© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod
Programme evaluations and studies show that Commune Councils and Commune Committees for Women and Children supported by UNICEF have successfully modelled potential decentralized functions related to improving access, performance and oversight of primary health care, early childhood development, primary education, protection, and water and sanitation services. As a result, the Government rolled out Commune Committees for Women and Children nationwide and established statutory Women and Children Consultative Committees at other levels of local government.
The government has earmarked additional funds to support the communes in providing social services that address the needs of women and children. Implementation guidelines on social development by communes have also been developed, and orientation for communes is currently being rolled out.
Results from various surveys show that the Commune Committees for Women and Children are having a positive impact, with higher priority given to women and children’s issues relating to health and education in communes where the Committees have been established. As a result, children and women’s issues are now on the agenda of Commune Council meetings and are integrated into the commune development planning process. The Commune Committees for Women and Children are fulfilling a vital role in helping to expand the Commune Councils’ mandate to improve access to social services for women and children.
UNICEF-supported communes have also demonstrated capacity in data analysis and use, planning and reporting, and leveraging resources for social provision through the decentralized planning and budgeting system. Documentation of this experience has influenced formulation of the National Programme for Sub-National Democratic Development, and, in recognition, the Government has asked UNICEF to co-facilitate the dialogue on devolution of functions to commune, district and provincial councils.