Community participation in local governance in Cambodia: learning from the village networks approach

Cambodia has embarked on a process of decentralisation and democratisation, including the establishment of elected Commune Councils in early 2002. Given the lack of a tradition of encouraging civic participation in public affairs, however, there was initially little general awareness of how to engage with these Councils. The authors describe a project supported by the Ministry of Rural Development and the German bilateral agency, GTZ, and undertaken with local no-government organisations, to identify and support active community groups and improve their capacity to interact with the Commune Councils, while at the same time seeking ways for the Commune Councils to support the different groups.