In Cambodia, similar to many developing countries with considerable service delivery challenges and weak regulatory environments, the first choice for health care is often a private medical provider. But despite the overwhelming popularity of such facilities – in Cambodia, more than 76 percent of health care visits in 2005-2006 were to private providers according to the most recent Demographic and Health Survey -- research and interventions mainly have focused on public sector health services.
There was a good reason for the recent Global Symposium on Building national ICT/education agencies to have taken place in Seoul. South Korea has demonstrated that making a single specialized agency responsible for integrating ICTs in the education sector to implement the ambitious goals of government can bring high rate of return. Since its inception in 1999, KERIS (the Korean Education Research & Information Service) has made a significant contribution into helping build a knowledge and information-based society in Korea, helping to enhance the nation's education system and research competitiveness through its work at the secondary and primary education levels. Increasingly looking to share lessons from its experience with other, KERIS has established many partnerships in other East Asia and Pacific countries, and is developing partnerships with countries in other regions as well. Numerous countries invited to the Seoul Global Symposium were explicitly interested in how they 'might set up their own KERIS', and saw the forum as an opportunity to learn firsthand from the Korean experience. For four days, over 120 representatives from 32 countries discussed a variety of issues related to organizational structures, staffing, funding schemes, institutional evolution, and other challenges along the way when building and developing ICT in education agencies.
The Wildlife Friendly Ibis Rice program has begun purchasing a new crop of rice for the coming year. The first 7 tons of paddy (out of a total of about 120 tons for 2011) was procured last week. Participating farmers were paid a premium of 100 riel per kilogram above middleman prices for their rice.
Paying small farmers more, protecting fragile habitat and safeguarding spectacular wildlife, now there’s a win-win!
Encroaching agricultural land is a perennial challenge for the protection of national parks around the world. In Cambodia, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) developed an innovative approach to conservation by promoting wildlife friendly farming techniques. The project area is home to important habitat for birds and mammals, including Giant Ibis, White-shouldered Ibis, Bengal Florican, and three Critically Endangered vulture species, Asian Elephants, Tigers and wild cattle.
It is part of World Bank tradition that, just before retiring, a staff member sends a short email to his/her colleagues to express how much they have enjoyed the challenges of working here, the partnerships they have had in their focus countries, and - most of all - the camaraderie of their committed, dedicated, hard-working co-workers. All this could be perceived as trite, but the feelings are absolutely genuine – as I am now finding.
To a tourist visiting Cambodia, or to a French consumer living in Cambodia (whose food habits require a complement of pasta and potatoes), rice will mainly mean the stunning landscapes of rice fields, yellow at harvest time, bright and liquid during the rainy season, with shades of green meanwhile.
Development Marketplace 2008 winner International Development Enterprises Cambodia is the recipient of the first Nestlé “Creating Shared Value” prize worth $475,000. The award will support IDE Cambodia to scale its micro-franchise agricultural program that has substantially raised the income of participating Cambodian farmers (photo at left).
IDE Cambodia received the prize -- for which 549 applicants from 79 countries competed -- at a ceremony Friday, May 28, in London.
The award will permit IDE Cambodia to extend its Farm Business Advisors (FBA) program -- initially funded with a $200,000 grant from Development Marketplace -- by recruiting and training an additional 36 advisors, generating approximately US $1.9 million in new income to impact 20,000 people in over 4,000 rural households around Cambodia. This represents an increase in income by upwards of 27 percent.
Not even the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull could keep the Netherlands’ Prince of Orange, the chair of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, and the World Bank’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from participating in a Davos-style panel discussion of solutions for the 2.6 billion people who still lack access to sanitation.
The BBC’s Katty Kay moderated today’s official Spring Meetings event, which also included South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Patience Sonjica; Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health Gloria Steele; Ek Sonn Chan from Cambodia’s General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority; and IFC’s Executive VP Lars Thunell.
I haven’t seen the Bank’s J building mini-amphitheater filled with that much energy since, well, ever. The standing room-only event started with a delighted Ngozi acknowledging the crowd for bringing the issue of water and sanitation to such a high level on the occasion of the Spring Meetings.
The good news for DM2003 winner Digital Divide Data keeps on coming.
DDD, which trains the disabled, orphans, migrants, and vulnerable women in Cambodia and Laos to become digital operators for overseas clients, has received a US$50,000 grant from the Boeing Co. to advance its socially attuned IT job training and placement in Southeast Asia.
In its most recent quarterly statement, non-profit DDD, whose 650 employees and trainees make it the largest technology company in Cambodia and Laos, reported:
"...we increased earned revenues from clients to US$2.2 million for the year ending June 30, 2009. This was up 50% from the previous year of US$1.5 million.
"For the fourth straight year DDD covered its business costs through earned revenue. We then used generous support from our donors to support our social mission related expenses, particularly the recruiting and training of disadvantaged young people and educational benefits."
Digital Divide Data was founded in 2001 by Jeremy Hockenstein, then a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. Struck by the "mix of poverty and progress" in Cambodia on a trip to Angkor Wat, Hockenstein saw "the opportunity to make a difference." He put together a team of friends from his college days (he graduated from Harvard), and they started an IT training program -- modeled after outsourcing operations in India -- whos graduates would do digital work for foreign institutions and companies. Their first contract was digitizing the Harvard Crimson at Hockenstein's alma mater. The details of DDD's outsourcing work for academic institutions, libraries, and other clients are here.
When I was asked to look back at Cambodia's economy in 2009 and ahead to 2010, I began to wish I had some magic tools such as this ox (although in that case, the ox was not that magical, since the 2009 harvest turned out to be quite good).