III. General NGO Information

The important contribution of NGOs in the rehabilitation, reconstruction and development efforts of Cambodia in the past two decades is well recognized by the Royal Government of Cambodia and International Donor Agencies. NGOs continue to play a major role in supporting the provision of basic social services, often in remote areas and communities, and are present in every province in Cambodia. More importantly, NGOs bring alternative models and approaches to development, emphasizing participation, equity, gender sensitivity and environmental sustainability. NGOs have been instrumental in advocating for national reforms that pave the way for improvements in health, education, human rights, legal system, social services, environment and women and children’s rights.

The number of International NGOs in Cambodia has remained at around 200 over the past few years, up from 25 in the early 1980’s. The number of local NGOs and associations however continues to rise and today there are almost 400 local NGOs and nearly 600 associations registered with the Royal Government of Cambodia, which is a dramatic increase from 1991 when the first local NGO was established was estimated 13,000 Cambodians are working for and with the NGO sector throughout Cambodia. In addition, over 40 NGO sectoral and issue working groups, both formal and informal in nature, come together on issues of common interest in support of the development of Cambodia. Informal NGO networks exist in almost every province and have an increasingly important role in contributing to an informed dialogue on development processes and policies.

International NGO activities in Cambodia can be broadly classified into four main categories:

  • Large-scale service delivery dependent on bilateral and multilateral funding and implemented by large NGOs with experience in reconstruction and infrastructure development.

  • Service delivery in conjunction with government institutions working through local structures and providing institutional capacity building especially at provincial, district and commune levels.

  • Community development activities carried out by well-established NGOs with experience in working at the village level to tackle the basic causes of poverty.

  • Development of local NGOs and community based organizations, encouraged and directly supported by international NGOs includes direct funding and capacity building through training.

Local NGO activities in Cambodia can be broadly classified into four main categories:

  • Democracy and Human Rights organizations committed to promoting democratic principles and respect for human rights through policy, training and other advocacy work.

  • Development organizations involved in education, health, credit, income-generation and other rural and urban development activities aimed at improving the lives of poor people.

  • Support Service organizations focusing on human resource and organization development training activities, as well as facilitating networking and advocacy related activities

  • Community based organizations and associations that are taking on a more active role in participating and directly managing their own development processes.

NGOs recognize the importance of strengthening their own governance structures and internal management systems, which are important to ensure transparency and accountability, particularly to the communities and people they work with. A NGO Code of Ethics was developed in1996 to promote quality and professional standards within the NGO community and has contributed to discussions on values, leadership and models for NGO self-regulation. The NGO Code of Ethics has also been shared with various government ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior, on several occasions.

NGOs have also advocated for a supportive legal framework for NGOs, which would strengthen their contribution to Cambodia’s nation building efforts and encourage greater citizen participation in the development of the country. A transparent and supportive legal framework should strive to achieve a balance between regulation and facilitation so that scarce government resources need not be committed to managing a complex regulatory system. A Draft Law on NGOs and Associations has been the subject of many discussions over the years and could provide clear guidelines for NGO operations so that both NGOs and government better understand the operating environment.  



1.   Social development NGOs and people’s associations are organizations:
1.1. Whose purpose is to work in partnership with the people of Cambodia for the development of a society based on justice and equality;
1.2. Whose policy and outlook is determined independently from that of any donor or government agency;
1.3. That are not aligned with or affiliated to any political party,
1.4. That are not-for-profit organizations is that no profits of the organization are distributed for private gain;
1.5. Whose activities are carried out without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, political loyalties, skin color, national origins, age, religion, handicap or sex, and
1.6. That operates within the law of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
2.   Through their programs, NGOs and people’s associations:
2.1. Respect the dignity, values, history, religion and culture of the communities they serve;
2.2. Facilitate self-reliance, self-help, popular participation and sustainable development so as to avoid dependency,
2.3. Seek to strengthen the institutional and human resources of Cambodia;
2.4. Have as their fundamental concern, the well-being of those affected by the programs,
2.5.  Seek to promote the advancement of the status of women and their empowerment;
2.6. Seek to ensure that any material assistance provided by them is appropriate and meets internationally accepted standards and is, if possible, purchased in Cambodia;
2.7. Seek to ensure that all development and relief assistance provided by them is guided and informed by intentionally recognized and professional standards; and
2.8. Are non-partisan in any advocacy, public policy and lobbying activities with which they are involved.
3.   Partnership and cooperation between NGOs and people’s association:
3.1. Partnership between NGOs will be on the basis of equality and mutual respect;

International NGOs recognize that a long term commitment to Cambodia is necessary and aim, were possible, to rely on and develop Cambodian expertise and staff and to operate in partnership with Cambodian institutions (both governmental and non-governmental);

3.3. NGOs will share relevant project information with each other, will refrain from competing with each other, and will cooperate at the field level to avoid duplication and disruption of each other’s projects;
3.4. Funding partners will recognize and respect the independence and autonomy of recipient organizations and clarify and share their own development priorities with their partners;
3.5. All organization will ensure that their relations with funding agencies are honest and above-board.

Under no circumstances will activities such as double funding for one plan, diverting resources to non-project related activities, overstatement of achievements or capabilities or distortion of facts be carried out or condoned by NGOs or people’s associations.

4.   In their relations with the Royal Government. NGOs and people’s associations shall:
4.1. Strive to work in cooperation with the Cambodian people and government to rebuild the country and to improve the quality of life of the people;
4.2. Strive to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and openness based on the perspective that NGOs and people’s associations are important components of any democratic society
4.3.  Coordinate with the different branches of governments as is necessary in order to promote the interests of the communities they serve.
5.   Within their own organizations. NGOs and people’s associations shall:
5.1. Be governed fairly, impartially, and responsibly by an independent Board of Directors and its duly constituted Executive Committee;
5.2. Have non-violence as a foundation for all problem solving and conflict resolution;
5.3. Prohibit direct and indirect conflicts of interest by member of the Board, employees, or volunteers;
5.4. Conduct their affairs with integrity and truthfulness. Their activities shall be open and accessible to scrutiny by their donor, except for personnel matters and proprietary information;

Oppose and take no part in any wrongdoing, corruption, bribery, other financial impropriety, or illegal acts;

5.6. Recognize that all of their activities impact on the public perception of the community of NGOs and people’s associations, and that they share a significant responsibility to enhance the public trust;
5.7. Provide avenues for individual growth and development of staff, particularly for Cambodian staff
5.8. Provide just compensation and promote the rights and welfare of all employees;
5.9. Ensure the accountability of managers and leaders to their staff and members; and
5.10. Strive to promote participatory and democratic management practices.
I hereby sign this Code of Ethics as a statement of my principles and intentions in my own personal work with NGOs and people ‘s organizations:
Date: __________________________
Signature: __________________________
Name: __________________________
I hereby sign this Code of Ethics as a statement of my principles and intentions in my own personal work with NGOs and people’s organizations:
Date:  __________________________
Signature: __________________________
Name: __________________________
Title:  __________________________
Organization: __________________________
Acronym:  __________________________

(This Code of Ethics was presented at the 1997 NGO Fair 24-25 January 1997. It was first prepared by the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) and then finalized by Federation of Ponleu Khmer (FPK). It was signed by more than 150 staff and representatives of NGOs at the NGO Fair in January 1997.)

GRAPH 1: Summary of NGOs Contributions (US$ millions)

Sources: NGO Statement to the CG Meeting on Cambodia 1997-2002, Non-Governmental
Organizations in Cambodia 1998 by CDC; 1998-2000 Development Cooperation Report
for Cambodia by CDC; 1999 Cambodian NGO Resource Directories by Ponlok;
CCC Directories 2000-2002 (Note: 2002 figures are projected estimated budget figures only)

NGO figures inclusive of bilateral, multi-lateral and core/own resources)

GRAPH 2: Number of NGOs in Cambodia

Sources: CCC International Humanitarian/Development Assistance and Cambodian NGO Directories
(1992-2002); Non-Governmental NGOs in Cambodia by CDC (1998-2000)
GRAPH 3: NGO Projects in Cambodia by Sector

Sources: CCC International Humanitarian/Development Assistance and Cambodian NGO Directories
(1999-2001; 2001-2002)



| Content| Back | Top | Next |

Home | 6th CG Meeting| Agenda | Contents| List of Participants | Position Paper | DCR | Partnership | Government | Donors | Download | Map | Photo