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8. Lessons in capacity building in ICNRMA in Cambodia

Maria Celeste H. Cadiz, Nora C. Quebral,
Ma. Theresa H. Velasco, and Mario Acunzo

This chapter is a reflection on the principles and the directions presented in this sourcebook and their applications within the FAO project on Information and Communication in Natural Resource Management in Agriculture (ICNRMA) implemented in Cambodia, with the technical assistance of the University of the Philippines Los Baños Foundation through the College of Development Communication.

It presents the important assumptions in carrying out the various components of the project, and notes the lessons learned along the way.

In this way, it draws conclusions from the experience and provides guiding principles and examples for other projects that intend to apply information and communication for sustainable NRM in agriculture.


Changing knowledge, attitudes and practices for better NRM. In many cases, farmers, forest users, fisherfolk and other users of natural resources know that they should protect and conserve soil, water, forests and other resources, but they do not always act on that knowledge.

Many factors, such as their extreme poverty and limited awareness of other options, influence why they do or do not carry out the actions and practices necessary to protect natural resources upon which their very existence depends.

Sustainable NRM in agriculture depends upon three interrelated factors:

The needs, values and constraints faced by the various natural resource users and other stakeholders form the foundation upon which effective intervention strategies can be formulated. In the past, a major problem has been that NRM programs have often been designed without involving the individuals, community groups and organizations they will affect.

A communication for development approach to NRM. A communication for development approach to NRM in agriculture involves the systematic design and use of participatory activities, communication methods and media to share information, knowledge and skills among all stakeholders in a particular agro-ecological context in order to ensure attitudes and actions that result in sustainable use of natural resources.

The approach can be divided into the following distinct phases:

1. Situation/problem assessment;

2. Participatory rural communication appraisal;

3. Participatory communication strategy and message design;

4. Communication methods and materials development;

5. Implementation and monitoring of strategic, targeted communication interventions; and

6. Evaluation of outcomes/impacts in terms of changes in attitudes, knowledge levels and practices.

Field experiences demonstrate that audience-participatory communication methods can be used to design strategic interventions to change attitudes, behaviors and practices that have negative environmental impacts and conversely to reinforce those that have positive environmental impacts.

For example, one experience relevant to the context of Cambodia is the Development Support Communication for Selected Agricultural Technology Transfer Project[1] implemented by the FAO and national partners in the Philippines in the mid-1990s.

Objectives of the project included improving the ability of provincial communication offices to plan, produce, monitor and evaluate communication materials and strategies in support of government extension and NGO field activities.

Outcomes of the project in the Philippines included increased awareness and improved adoption of appropriate fertilizer application for rice, IPM to control pest infestations, rapid composting techniques, and fishpond management.

This successful application of a strategic communication methodology in NRM in agriculture suggested that the model could be adapted in Cambodia to protect natural resources and to strengthen local and the national capacities to effectively carry out the required communication activities.

The FAO participatory communication research methodology (e.g., PRCA) has been used to involve rural people in the identification of the essential elements for the design of effective communication strategies and programs for development in various countries and with a wide range of subject matters such as watershed management, animal health, and nutrition.

The approach is built on a definition of communication that views it as an interactive process characterized by the exchange of ideas, information, points of view, and experiences between persons and groups.

As a participatory process, it provides the means to identify essential elements required for the development of effective strategies and interventions for NRM.

These elements include:

The above information are essential in order to conduct problem analyses, to prioritize issues, and to develop strategies, plans for action and targeted interventions.

These interventions may include the use of a range of communication media and methods for education and awareness, training in specific resource management content (e.g. community fisheries, community forestry, or IPM), introduction of appropriate technologies, and contribution to policy formulation and implementation.


The idea for a technical cooperation project started way back in 2000 at the Extension, Education, and Communication Service of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome in response to a request by the Government of Cambodia.

Project focus draws from the long experience of the FAO's Communication for Development Group and was anchored on its participatory communication approaches.

ICNRMA in Cambodia rationale and objectives. The project was then conceived to address a critical gap in terms of institutional capability in Cambodia to implement information and communication interventions targeted at specific users of natural resources who, for various reasons, are causing resource degradation problems that affect agricultural productivity, livelihood sustainability, and food security.

In Cambodia, there was a recognized need to establish a strengthened capacity in both the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to address urgent natural resource degradation problems related to agriculture through strategic interventions.

Current efforts were separate and sporadic and did not address the specific negative actions of key natural resource users, limiting their impact on the state of natural resources in Cambodia.

The overall objective of the project was to improve natural resource management in agriculture in Cambodia through deliberate information/communication interventions designed to change negative attitudes and behaviours, while strengthening national capacity in ICNRMA.

Project inception and organization. Eventual implementation of the TCP started in March 2003 with a mission of an FAO communication for development officer to the Philippines and Cambodia.

These served to firm up institutional arrangements and clarify the aims and strategies of the project with the partner implementors in these two countries, including the senior information and communication (IC) consultant, the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Development Communication, and Cambodia's Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) and of Environment (MoE).

Subsequently in May and June the same year, the key players in the TCP in Cambodia firmed up organizing themselves into a project coordinating unit (PCU) and communication team (CT) made up of directors and personnel of the MAFF Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and MoE Department of Environmental Education and Communication (DEEC).

The PCU had three members made up of the two ministry department directors and media office chief of DAE, while the CT had 15 members made up of seven to eight extension and communication personnel from each ministry.

Half of the CT came from the provincial offices in Kompong Chnnang and district offices of Boribo district.

Training needs assessment. In needs assessment at this early stage, the project partners pointed out their need for strengthening in the following five areas:

1. Media skills - Computer graphics, scriptwriting, how to use a camera, and pictorial layouting were the more specific skills mentioned primarily among central office, personnel. Provincial staff also cited computerized video editing

2. Interpersonal communication skills - included field interviewing and extension methods cited by both central and provincial office staff.

3. Agriculture and environment subject matter and approaches - primarily cited by provincial staff, participants cited impact of using pesticides, how to organize community forestries and fisheries, and environmental education as their interests

4. Project development and management - included project proposal writing, project management

5. English language - cited by both central and provincial office staff.

MAFF needs at the central level focused on skills related to the communication media. At the local level, they tended to be more generalized and diverse, ranging from agricultural subject matter to media skills and interpersonal communication skills.

On the other hand, MoE needs at the central and local levels were a bit more skewed to subject matter - in this case, environmentalism - but also included generalized communication skills.

In terms of frequency of mention, a perceived need for training in English predominated. The interviewees explained that instruction manuals for equipment are in English, as are the documents they needed to research on.

Knowledge of the language was also said to be very useful and made for easier communication.

Considering that the project was on IC, it faced the challenge of the need to respond to a communication lack that isolated the average Cambodian, including IC personnel, from new information that opens the door to the outside world.

Specific objectives and project strategy. Focused on capacity building in ICNRMA, the project specifically aimed to:

1. Train MoE, MAFF, and other government and non-government personnel in the systematic design and use of communication strategies, methods, and materials to achieve specified objectives;

2. Coordinate MAFF and MoE efforts to address problems in sustainable NRM in agriculture through integrated IC interventions;

3. Train NRMA users in two pilot sites in alternative agricultural practices and technologies;

4. Upgrade MoE and MAFF capability to produce multimedia communication materials; and

5. Develop a strategy for MAFF and MoE to provide communication and training services on a cost-recovery basis.

It adopted the following operational strategies:

1. Making as basis of all trainings the development communication planning process - As a capacity-building program, the TCP provided training to the MAFF and MoE extensionists and communication personnel on the contents of this sourcebook, as follows:

a. Strategic communication planning and management
b. Participatory rural communication appraisal (PRCA)
c. Participatory NRM training
d. KAP baseline survey
e. Message and materials development
f. Digital communication equipment and software
g. Cost recovery schemes in communication for NRM in agriculture

2. Adopting the experiential or learning-by-doing approach to teaching, where the AFF and MoE training participants:

a. Prepared communication plans for two villages in Kompong Chhnang based on participatory rural communication appraisal;

b. Finalized an IC implementation plan;

c. Conducted a survey on NRM users' knowledge, attitudes, and practices;

d. Designed field NRM training plan; and

e. Designed and pretested messages and materials on NRM in agriculture;

3. Compiling an integrated package of

a) fisheries and environmental technologies and
b) farming and environmental technologies for the pilot villages;

4. Introducing or repeating information given to villagers face-to-face through appropriate low- or middle- level communication technology like skits, role-playing or a microphone hooked to a public address system (implementation of communication plans);

5. Combining livelihood and sustainable NRM information and not primarily focusing on the illegality of harmful fishing practices but explaining the reasons for their being declared illegal - that in the long run they will diminish food supply and reduce income; and

6. For sustainability of project initiatives,

a) mainstreaming IC into the activities of major NRM and food security programmes such as the ADB-funded Tonle Sap Environmental Programme and FAO's Special Programme for Food Security;

b) developing a proposal for a national programme on IC for NRM and rural development; and

c) connecting up with a degree program in Cambodia that can train students in communication for development, and a regional institution like the SEAMEO Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), which looks for and manages university scholarships and fellowships for the region.


As a capability building initiative on ICNRMA in Cambodia, a few lessons stand out from the Technical Cooperation Project, as follows:

As a cross-cultural exercise. With the resource persons coming from another Southeast

Asian country and the FAO communication for development officer coming from FAO Headquarters with experience mainly in Latin American and Near Eastern contexts, the capacity building project was a cross cultural exercise. As in any group learning context, making the right connections with the participants based on an understanding of their culture was paramount.

Similarities between the two Southeast Asian cultures pleasantly surfaced in the course of the interactions between resource persons and training participants - the Buddhist graciousness, pleasantness, and politeness; as well as the Southeast Asian person-centered humor, which paved the way for a receptive learning climate.

Transcending the language barrier. A language barrier due to the participants' limited

English fluency existed, but attempts by the resource persons to cross this barrier by learning a few Khmer words facilitated interpersonal communication. In the latter phases of the project, participants also began to show interest in learning Filipino words, while some took greater boldness to express themselves in English.

Throughout the technical cooperation project, the Khmers tended to be timid in speaking in English even if they apparently understood English explanations. Thus the success of the sessions was highly dependent upon designated translators.

The presence of translators may have also limited the participants from venturing into actually using the English language (as well as the resource persons learning Khmer) because of this dependence on them.

One solution to addressing the limited English proficiency of the Khmer participants was to have prepared handouts of the presentations translated into Khmer. Participants may read the handout of the powerpoint presentations while the session would progress, with the resource person and translator taking turns to explain the lessons.

However, this required extra preparatory effort on the part of the resource persons and translators. This extra effort was overly taxing if not impossible at times.

The experience nevertheless reinforced the importance of having command of an international language on the part of the Khmers, as aspired by the participants shown in the training needs analysis.

Having a functional literacy in English could definitely open doors for them, not only in terms of rising above the others from within their ranks but also, for their continuing professional development.

Heterogeneity of learners. The participants comprising the Khmer Communication Team (CT) were quite heterogeneous in terms of educational attainment, nature of their jobs, and work experience. A little more than one-third of the participants (6 or 35%) reached high school as their highest educational attainment; the same number finished a two-year diploma in agriculture; and five or 30 per cent had obtained a college degree. In terms of work experience, the majority (65%) had been working in the field of extension and community development but they had little or no formal training in communication.

The rest (35%) were involved directly in communication, media, and materials development. Participants from the provinces understandably had more in-depth field experience than participants from the central offices of both MAFF and MOE.

As such, it was difficult for the resource persons to situate the level of discussion, with participants coming in from different backgrounds and perspectives on their respective jobs. The very concepts in communication and the social sciences were alien to many of the participants.

This reality points out the importance of carefully designing the training in a way that would appropriately cater to the diverse needs of a heterogeneous group of participants.

Further, interactive approaches maximized learning from each other as rich sources of lessons from the diverse experiences brought by the participants themselves. However, such interaction demanded much from the translators in the resource persons' desire to keep tabs with ongoing discussions.

It was likewise important that facilitators set the tone of the training from the very beginning - on the importance of listening to one another and respecting fellow learners. Participants needed to be reminded of this from time to time, however.

Human resources development for whom? The project offered professional development for the extension and communication staff at the central and provincial levels of two key line agencies - in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries and in environment.

However, whatever capacity building was offered towards enhancing their roles in the development of the country was relegated to the staff.

Greater participation by and availability of their supervisors and designated leaders of the ICNRMA project would have signaled greater commitment of the bureaucracy to the capacity building project. This would have likewise paved the way for institutionalizing the development communication principles and approaches imparted in the project.

This implies that a greater amount of coordination and iteration of dialogues with the bureaucracy at project inception should have brought to the surface the assumptions and interpretations of all parties before the roles, mandates, and activities of the project should have been discussed.

There was a need to emphasize that the project is more than a series of workshops but that the practicum should have resumed in between the international resource persons' missions. Amidst the many preoccupations of the local project supervisors, their initiative to demonstrate application of what was being learned, or facilitation that would have allowed the communication team to carry on with the practical ICNRMA work, would have ensured project sustainability.

This underscores the key role of leaders in the success and sustainability of development initiatives at any level of implementation. Perhaps, the capacity building work should have started with them and addressed leadership and empowerment issues first before providing the community-oriented strategic communication inputs.

Meanwhile, the more intensive training provided to four middle managers and specialists through a study tour in the Philippines was hoped to equip members of the team to lead the others as well as share with other sectors and NRMA players the development communication processes and techniques learned.

Importance of incentives. A reality in many development projects is that the project won't move with the efforts of supervisors and staff who are already saddled with many regular duties accompanying their designations in the bureaucracy unless the project brings additional compensation or benefits.

In Cambodia as in most developing countries, the salaries of government personnel are so low that they can become a disincentive against productivity. Provision of incentives for project counterparts should therefore not be seen as dysfunctional dole outs but as a form of assistance that facilitates project implementation while addressing a very real need of such incentives in the government bureaucracy.

Capacity building as development communication. The enter-educate and experiential learning approach of the project as a capacity building initiative for the members of the government bureaucracy was in itself a development communication application.

Development communication as covered in the project happens in a continuum across different levels: at the level of the development agencies among different development sectors or players within a sector (the NRMA sector); at the level of project management and the capacity building of project implementors; and at the level of communities as main actors of development (NRMA) at the grassroots. In these different levels of NRMA/ development work, communication and learning in various modes addressed its mandates for positive social change.

In these different levels, communication and learning must be systematic/strategic and participatory. As the project progressed, the international resource persons slowly gave the training participants increasing roles empowering them to take greater lead in teaching others the devcom principles and techniques learned.

Greater opportunities for their supervisors and their team to follow through with capacity building initiated in the project are thus hoped, through their involvement in NRMA projects. Hopefully, these projects will tap the potential and emerging leaders in the team. For instance, the involvement of selected CT members in a communication strategy workshop for Siem Reap participants, and later, for the Special Project for Food Security, was also part of equipping the communication team as ICNRMA facilitators. Such types of involvement in the future are seen as potential avenues for cost-recovery efforts.


Participatory NRMA is a communication process. Doing ICNRMA work takes the assumption that managing and taking proper care of the land, forest, water resources, and air where people get their food, shelter, and livelihood involves a lot of communication among different stakeholders. A person may, by him/herself, practice the right habits that help care for these natural resources. But alone, s/he will not achieve much if others who share in using the same natural resources have habits that destroy these natural resources or use them up in a way that is not sustainable. Because everybody shares natural resources, getting everybody to use and take care of them properly requires good and effective communication.

A good understanding of communication is important in having the right ICNRMA practices. How we understand communication shapes the way we practice IC for natural resource management in agriculture. ICNRMA values a balance of give-and-take in communication, where it is the people in the community who are the most important NRMA stakeholders. Also, ICNRMA is communication in a strategic way, using a systematic set of procedures based on what research has shown communication can do.

Participatory NRM is rights-based and is a collective action. The NRM experience in Cambodia underscores the centrality of people's rights and having a legal framework supporting these rights for their equal chances to have natural resource-based livelihoods. Part of exercising these rights to produce food and find shelter out of the natural resources is the people's responsibility to ensure that others can enjoy the same rights even up to the next generations. As a shared resource on which no one can claim sole ownership, caring for the land, forest, lakes, rivers, and air should be a community action. Collective or community action requires people empowered with better capacity to plan and manage their natural resources as well as their community affairs.

The importance of empowering the community to police judicious use of fishery resources in the Tonle Sap Lake is demonstrated in the FAO-supported Participatory NRM Project in Siem Reap. Having run for many years, the project advocated granting community fishers the authority to apprehend violators of existing community fishery laws toward conserving natural resources as a sustainable source of their livelihood.

Empowering the community also included equipping them and their government agency counterparts with knowhow on advocating compliance with community fishery laws and raising awareness on these laws and their rationales among various users of the lake resources.

Participatory appraisal skills are important in participatory communication in NRMA. Situation assessment or preliminary assessment undertaken with the NRMA users in the community is an important step that makes ICNRMA participatory. Participatory rural communication appraisal (PRCA) as an approach in situation assessment requires listening and facilitation skills. Meanwhile, conducting baseline surveys to determine people's awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and practices in NRMA requires understanding of research and skills in conducting it rigorously.

To understand the situation in two resource-poor villages in Bo Ri Bo District, Kompong Chhnang province, the communication team divided themselves into two sub-teams comprising seven individuals each, with more or less even distribution of central and provincial staff of both MAFF and MoE. One team made their PRCA in the floating village of Kra Chap while the other immersed themselves in the adjacent rice-producing village of Trapaeang Chan.

It was in these field exercises that the communication team learned to draw out and listen for the villagers' perspective, a new experience for the central office staff of the MAFF and MoE. The provincial staff showed the way in establishing rapport and positive relationship with the villagers, as well as asking the right questions to elicit what the villagers really knew and experienced.

The communication team experienced the arduous process of designing and pretesting an awareness-knowledge-attitude-practice (AKAP) survey instrument to determine the initial levels of awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and practices in NRMA in the two villages of Kra Chap and Trapaeang Chan. This experience underscored the extensive rigor required in carrying out an AKAP survey.

Where ensuring such rigor is not possible due to the limited training of researchers, simpler PRCA exercises may provide useful though not necessarily precise data more quickly than a baseline survey can, where finding out villagers' perceptions/views and facts about the community are concerned. Likewise, the data gathered in a baseline study lose their validity and reliability if it is undertaken sloppily.

The communication team found that the main issues in Kra Chap and Trapaeang Chan were declining fish yield and low rice production, respectively. Likewise, they observed and validated with the people their poor health attributed to the contaminated/polluted waters in the Tonle Sap River.

Declining fish yield was attributed primarily to the use of inappropriate fishing gears as allowed by law according to the season, plus to the degraded condition of the inundated forest. Low rice production was attributed to the use of low yielding varieties or varieties inappropriate to the ecosystem, pest and disease infestation, lack of productive farming knowhow, and lack of resources such as land, draft animals, and irrigation systems. Poor health due to the lack of safe drinking water was connected with inappropriate practices like use of pesticides, improper waste disposal, and use of fish traps made of branches.

Suggested solutions to these NRM problems included strict law enforcement and training on appropriate practices in agriculture and fishing. The establishment of fishery communities came up as a suggestion from both villages.

ICNRMA should be strategic and sustainable. Changing behavior in natural resource management in agriculture is not a simple matter; that is why communication to make this happen should be done in a strategic way. One important insight in strategic communication is that entertainment facilitates learning.

Another important consideration is how to make good works in NRMA and IC in these initiatives sustainable. This means that sustainability of initiatives should be consciously planned and prepared for. Cost recovery measures are one important mechanism for sustainability of communication initiatives as many programs need this component but do not have the expertise in participatory and strategic communication in development.

The initial draft of an integrated communication plan in NRMA for the two villages, as prepared by the communication team, was somewhat vague and ambitious, having too many objectives. Later, the plan was simplified with two main emphases, one for each village. These were rice swine production for Trapaeang Chan and fish cage culture for Kra Chap. The participants planned to conduct experiential learning systems in these two livelihood initiatives, which was to be reinforced with media materials.

In ICNRMA, messages and materials should first capture people's attention. Thus, efforts need to be exerted to make messages and materials in NRMA appealing. Normally, they should also be simple enough in order to bring a clear message across. Beyond developing, designing, and producing nice communication materials, however, how they are delivered and used are critical if they are to bring about the desired outcomes for which they are produced in the first place.

Message and materials development is closely linked with the strategic communication plan; they should flow logically from such a plan. There are reasons why certain materials ought to be used and how they are rendered. These include the purpose, users, and context of communication.

The Communication Team experienced designing materials and pretesting these in the village. As they worked with a creative graphic artist as resource person-facilitator, they became conscious of the importance of the input of a creative artist and his special skills. Likewise, they were keen to learn the tools using the computer, which could widen their options and enhance the media production process.

The importance of familiarity with specifications of the equipment and the requirements for media production was further emphasized along the way. For instance, during the digital video-editing workshop, the graphic artist-consultant found that the computers to be used were not capable to perform the job.

First, there was not enough space in the hard disk to hold the three videos to be captured. The consultant had to "borrow" and install extra hard disk from other computer.

Second, the computer memory had to be increased to be able to work faster. Working with a very low memory slows down the production time. Capturing big format VHS also posed another problem. MAFF had to borrow the MoE's VHS player to solve the problem. He recommended upgrading the existing digital video editing computers of both MAFF and MoE and if possible, purchasing a dedicated digital video editing computer.

The consultant further noted that using two different formats (mini-DV and super VHS) during shooting produced lower quality videos. This greatly affected the final video, especially the audio. The participants' on the spot changing of the script also contributed to a longer process of shot listing. He therefore recommended providing a more intensive training on video pre-production (planning, scriptwriting, shooting) for selected CT members should be conducted.

In managing and implementing ICNRMA projects, teamwork and partnerships are important. Different agencies involved in ICNRMA should be exerting efforts that complement rather than cancel out one another's efforts. This teamwork happens among individuals coming from different agencies who are able to work well together. For this to happen, everyone at all levels of the implementing agencies should have clear and common understanding of the goals and plans of the project. Also, everyone should feel that they have a role in these plans. Further, there should be clear, open, and frequent communication and coordination among the different individuals involved. Such communication requires conscious effort to make it happen.

Good teamwork among different participants from different agencies in an ICNRMA project multiplies its results. Effective management of ICNRMA further requires:

1. A conducive organizational climate;

2. Clear vision and plans understood and "owned" by all stakeholders;

3. A commitment to excellence by project implementors;

4. Improved capacity through systems improvement and development; and

5. Empowered implementors and stakeholders through good leadership, training and retraining, and job aids or tools having a clear plan that everyone involved understands and "owns".

In the project, the strengths of the national staff in media production skills were capitalized while that of the provincial staff in community-based approaches also raised the opportunity for exchange of knowhow and synergy.

The friendly interpersonal ties and mutual respect that developed among the TCP participants in the course of their working together enhanced teamwork among them. Such teamwork and cohesiveness are important dimensions in the sustainability of initiatives. Efforts at institutionalization of initiatives even at the start are important. Establishing communication lines between teams and organizing them, recognizing the strengths of the different sectors (provincial vs national, MoE vs MAFF) were also important.

It is thus recommended that as a policy, the collaboration, resource sharing, and complementation between the two MAFF and MoE communication and extension departments be institutionalized, along with their collaboration with technical departments and with academe.

Furthermore, inter-institutional collaboration and coordination are essential to achieve capacity building. In order to promote partnerships among different ministries and development agencies, the project promoted a multi-stakeholder consultation on ICNRMA aiming at stimulating a national policy and a partnership programme. This activity that had no concrete follow-up on the Government side demonstrated the need for adequate policy support and advocacy to allow collaboration among different institutions, agencies, and actors involved in the ICNRMA efforts in resource sharing, and to ensure the mainstreaming of communication into development policies and field projects.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) should always be part of the plan of an ICNRMA project. Monitoring seeks to make sure that activities are undertaken according to plans and that project implementors are able to make changes as needed in order to address problems and difficulties. On the other hand, evaluation provides information and data indicating the results of the ICNRMA activities; whether or not the project goals are being attained. Monitoring and evaluation requires getting the right information or data at right stages to help decision-making during and after the ICNRMA project. Thus M&E should have a plan on what data relevant to project objectives are required; where and how to gather them; who will do it; and how much time and funds are needed to do it. Participatory M&E involves NRMA communities in making an M&E plan. Its main purpose is to enable all participants representing the agencies/organizations involved as well as the community to mutually learn about undertaking NRMA initiatives and their IC component.

The experience in the project showed the importance of having a mechanism by which national counterparts could initiate and follow through with planned field activities. While communication team members would be ready to follow through with these activities, they were hindered by bureaucratic procedures and were highly dependent on their over-committed supervisors' do-diligence in paving the way with these procedures. This situation points out the need for innovations that could have overcome these challenges and provide the communication team with continuous field backstopping.


With the TCP in ICNRMA having ended, the FAO Representation in Cambodia with the support of FAO Communication for Development Group in partnership with the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Development Communication is hoped to continue ascertaining the integration of communication components in NRM initiatives.

This will be in recognition of communication as a key process in carrying out such initiatives. As NRM is "90 percent managing the public and 10 percent managing the resource", the "people factor" is an important force to consider and communication a core process in it.

The Communication Team from MAFF and MoE should continue to network with other NRM projects and promote their capabilities towards mainstreaming development communication in NRM initiatives in Cambodia. For instance, members of the Communication Team are now capable of providing additional training on the development of communication materials in NRM to the community fisheries and community forestry facilitators in the Tonle Sap Region.

Further, the Communication Team should pursue and receive continued technical guidance in carrying out the cost recovery schemes discussed during the FAO project. Additional groundwork is necessary to organize the CT as a cost recovery team. This includes reconciling the production costs of communication materials for the two ministries; working out the guidelines and procedures of undertaking jobs towards cost recovery; and perhaps signing an agreement on joint efforts toward cost recovery between the two ministries after project life.

Nevertheless, there is still the need for intense work on awareness raising among policy makers and development agencies to ensure that development communication is recognized as a strategic process and is put in the development agenda in Cambodia.

[1] 1 Farmer-first Approaches to Communication: A Case Study from the Philippines, FAO: Rome

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