How do diverse stakeholder groups perceive the activities of non-government organisations (NGOs) working with disadvantaged children in Siem Reap, Cambodia?

Author: Matthew Ankers

Ankers, Matthew, 2023 How do diverse stakeholder groups perceive the activities of non-government organisations (NGOs) working with disadvantaged children in Siem Reap, Cambodia?, Flinders University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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Despite approximately two decades passing since the end of conflict in Cambodia, one third of Khmer remain in multi-dimensional poverty. Many non-government organisations (NGOs) work to help Khmer address the impacts of poverty. However, limited literature exists which investigates the success of NGOs in Cambodia, especially research from the perspective of disadvantaged children, or the multiple stakeholders affected by their work. This research investigated the views of four stakeholder groups, including children, directly engaged with two NGOs delivering services in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Social constructionism provided the foundation for a case study methodology, which informed how data was collected, including via field notes, interviews, and focus groups. Once data was collected, a thematic analysis process produced six themes. These themes were: i) Culture: Common characteristics of Khmer participants; ii) Constructs of poverty; iii) Jobs, desired jobs and what do I do to get these jobs? Education!; iv) Student outcomes from NGO interventions; v) Resource limitations; and vi) Socialisation, friendships and benefits. Three theoretical discussions drawing on ideas from: Sen’s Development as freedom (2001), postcolonialism (Allina 2021; Gandhi 1998; Loomba 2005; McEwan 2009), and Pfeffer and Salancik’s the External Control of Organizations (2003), were then used in the re-interpretation of the research results. These re-interpretations helped demonstrate how the two NGOs addressed the unfreedom’s of poverty for Khmer people, the success of which, is partly explained by both NGOs being Indigenous-controlled. This included the Indigenous control of Global North donations/resources (for the majority). Both of these factors (Indigenous control of NGOs and resources/donations) allowed the organisations to respond to local needs and provide services that met this agenda.

Keywords: Cambodia, Non-Government Organisations (NGO), Capactiy Raising, Children, Sen

Subject: Development Studies thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2023
School: College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Associate Professor Yvonne Parry