as development of plan, rights for use of natural resources, agricultural technique on how to increase the productivities of crops and live stocks. Finally, sustainable IRDPE should be achieved through a new development approach that considers the overall well-being of community beneficiaries.
*Dr. Kao Kveng Hong is Professor of Business & Economics at Angkor Khemara University, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economic Science, a MBA and a Ph.D. in Business Administration. Prior to entering academic life Dr. Hong was active in business; he remains the CEO of Asia Marketing Solution Company, a company he founded in 2006. Dr. Hong is also a qualified teacher. He began his career as an English and Japanese teacher in private schools in Siem Reap. These days he teaches Marketing, Media, Management and sales subjects to undergraduates and MBA students. He may be reached at email@example.com
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