Governance, Community Participation, and Democracy

RACHA's Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program is geared towards improving health and wellbeing of civilians--particularly women and children--at the grassroots level. Within the existing health governance structure, RACHA's strategies include working with counterparts, engaging in capacity building, strengthening existing systems and helping translate policies into implementable programs in line with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and donor intentions.

Through this work, RACHA values the importance of community development through a solid foundation of good governance, social accountability, and democratic development. It works diligently to support and strengthen the health services and improve community health in rural Cambodia,through the strengthening of the health sector and the bolstering of citizens' voice to ensure that changes are made at the grassroots levels, the national levels, and in all systems in between.

The following illustrate the ways in which RACHA currently works through an integrated approach of health encompassing good governance, social accountability, and democratic development.

Government Engagement:

RACHA has been a strong partner of Cambodia's Ministry of Health (MoH) for more than a decade. One of RACHA's strengths as a national NGO is its close collaboration with the government to influence policy change and regulation, to lobby programming support and budget allocation, and foster local authority participation at the community level. RACHA cooperates with the government at the National, Provincial, and Community Levels.

In partnership with the various relevant ministries, RACHA has developed, supported, and managed programs with continual endorsement and cooperation from the Cambodian government. Government engagement is a vital component to realizing wide reach, effective impact and sustainability. For example, RACHA has successfully garnered government endorsement in developing a Drug Inventory Database for use in all levels of the health system, which promotes transparency and ensures efficient drug distribution.

RACHA works closely with the Provincial Health Departments in its five focus provinces on health system strengthening and has extended technical assistance even to areas outside its geographical coverage. For example, in 2009, with funding from the USAID, RACHA provided Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) to Preah Vihear Province after a contract between the Provincial Health Departments (PHD) and Ministry of Health- Health Sector Support Project (MoH-HSSP2) to receive Special Operating Agency (SOA) was signed. The health base area for internal contracting includes 12 Health Centers, 13 Health Posts, and the Provincial Referral Hospital. After RACHA's technical training, the Operational District and Provincial Health Department are now running the health system by themselves.

RACHA health programs cover 3,401 villages, 290 health centers in 19 Operational Districts of five province; a total population of 3,371,640 which represents 24% of the countries’ population. Specifically, RACHA collaborates with Village Chiefs, Commune Councils, Operational District Officials, and Provincial Health District Officers in every project it implements. RACHA acts to strengthen thelocal mechanisms so that communities are capable and confident to address pertinent community health needs by integrating health activities into the existing local structure. RACHA also helps to ensure accountability for both clients and providers to establish realistic expectations of health center services.

Community Participation and Democracy

RACHA is deeply entrenched at the community level for effective and appropriate intervention programming, where a high level of community participation is invaluable. Across its key programs, community participation is at the core as it promotes gender equity and poverty reduction methodologies. RACHA commits to providing financial, technical, and administrative support for program development, implementation, and management. However, RACHA sets forth a clear understanding that the community must take ownership of the initiative to ensure self-sustainability.