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Cambodia Democratic Development Program

The United States Agency for International Development in Cambodia (USAID/Cambodia) is issuing this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for a five-year cooperative agreement titled “Cambodia Democratic Development Program”. The goal of the program is to build more responsive, democratic local governance and effective service delivery in Cambodia. To that end, the program seeks to capitalize on the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC)’s stated commitment to decentralization and deconcentration and related policies. This award will advance USAID Cambodia’s 2014-2018 Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) goal of accelerating Cambodia’s transformation to a democratic and prosperous country. The program supports Development Objective 1: Strengthened democracy and government accountability, and enhanced respect for human rights.

The program also aligns with the 2013 USAID Strategy on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG), which prioritizes greater citizen participation and inclusion, and more accountable institutions and leaders. The strategy also identifies support to civil society organizations (CSOs) and independent media as central channels for citizen voice and the generation of external demand for government accountability. The integration of DRG practices and principles into other technical sectors is one of the core principles of both the DRG strategy and this award. The program is also grounded in USAID’s Local Systems Framework, which emphasizes a “systems approach” that focuses on multiple interconnected actors and relationships.

The goal of the program is to build more responsive, democratic local governance and service delivery in Cambodia. The selected implementing partner will be encouraged to build on what is already working and supporting ‘best fit’ rather than ‘best practice’ approaches and test pathways to advance democratic decentralization and strengthen accountability systems. The development hypothesis of this goal is that 1) if sub-national government authorities are able to more effectively and responsively fulfill their roles and responsibilities, and national government authorities effectively decentralize authorities to sub-national government authorities; 2) citizens, including those of marginalized populations, are empowered to use social accountability tools and engage in collective action for government accountability and effective service delivery; 3) and civil society and media effectively monitor public services and conduct budget analysis; then Cambodian citizens will experience more responsive, democratic local governance.

Critical to the program’s ability to foster genuine reforms at the sub-national level is robust, real-time political economy analyses that unpack these issues and gives insight into incentives, power structures and possible avenues to advance reform. Applicants are encouraged to offer innovative ideas about how to achieve the goals and objectives of the program that demonstrate a solid understanding of Cambodia’s politics and how they work within the country’s social and cultural systems. Although programming approaches should align with existing RGC strategies and work plans, in particular NP-SNDD and IP3-II, applicants are encouraged to put forth innovative and flexible approaches that can adapt to a dynamic political environment, such as the 2017 local and 2018 national elections. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to effectively leverage other USAID and development partner programs wherever possible. Applicants should focus on a process of innovation to generate compelling and appropriate approaches to achieve results.

A baseline political economy analysis (PEA) conducted during the inception period will inform the details of programming, and recommendations that can be translated into realistic, high-priority interventions. Ongoing PEA and reflective learning throughout the life of the program will guide programming adjustments and adaptation. The selected implementing partner will be encouraged to build on what is already working and develop innovative approaches.

Objective One: Improved Accountability and Responsiveness of Sub-national Administration on Policy Implementation

Objective Two: Increased Citizen Engagement for Government Accountability

Objective Three: Civil Society and Media Strengthened to Promote Constructive Civic Engagement for Government Accountability


Subject to funding availability, USAID/Cambodia intends to provide up to approximately $13 million in total USAID funding for the life of the activity.

The period of performance anticipated herein is five years. The estimated start date will be upon the effective date of the award.

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