Mr. Chanthea Nou (left) met with project staff and AC in Kampong Cham province
From 28th March-01st April 2016, Program Coordinator for Mekong of Caritas Australia (CA), Mr. Chanthea Nou travelled to Cambodia for a field monitoring visit to Caritas Australia’s funded projects on community development, community health and comprehensive prison health care program.

After the field mission, Mr. Chanthea Nou has shared some observations from the site visit and general thoughts about the impact of the programs and other ways of further cooperation between Caritas Australia and Caritas Cambodia. Below is an interview between Mrs. Somealea Ngay, in charge of communications from Caritas Cambodia and Mr. Chanthea Nou.
Somealea Ngay: Can you describe what the objectives of the field visit are?
Chanthea Nou: The objective of the visit is two fold:
  • To monitor the phase out of Kampong Cham Community Development program and the progress of Prison Health program in Steung Treng, Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri; and Community Heath program in Mondulkiri and
  • To share Caritas Australia’s policies, Strategic Directions, and Integrated Human Development Framework (IHD) and discuss CA’s updated program design and reporting with relevant project staff working for CA’s funded programs.
Somealea Ngay: What is your overall impression on the field visit?
Chanthea Nou: The field visit went well. From the beginning until the end of the visit I was accompanied by Ms. Vichheka Nay, Program Monitoring and Evaluation Manager from National office and field staff in each location.
  • Kampong Cham Community Development program: The phase out is already well underway in Kampong Cham. The project staff continue to do planning and completing remaining work with Agriculture Cooperative (AC) and community. I had a chance to sit and discuss with AC members about their short term and long term plans after the phase-out. They have demonstrated strong commitment and understanding to continue development work and maintain and grow achievements of the project.
  • Prison Health Care program: This program continues to change people’s lives and dignity especially those who are in the three prisons (Rattanakiri, Steung Treng and Mondulkiri) that I visited. In Steung Treng prison, inmates do not look at us the same way they did one year ago when we just started work in the prison. They were nervous, depressed, suspicious and hopeless. Now there is hope and help for them. They have access to health care at the health post and health treatment at the referral hospital. They also have access to education. The project staff are professional and able to work closely with the 3 prisons. I have noticed strong support and cooperation existed in the 3 prisons.
  • Community Health program: I visited Pou Chrey health center and witnessed good health services provided by the health centre staff. I talked to several patients who came to receive the service and they all appreciated the service and treatment that they received from the health centre. More indigenous people are now having access to government health center for consultation and treatment. For instance, the provision of kit support to newly born baby acts as a strong incentive for them to deliver their baby at the health centre.
Somealea Ngay: What do you see are the greatest impacts of the programs?
Chanthea Nou:
  • First, the greatest impact I have learnt from the Kompong Cham visit was the readiness of AC members to lead their own development work.
  • Second, the greatest impact for Prison Health that I witnessed during this visit was the dignity of prisoners and how they could transform their lives through skill and vocational training after they leave the prison.
  • Third, the greatest impact of Community Health program in Mondulkiri province was attitudinal change, ways of living and accessing Government health services for indigenous people.
Somealea Ngay: What changes do you believe would make the programs better?
Chanthea Nou: We need to be able measure change at higher level to ensure sustainability of the programs. We can’t just monitor and measure change at the activity and output level that what we normally do. We look at long term but need to action now to see how the program would continue without our support. For community health program, it is necessary to promote and strengthen government’s ownerships and key stakeholders and community involvement in the project planning and implementation.

I think further support to AC in Kampong Cham to improve their long term planning is still needed in terms of capacity building and sustainable strategic planning to move forward the activities. This kind of support aims to strengthen AC’s performance, so that they can support and deliver good outcomes to their community.

Somealea Ngay: What areas should be improved or moved forward in terms of partnership between Caritas Australia and Caritas Cambodia?
Chanthea Nou: So far, no major issues have been concerned. However consistent and regular communication between organizations should be improved in order to foster our mutual understanding. In this connection, we love to hear the updates and progress of Caritas Cambodia in both aspects of programs and organizational development.

Somealea Ngay: Is there anything that you want to say?
Chanthea Nou: I would like to take this opportunity to thank Caritas Cambodia team for the good preparation for the monitoring visit. Caritas Australia is impressed with the commitment of all staff at the project. I hope everyone will keep their firm commitment and effort in supporting poor communities. I wish you a successful continuation of your project activities.

About Caritas Australia and Caritas Cambodia partnership
Caritas Australia is one of the major donors to Caritas Cambodia. Its mandate is to support the long-term development programs in impoverished communities and helping oppressed people to rediscover their dignity by taking greater control over their lives and overcoming poverty. From July 2015- June 2016, Caritas Australia supports 5 projects with a total budget of US$ 331,988 and the programs benefit poor communities including farmers, women, children and prisoners.
Some activities of site visit from Caritas Australia to CA’s funded programs


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