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Integral Members Working Together in Cambodia

Kathleen Lauder has worked as Country Consultant for World Renew (US) in Cambodia for the last 3 years. Here she gives us an insight into their innovative collaboration with fellow Integral Members Mission Alliance (Norway) and Tearfund (UK) …

Photo: Kathleen Lauder, Cambodia Country Consultant for World Renew (US)

What is the situation in Cambodia?
Three years of devastation under the Pol Pot regime in which one-third of the people died, followed by another 15 years of civil war before the first election in 1993, have left a daunting legacy for the people of Cambodia. Now the country is in the process of rebuilding. 

What is World Renew doing in Cambodia?
We do integrated community development in approximately 110 communities, in 8 provinces with 14 local partners. We support the local people to make their own decisions and take the initiatives that are most important to them in their process of development.

How long have you partnered with Mission Alliance and Tearfund UK?
In partnership with World Renew Cambodia since 2007, Mission Alliance supports the integrated community development work of World Renew’s six NGO partners through a project called “Community Transformation in Rural Cambodia”. Tearfund UK have been in partnership with World Renew Cambodia since 2003.

Please tell us more about this partnership
Mission Alliance, Tearfund UK and World Renew share the same values and our approach to development. We all believe that we are called to promote justice and are committed to making our work as sustainable and as inclusive as possible. Mission Alliance provides support for the work we do with our NGO partners, while Tearfund supports our work with our church partners. Mission Alliance support has been very generous and has enabled us to work in more communities, with more local partners and to reach many more participants than we might have done without them. They also provide very useful advice and support concerning the approach to our work, drawing on over 100 years of experience doing community development.

Tearfund networks with various organisations working with churches to do community development. We learn a great deal through this learning network. They also provide us with funding support for ‘organisational capacity building’. This has been valuable to us in improving our organisational systems and building the capacity of our staff and partner staff through training and workshops.

What is your hope/vision/ dream for this collaborative work?
Our dream for our collaboration is Cambodian communities where poor and vulnerable people are fully transformed both spiritually and physically.

What is the main challenge?
Challenges we are facing now include migration, with many of the people in our rural communities moving to cities and other countries for work. As a result we need to revise our approach. We are now exploring ‘urban community development’ and we are building a specific focus on youth.

Any highlights to share from this work?
We work closely with the government at all levels: national, provincial and district. We see that for development to be sustainable World Renew should be working closely with the government but must be careful not to do the work for which the government is responsible. One of the programmes with which we are most encouraged is a workshop called ‘Improving Governance through Multi-stakeholder Partnerships’. We organise this workshop at the commune, district and provincial levels and deliver it in close cooperation with governments at those levels.

And finally, what do find inspiring about Integral?
It is clear that we can all learn from each other. Sharing common goals and challenges we are able to do more together than we might do individually.