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From NGO-led to Government-led: Civic Champions Leadership Development Program in Cambodia

In February (that vaguely mystical time before COVID-19), the latest iteration of the Civic Champions training program kicked off. After multiple iterations since 2013, this one will be the last one supported by WaterSHED.

Why? Because this year’s program is the first to be led by a coordinated government effort. Read more about our national partnership work.

Per the cascade-training model, Civic Champions begins with the Master Training of Trainers (MToT). Previously, WaterSHED’s field staff would be trained as master trainers, who would then go on to train government trainers. In this iteration, WaterSHED conducted the MToT for a selected group of Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Rural Development officials so they could serve as the master trainers.

At each stage of the Civic Champions cascade training, future trainers are led through the same curriculum that commune-level officials experience as the end trainees of the program. This time, MOI and MRD revised and co-created training materials for the next stage of the cascade training model, a Provincial Training of Trainers (PToT). 

Following the MToT in February, the master trainers from MOI and MRD met periodically over the next two months to edit and finalize the curriculum. Until the end of 2020, this government team is conducting a series of three training sessions for provincial trainers across the country, who in turn go on to train commune councilors (the ‘Civic Champions’). WaterSHED is supporting this process with advice and prompting of next steps when needed. 

Both the Ministries of Interior and Rural Development have the responsibility to work together towards Cambodia’s National Action Plan to achieve universal sanitation by 2025. However, the MToT was the first time many officials had met in person. Even for others who have worked together in the same department for years, participants expressed that they felt much closer to their colleagues. 

Ensuring the legacy of one of the most significant components of the system-strengthening efforts that resulted in WaterSHED’s highly efficient sanitation market building success will be critical to its sustainability. Our vision, that is shared by government, is for Civic Champions to be implemented nationwide under the patronage of the Ministry of Interior and integrated with the curriculum of the National Department of Training for elected officials. The Civic teams (WaterSHED and national government) are pushing this vision forward together. Stay tuned.