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Cambodia Orphanage Project

 
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Multi Year Project Options for Battambang Orphanage                                                                                                                                 April 22, 2014

Introduction:

The establishment and running of the orphanage in Battambang since 2007 has been supported by the Float Foundation. This foundation is an initiative of a Dutch businessman who wished to contribute to improving the living conditions of the poorest children in South-East Asia. The establishment of the orphanage in 2007 was its first project. The orphanage was established on the main road from Battambang to Phnom Penh, around 30 km south of Battambang, in a rice field, donated by the owner to the Cambodian Children and Poor Community Development Organization (CPCDO). The CPCDO runs another orphanage in the Cambodian capital. The orphanage in Battambang consists of three buildings which can house 50 children: one building for boys, another one for girls, and the third building contains an office and the general space for the children. It has been set up at low costs, but it is functioning very well, although some repairs at the buildings are urgently necessary. Lack of funds hinders the smooth functioning of the orphanage which accommodates 35 children at the moment. Most of the children are older than 10 years, several of them 16-17 years. In spite of the simple construction of the compound, it appears to be a well-run orphanage.

Current and future Plans to assist the orphanage by Rotary Clubs:

The Rotary Club Minerva in Amsterdam and the Rotary Club of Bangkok South (RCBS) and the Rotary Club of South Surrey, accompanied by representatives of the FLOAT  Foundation visited subject Orphanage in March 2014. The visit was orchestrated to assess progress since the last visit from funding partners in Rotary and to provide onsite orientation to the Rotary Club of South Surrey, a new participant in the support of this Orphanage. Progress was noted in some areas of the Orphanage but many more areas were observed which could benefit from additional project coordination of projects supported by contributions from Rotary and other funders. Since there is now no local Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Battambang has now ceased operations; the consortium took the opportunity, when in Phnom Penh, to visit with the Rotary Club of Phnom Penh Metro with the hopes that this Club could provide some additional oversight and local ‘Eyes” on future projects at the Battambang Orphanage. Together with the continuing involvement of the Float Foundation, its representative in Cambodia (Vireak) and the personal involvement of Hans Mannheim (Minerva) and Arie Bloed (RCBS), this will assist in providing necessary safeguards to ensure that projects will be realized successfully. It also provides some assurances that all money will be spent for the children and no money will ‘disappear’ (a continuous risk in a country like Cambodia).

 

 

Upon completion of the tour, representatives of the Rotary Club of Bangkok South and the Rotary Club of South Surrey met to discuss next steps. It was agreed that since many areas were identified which could benefit from future funding, that a matrix of potential projects be developed.  This Matrix would then be circulated to all Rotary Clubs involved, the CPCDO and FLOAT Foundation for input on appropriateness and priority. Once reviewed by all, discussions would then be undertaken to obtain further funding for agreed to projects coupled with strong local oversight and coordination. No projects should commence without local, Vireak, approval.

Risks associated with these projects:

As mentioned, funds identified for specific projects will require constant monitoring to ensure appropriate use. The use of the FLOAT Foundation representative in Phnom Penh and hopefully assistance from the Rotary Club of Phnom Penh Metro will provide some of these assurances. A major concern raised was that funds should not be released for any approved project until the project is completed. It is understood that local contractors may not participate under these funding conditions, this would be the preferred approach were at all possible.

Another concern/risk identified was in the area of other Third Party support and lack of coordination of same. It was noted that other parties such as Rustic Pathways had been on sight and provided physical support to enhancements to the Orphanage. While this is beneficial, it is preferred that there be better coordination between Projects supported by the Rotary/Float Foundation Consortium and what other Third party supporters may wish to contribute. It is suggested that there be regular dialogue with CPCDO Director(s), (Phnom Penh and Battambang) to prevent duplication and/or complication of other projects planned for the Battambang Orphanage with Projects Approved and/or contemplated by the Rotary/Float Foundation Consortium.