Bell Sound: Child-led Tool to Trigger Local Participation, Accountability and Transparency

by Mom Chantara Soleil

Though improving, Kandaol Chrum commune of Kampong Cham Programme Unit has not yet been able to score itself with more than one star [no star as the lowest and three stars as the highest] in terms of child friendliness for the last two years given low performance of a number of indicators.

DSC_0154With Bell Sound initiative introduced lately by Plan International Cambodia, starting with this commune, children are leading reflection performance to encourage more actions and accountability.

“Ah, she is bringing her daughter to the preschool. And the daughter looks happy. Very good! Do all small children in our commune are coming to preschool?” asked Srey Neang to another youth facilitator during the Bell Sound reflection performance.

To the question, another youth facilitator Srey Lot answered: “If you look at our child friendly community indicators from my back 11.02% of under-6 children attending preschools. It’s not enough yet. We don’t receive any star for this particular indicator.”

DSC_0162Srey Lot, former school dropout, turned to the Commune Chief sitting and seeing her Bell Sound role play among 50 other guests and respectfully asked him what the commune leadership is doing to improve this.

“You’re right. We need more preschools. I am working with my commune councilors to mobilise resources to build more preschools. I will also discuss this with Plan and other NGOs relevant,” responded Mr. So Sophorn, the Commune Chief.

Other children, commune clerk, health centre staff, Country Director and sector specialists of Plan Cambodia appreciated progresses, shared more ideas and raised more questions, not only about the preschool but other areas including birth registration, child nutrition, household access to clean water and latrine, and the like throughout the two-hour session.

First of its kind, the Bell Sound event taking place at the commune hall was led by 20 children and youth. Indeed, the child-right organisation is the legacy that Plan Cambodia wants to leave in the communities it is working with.

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The formal introduction of the grassroots mechanism to push local governance received honorable participation from the Country Director of Plan in Vietnam, Mr. Glenn Gibney, Plan Cambodia’s Country Management Team and Programme Support Team, and parents, children, adults, commune councilors, health center staff, committees and community based organisation representatives as well as school teachers in Kandaol Chrum commune.

According to Mr. Supriyanto, the Country Director of Plan International Cambodia, the organisation with endorsement from the Cambodian National Council for Children two years ago introduced 18 indicators — driven by the rights to health and nutrition, protection, development and participation as well as stages of child development — to tell if a community is child friendly.

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“To bring the concept to another level, we initiated Bell Sound which is a child led reflection performance of child friendly community indicators to promote participation, transparency and accountability among children, adults, parents, local authorities and development agencies, including Plan,” he added.

The child-led Bell Sound reflection performance was ended with visits to Plan’s programme sites co-led by Kampong Cham Programme Unit Manager Mr. Yi Kimthan and Kandaol Chrum Community Development Officer Mr. Chang Seang Leng.

 

For the details about child friendly community please click here http://connectingourconfidence.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/child-manual_eng-final.pdf

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