US Offers $9M to Boost Public Accountability NGOs

A $9 million grant to promote government accountability in Cambodia and strengthen nongovernmental groups across the country was announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The five-year Cambodian Civil Society Strengthening project will be spearheaded by the Cambodian branch of the East-West Management Institute.

It will fund smaller projects—such as monitoring land rights cases and conducting public opinion polls—and “help civil society organizations improve their management, planning, and analytical skills,” USAID said in a statement.

Courtney Woods, a U.S. Embassy spokesman, said that while the grant was new, the project was “in line with a longstanding support that we’ve been giving to civil society here in Cambodia.”

He said the money “wasn’t given in light of the current political climate,” but did not elaborate.

The U.N. and Japan recently voiced concerns about the “narrowing of space” for NGOs in Cambodia following the arrests of numerous government critics in recent months.

In January, the E.U. announced an 8.2 million euro (about $9 million) grant for good governance and democratization programs.

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