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Sixth Science Talk on the Drought Situation in Cambodia

CamboJA, in collaboration with the Open Development Cambodia Organization (ODC), organized the 6th Science Talk on the Drought Situation in Cambodia on 30 January 2024. The event was attended by 35 participants (19 women), including representatives of civil society organizations, university students, and journalists. Thank Mr. Hour Ix, Reginal Drought Management Expert of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), for sharing his experience, knowledge, and expertise on this topic. This activity is funded by USAID through FHI360, under the Civil Society Support (CSS) project, and co-implemented by CamboJA and the Open Development Cambodia Organization (ODC).

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Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) partner meeting with the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment

On 20 October 2023, the ODC team traveled to Utrecht City, the Netherlands, to engage in a crucial meeting with Dr. Arend Kolhoff, Technical Secretary of International Cooperation at the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment. ODC has been collaborating closely with the commission on providing inputs to the draft general guidelines for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and SEA for sand mining along the Mekong and Bassac Rivers in Cambodia. The primary objective of this meeting was to critically update the progress and challenges that have emerged within the area of SEA in recent times. The discussion focused on the ongoing work regarding SEA within the Cambodian context. The National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) of the Ministry of Environment of the Kingdom of Cambodia established the National Training Team on Strategic Environmental Assessment (NTTSEA) on 20 December 2022. The team is responsible for arranging and preparing training materials, disseminating SEA knowledge at national and sub-national levels, and raising awareness through a range of meetings, training sessions, and workshops. In addition to their educational activities, NTTSEA has mobilized resources and forged partnerships with NGOs and other stakeholders, in a determined effort to foster a comprehensive training program on SEA. Stay tuned for more updates on this journey towards sustainable development!

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ODC launches a new knowledge-sharing portal called “Learning Platform”

On 04 April 2023, ODC organized an official launch of the online Learning Platform at the Poulo Wai Hotel & Apartment, Phnom Penh, with the participation of 43 people (18 females) from 23 local, national, and international organizations, including cluster member organizations and non-members. Those organizations are NEP, CHRAC, TI, UNDP, BS, CIPL, CIPO, CIYA, Epic Art, WCV, IRAM, 3SPN, HA, FLO, CEDT, ODC, FHI, USAID, KAWSANG, SVC, ADHOC, LAC, and CENTRAL. Twelve of them are from Rattankiri, Kratie, Battambang, Siem Reap, and Kampot. The Learning Platform was developed by Open Development Cambodia (ODC), under financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)​ in Cambodia through FHI 360 in partnership with the International Center Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) for the Civil Society Support (CSS) Project. The Learning Platform aims to be a free one-stop-shop knowledge-sharing portal, aggregating best practices and lessons learned by the cluster members of the Civil Society Support (CSS) project. The portal will disseminate data and information for the wider CSO community and other interested stakeholders through its interactive and user-friendly content, available in both Khmer and English, made publicly accessible and free of charge. The contents of the Learning Platform are classified based on the theme, including education, digital social innovation, environmental and NRM, gender and social inclusion, Indigenous Peoples, journalism, civil society, legal resources, and training materials, which the cluster members implement. The platform is now publicly accessible to cluster members and the public. The user can access the platform through the web address (https://learn.opendevelopmentcambodia.net/) or go directly to the Open Development Cambodia website and find the platform on the Menu bar as a sub-page. The launch event is a significant milestone in the development of the Learning Platform. Through this workshop, we aim to officially introduce the platform and gather feedback from all key stakeholders to improve its look, functionality, and user experience. We also call for increased collaboration on data and resource sharing to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform. Most of the participants expressed their positive thoughts about the Learning Platform. They said it is an innovative platform that they have been looking for and where they can promote their project and organization’s impact to a broader audience and donors. They also learn from other organizations’ success and experiences in project implementation. At the same time, there were questions from participants regarding content management and the data contribution protocol. In conclusion, the official launch workshop of the Online Learning Platform received positive attention from cluster member organizations as well as non-CSS project partners. Through interactive discussion and constructive feedback, we get several consideration inputs for our team for the next action.

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Indigenous peoples sectoral advisory meeting

On 08 February 2023, ODC organized the “Indigenous Peoples Sectoral Advisory Meeting” with the partners, including Conserve Indigenous Peoples Languages Organization, MyVillage Cambodia - MVi អង្គការ ភូមិខ្ញុំ, Forests and Livelihood Organization FLO, Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association-CIYA, and FHI 360 to identify the challenges, activities, roles of the group, and call for new members. The project is funded by USAID Cambodia through FHI 360 under Cluster Anchor Grant from the Civil Society Support (CSS) Project.

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Data visualization and storytelling training

Open Development Cambodia (ODC) hosted a training on \"Data visualization and storytelling\" on December 20-21 and 26, 2022, with 24 participants, including journalists, citizen journalists, indigenous youth journalists, journalism students, and CSOs. People with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ are encouraged to join. This training was divided into two parts. The first stage was a two-day online training that included lessons and exercises. The second phase was a one-day physical training session focused on recapping the entire training and exercises. This training was funded by USAID Cambodia through FHI 360 as part of the Civil Society Support (CSS) Project\'s Cluster Anchor Grant. Day 01: Understanding data Before the session began, an ODC representative made a welcoming remark about the project and an introduction to help the attendees get to know one another. Following that, the participant spent time preparing for the pre-test, which was used to assess their capacity before the program began. Mr. Vong Pisith, the trainer, began the lesson on understanding data to provide insight into the importance of data, the different types of data and information, and the transparency of open data. After everyone understood the data well, the trainers demonstrated how to find it using the data portal and Google advanced search. The participants were then given an exercise by finding their needs data in PDF format and other natural resource data on the ODC portal. The trainer, Mr. BAN Chanphalla, then moved on to the next lesson on data standardization, which instructed the participants about data standards and how to format their data before diving into data visualization. The participants were introduced to the function of creating a new spreadsheet, adding sheets, making a copy, columns, and rows, inserting charts, filtering, and pivoting tables on google sheets, as well as importing comma-separated values (CSV) files into the spreadsheet and Microsoft Excel. The trainers also illustrated the data clean as a significant part of the data analysis. This lesson explained why we need to clean data and introduced them to a method for cleaning data to make it legible by introducing techniques such as trimming whitespace, removing duplicates, formatting text, splitting columns, data validation, and finding and replacing. Day 02: Data visualization On the second training day, the trainers took a few minutes to review the previous day\'s lesson before continuing with Mr. Sam An Mardy\'s agenda on data visualization principles. The trainer will introduce what motivated us to create the visualization, what exactly the data visualization is, how to tell a data-driven story, how to choose the right graph and chart type, and how to display it correctly. Mr. Vong Pisith then showed the participants a demonstration and examples of the Flourish. The participants then continue working on the group exercise to create the chart and graph with Flourish. Everyone took the post-test at the end of the second day and looked forward to the physical training on the third day. Day 03: Individual practice  The agenda for the last day of training covered lesson reminiscence. Everyone attended the physical training and continued the lesson on data visualization with Flourish. The participants started learning how to make a map chart out of geographical data and how to incorporate those visualizations into the story. Then the participants were given the opportunity to practice it independently and complete the individual assignment by creating storytelling using data visualization. Finally, the trainees were asked to evaluate before closing remarks and provide the training certificates.

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The second cluster convention

The second cluster convention was held on 19 December 2022, at the FHI 360 Office in Phnom Penh, with 25 participants (06 females). The convention brought together the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), the Ministry of Interior (MoI), civil society organizations (CSOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), media groups, and representatives of indigenous people from Preah Vihear, Ratanakiri, and Mondulkiri provinces. Open Development Cambodia (ODC) hosted the convention, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Family Health International (FHI 360) under Cluster Anchor Grant from the Civil Society Support (CSS) Project. ODC is the anchor and collaborates with three cluster members: CamboJA, the Conserve Indigenous Peoples Language Organization (CIPL), and Young Eco Ambassadors (YEA). The project aims to make natural resource management (NRM) more sustainable, inclusive, and participatory by incorporating Indigenous Peoples’ needs and concerns. ODC hosted an initial cluster convention on 13 September 2022 to involve all the cluster members and networks to build the networks, learn from each other, map the significant strategy, and step on further activity on the natural resource management (NRM) advocacy in Cambodia. In this convention, we will update the progress of the indigenous communal land titling in Cambodia, which is a curious and significant topic for today’s talk. The convention aims to: Create a friendly environment for networks to learn and share Keep current updates on the indigenous communal land titling in Cambodia Encourage cluster members and stakeholders to work together. The representative of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI) shared the current update on the indigenous communal land titling. Currently, 152 indigenous communities have registered as legal entities with the MoI, while 94 communities have requested communal land titles from the MLMUPC. Due to various challenges and encounters, 26 of these communities were suspended. Some people may be interested in obtaining private land ownership to sell or in obtaining a micro-finance loan. In some cases, the requested land overlaps with natural protected areas and forest cover 2002 established by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). Currently, 38 indigenous communities in four provinces have received communal land titles totaling 39,342 hectares: Stung Treng (02 communities), Kratie (04 communities), Mondulkiri (07 communities), and Ratanakiri (25 communities). Two more communities are expected to receive communal land titles by January 2023. The convention also discussed the challenges of land titling. The participants had the chance to question ministries and ask for advice to solve their problems. The process of the land tiling is complicated and time-consuming. The land title sometimes cannot be issued and is suspended due to several challenges. Due to the limitations of the indigenous people\'s knowledge of the Khmer language, legislation, and registration procedures, they always find it difficult to obtain land titles without support from the CSOs and CBOs. In some cases, indigenous peoples are unaware of the benefits of communal land titles. Some community members may see the personal benefits as superior to the sharing and wish to withdraw from the community. It meant that they would like to have their private land title. The local authorities sometimes do not reluctant with the indigenous communities regarding the land titling procedures even though the ministries are trying to speed up the land registration. In many cases, the community refuses to accept the land that the government is willing to provide. After the participatory discussion, the indigenous community is encouraged to document the issues or problems with communal land titling and report them to the working group. ODC will continue to host the quarterly cluster convention with the cluster member and networks to share lessons learned, information, and prioritized issues on natural resource management, environment, forestry, land, indigenous peoples, the strategic environmental assessment (SEA), and environmental impact assessment (EIA).