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Groups Want Donor Money Well Spent

Donors meet with Cambodian government officials in Phnom Penh.
Donors meet with Cambodian government officials in Phnom Penh.

With $1.1 billion in funding pledged by donors last week, the leader of Cambodia’s minority opposition party and the head of a leading non-government agency say the money should be watched closely to ensure it helps the country’s poor.

Ahead of a two-day meeting last week, members of the development community put forward their own proposals for spending the money, including increased reform of the judiciary, the proper implementation of current laws and protection of the indigenous.

Sin Somuny, executive director of Medicam, which provides healthcare assistance to the country, told “Hello VOA” on Monday that in order to meet such goals, “the right to access to information for local communities is needed.”

Asked whether the aid money will help reduce poverty—a key goal of the government—Sin Somuny said it would depend on the effective use of the money for development.

Last week’s cumulative aid pledge represented yet another increase in money, but Kem Sokha, president of the Human Rights Party, told “Hello VOA” there has been little change in the country’s development.

Human resources, health and agriculture are all major sectors that need attention, he said, so that the impoverished can benefit from the aid money.

“The development made by the government has yet to satisfy people,” Kem Sokha said. “Compared with a few years ago, it is a bit better, but many problems remain.”