SUCCESS & INNOVATION
Model Commune ChiefDate : 2014-03-27
After just about two years as a commune chief at ChreyVien commune, the same time as when TRAC began, Mr Somrith Orn has actively cooperated with the project since the very first meeting with the project staff to find support for a literacy coach in Prey Totoeng primary school located in PreyChhor district, Kampong Cham province. He is 55 years old and lives in Bonteay Roeung village.
Due to his strong enthusiasm in developing his own commune so, with support from family and friends, he decided to run for commune chief and was elected in 2012.
He states that, as a commune chief, he faces many challenges because citizens in his commune have limited knowledge there are many different issues to tackle. He mentioned that with every single problem to solve, the commune prioritizes the issues that the citizens are facing with discussions among the commune councils to find good solutions. Commune councilors also have limited knowledge and experience in coordinating their work, which was another challenge for Mr. Somrith to address. He thinks that problems are occuring because of lacking human resources with knowledge, capacity, and skills. Therefore, his vision for the commune is to improve education for its citizens. He focuses on the education sector by searching for funds and support from local and international organizations.
Mr. Somrith is happy to cooperate with those organizations coming to support his commune. However, he has most interested with the TRAC project because this project supports education directly. The project has new study methods and techniques for the students. Although the project requires some financial contribution for a Literacy Coach at the schools, he did not hesitate in searching for other support to fulfill the contribution. This is in order to show that the commune has its own autonomy along with participation from community members and, in order to be in line with one of the government’s objectives, he can help the commune change its direction to improve social development rather than improving infrastructure.
He thinks that even though improving education is the responsibility of the education sector, the community also needs to cooperate. Every time he holds monthly meetings with stakeholders, he always tells his citizens to preserve one idea that “we should be a provider not an asker because when we provide we are happy while the asker is never satisfied with what they seek. ”He added that his commune has allocated some finances in the commune investment plan for supporting the stipend for the Literacy Coach for 9 months. He also promises to contribute some finances to the literacy coach for another 6 months once funds are available.
Last but not least, he will continue allocating the commune’s funds for a literacy coach even when the project ends. His decision is to show local and civil society that the commune has its own autonomy and responsibility in developing the community. He also appreciates the TRAC project for mobilizing funds from different sources to develop human resources in the community.