June 13, 2013 marked the closing of the World Bank funded project in Battambang entitled Strengthening Civil Society-Government Partnership to Deliver Land Tenure Security. A closing ceremony was organized by Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, which was held in Ponleur Sontepheab Community Center, Chamkar Russie Village, Sangkat Prek Preah Sdach, Battambang City.
The closing ceremony was conducted to announce the project end amongst its stakeholders. It also allowed the project to publicly delegate the continuance of the infrastructure improvement to the local authorities and project beneficiaries, and most importantly celebrate the strengthened partnerships that learnt to recognize that the urban low-income families in the city and the government can overcome difficulties even in very challenging projects such as this.
In her speech during the program, Bernadette Bolo-Duthy, HFH Cambodia Country Director shared the project’s accomplishments, “5 years ago, we started an ambitious project to allocate land, to build community centers and to improve roads and drainage to serve over 300 families, while we also built each others capacity in implementing Social Land Concession in urban areas. The Municipal Technical Working group and the community leaders’ efforts were full of challenges, but they all led to victories as well. I feel very much honored to share with you our humble achievements for the project where 137 out of 256 families have been allocated with secure land. A total of 4 out of 8 cross roads have been built, 368 km out of 730 km drainage systems have been built and improved, 2 out of 3 community centers built, 39 families received electricity connections and 110 housing kits were distributed to families.” The project was extended for 2 years from 13 June 2011 to 13 June 2013 making the three-year implementation last for 5 years.
It was also through this project closing ceremony where the entire completed infrastructure – cross roads, drainage system, and two community centers – were inaugurated. A further outcome of the project is the 41 additional plots that government has allocated to the project, which HFH Cambodia will develop with best practice and the lessons that it has learned in implementing social land concession in urban areas.
The closing ceremony was attended by over 100 participants including H.E. Dr. Sareth Boramy, Director of LASED Project , Mr. Oeurm Sokhon Battambang Municipality Governor, Battambanng Muncipality Technical Working Group members, Mr. Tor Hon Prek Preahsdach Sangkat chief, three Village chiefs, Ms. Sok Kinna, Head of Battambang Cadastral Office, Saving Networks in Battambang, Project beneficiaries, religious representatives, and NGO partners such as GIZ, Cambodia Volunteer for Society, Community Management Development Partner, Community Empowerment Development Team , CBIRD, including project service providers.
HFH Cambodia representatives also took the opportunity to thank the Battambang provincial government, through the leadership of H.E. Prak Chan, for their untiring support to the conversion of the garden area land from state public to state private land that allowed the project to distribute secure land to landless families. Habitat Cambodia thanked H.E. Dr. Boramy, the Deputy Municipal Governor Sieng Em Wounzy and H.E. Uy Ri, the Deputy provincial governor, HE Pra Oum, MTWG, PLUAC for their hard work, planning, coordination and support towards the commune and village leaders who have been with the project since day one.