Wednesday, 05 February 2014 23:49

Three Questions

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Recently we were posed three questions that appeared in an overseas article regarding development work . Below we would like to take the opportunity to answer them in relation to Development Accord's work.


Q1. When will the project they are fundraising for stop?

A.  Development Accord's support will end when Cambodian Social Services effectively take full responsibility and financial support for ensuring quality family-based care for the country's vulnerable children. The Cambodian Government is taking steps to towards alternative family care models and away from institutional care, however the following are key elements that we believe need to be further progressed to see this happen:

a. Training: A base of well-trained Cambodian nationals needs to be available to run quality services for children, their families and communities. A Social Work degree was only added to university courses in Phnom Penh recently. CIF is currently ensuring staff are trained with the skills to deliver quality services in child placement and support. Other agencies are following suit. Government staff have also gone out to the villages to see foster care in action.

b. Strengthened and enforced laws and policies to care for children at-risk. The Khmer Government has started to take initiatives to stem the trend of orphanage care. The government has put legislation in place prohibiting the opening of new orphanages and are working on providing resources to help orphanages reintegrate children into appropriate family situations. They are creating timeframes for the reduction and closure of institutional care facilities.

c. Prevention and social support systems. Wider social support systems need to be developed to prevent children being placed in orphanages. Some reports indicate that over 90% of children in Cambodia are placed into orphanages because of poverty. Cambodia must develop its health, education and social security services to empower locals to keep children in their families. The challenge of capcity builidng is made all the more difficult as a result of the decimation caused by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. As a policy they killed all the intellectuals (doctors, teachers, politicians etc) leaving a huge vacuum of skills. It could be reasonably argued it will take one more generation for the Khmer people to successfully rebuild both the infrastructure and skill base to effectively develop services to meet these needs.

While these needs remain, Development Accord will continue to support Children in Families to develop and deliver its services, train staff and support advocacy, in both Australia and Cambodia, for quality family and community-based models of care for vulnerable children.

Q2.   How will they know when it stops that it was successful?

A.  The success of the work we support can be viewed from a a number of different angles.  Here we highlight just a few.  The support of the DevA community and the success of the model provides the platform for supporting the work of Children in Families.  If DevA stops supporting CIF because we feel the work there is done, we'll be looking for many things as measures of success, in particular, that families and children have appropriate access to services and support to ensure children are cared for in the best possible environment, and that appropriately trained Cambodian nationals are overseeing child welfare programs and maintaining recognised best-practice standards for the care and development of vulnerable children.

Q3.  How will they share the information on its success or failure with you, the donor?
A.  We are comitted to this already, and committed to continually improving this process.  The success of the fund and the sustainable giving model is demonstrated in our monthly reports to Members and can also be tracked by non-members through our live sample member, John Smith.  In addition we provide updates about our partner communities and the work Children in Families is doing via newsletters, presentations and reports published on our website.

The 3 questions above are important. At DevA the key questions we focus on as we operate and in the operations of our partners relate to quality of practice.

When donating to work overseas funders should ask themselves questions like:

1. Is the local population being consulted and empowered in the development of services?

2. Are the services provided in-line with UN Guidelines?

3. Are the services working toward long-term sustainability?

3. Are the donated funds going directly to the advertised cause? What % is taken in admin costs?

4. How will the organisation stay accountable and transparent to its funding base?

At Development Accord we are not based on the theory of short-term timeframes of funding. We base our philosophy on long-term commitments of smaller amounts  incrementally supporting ongoing work.  Many large-scale funding organisations commit to a period of funding, such as three years, and invest a large amount of money in this time. This makes it difficult for the recipient organisation to develop a sustainble framework and continue delivering their services at a similar capacity when the funding ceases. Development Accord volunteers have personally witnessed the negative affects of this type of funding strategy with numerous organisations in Cambodia.  At Development Accord we operate on the philosophy that we want to see organisations developing their services slowly, in a sustainable and  manner. This funding method allows organisations to have stability into future planning services without causing unsustainable rapid expansion due to overly large investments of foreign funds.

We look forward to sharing more thoughts and insights into these and other areas over the coming year...


Read 15148 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 23:52

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