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Civic Champions: Evaluation

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Evaluating Leadership Capacity Development Among Elected, Local-Level Government Representatives in Rural Cambodia

September 30, 2014 – WaterSHED has released an external evaluation of its groundbreaking Civic Champions program. The program, inspired by local leaders who have motivated their communities to make transformational change in sanitation coverage, established a leadership development project in rural Cambodia in 2014. The project strongly emphasized ‘democratizing leadership’ – a concept that embraces the notion that it is increasingly important to have good leadership, at all levels, from more people, and that top quality leadership training should be available to everyone.

The study found that the project made a substantial contribution to improving participants’ leadership capacity and increasing sanitation coverage in their communities:

  • Significant increase in latrine uptake: Communes visited in treatment districts all reported positive increase in latrine uptake and sales. The two treatment districts witnessed a 400 percent increase in the sale of improved toilets as compared to the in the same period across the eight provinces where WaterSHED implements its Hands-Off sanitation marketing program.
  • Leadership development bridges party lines: Their newly acquired leadership skills are useful in maintaining relationships across political party lines.
  • Better Sense of leadership: Councillors felt that they have a better sense of their leadership roles in implementing their everyday work. The project has compelled these elected representatives to work more proactively on increasing access to sanitation.
  • Transition from follower to initiator: Many councillors reported an increase in their frequency of visits to the village after being part of Civic Champions.
  • Emergence of model leaders: The project has enabled the participants to establish their name among the villagers as a recognized brand, being a proactive leader in water and sanitation.
  • Emerging indicators of sustainability: The participants expressed determination to continue to make a positive impact in their community, at least in terms of hygiene and sanitation.
  • People will pay for quality programs: Participants discovered that the fee was worth it and felt satisfied paying it. Many did say they took a bit of a risk in the beginning to pay.
  • Significant staff capacity building: The project has also proved to be an excellent capacity building experience for the staff of WaterSHED. The project staff and training team members interviewed for the study expressed consistent positive feelings not only in their own capacity in delivering the training contents and materials, but also in their own leadership skills.