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DAC Secretary-General Urges Donors to Provide Technicians to Assist Organizations Led By PWDs

PHNOM PENH: Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) and Secretary-General of the Disability Action Council (DAC), Em Chan Makara, has urged donors to provide technicians to a number of organizations led by persons with disabilities to help build capacity in writing reports in order to receive grants.

Speaking at the Meeting with the Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor of the the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation on Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) at the Ministry of Social Affairs on Tuesday morning, 23 August, Secretary of State Em Chan Makara raised concerns about the ACCESS Grant being spent more on administrative work than on providing assistance to persons with disability. Some disability organizations with limited reporting capacity have also not been able to receive grants.

"For example, an organization can have 500 people, but we still evaluate that the organization does not have a clear structure, that there is no clear management, and then we do not give them a grant,” he said. “I ask why ACCESS refuses to send technicians to help them? For example, Mr. Chapto's Band for the Disabled has a lack of general administrative management, so ACCESS has to send technicians to help with the management and finance reports to make the organization more stable, and we will see the grant is being directly donated to the disability sector, because [the organization] is led by persons with disabilities.”

The MoSVY Secretary of State stated that while the process of distributing aid generally involves DAC, what he has noted is that the final decision to give grants to certain organizations has not taken into account DAC’s recommendations.

"It seems that ACCESS provides grants to those who can write (reports), so those who cannot write still cannot receive," he said.

He suggested that the new ACCESS project should consider disability organizations that do not yet have a strong ability in report writing.

ACCESS Program Monitoring and Evaluation Team Chairperson, Mai Urbano, listened to the Secretary of State’s proposal and expressed his high appreciation for the work of the Ministry of Social Affairs, as well as DAC, which has driven the program to success so far.

Secretary of State Em Chan Makara stated that if the ACCESSS program can help organizations led by persons with disabilities, it can contribute to greater knowledge of job management, and the grant received would go directly to persons with disabilities in need.

"It means we do not want ACCESS to bring them fish, we want ACCESS partners to teach them how to fish so they can be sustainable," he said.

ACCESS is a five-year initiative (2018-2023) that has financial support from the Australian Government, provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). In the last three years, Australia has pledged AUS $15 through ACCESS to improve quality, sustainability, and integrate services for persons with disabilities and for women affected by gender-based violence (GBV).

The Australian Government is currently planning to add another AUS $10 million through ACCESS for the remaining two years of the five-year program (2018-2023) to reflect the Royal Government’s Covid-19 response and recovery efforts, including its priorities on social protection.

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