Cooperation Committee for Cambodia

On Monday, I attended my first Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) meeting. The CCC is a group that coordinates and supports NGO activity in Cambodia among it’s nearly 170 members.

What is an NGO? In the United States this is what we would call a nonprofit. But in international contexts the common term is Non-Governmental Organization.

I attended the finance meeting with our Accountant, Ringsey, but there are also regular planning, leadership, human resource, and sector meetings. The meeting topic this time was “Cambodian Standard of the Financial Report for Not-For-Profit Entities, Tier 2.” Cambodia recently introduced new tax reporting requirements for charitable not-for-profits so it was important for me to be there. The meeting was in Khmer with no translator so I had my dictionary out to look up financial terminology but then they used English words for most of the financial lingo. There were many sentences like, “អ្នកត្រូវបញ្ជូន balance sheet ទៅការិយាល័យក្រសួងប្រចាំខែ។ កុំភ្លេចតាមដាន accruals ។”

I had some trouble following the agenda…
I know how to speak Khmer but not how to read!

Fortunately the financial reporting standards were familiar territory to me thanks to Peaceful Living – who knew I’d be so glad to have done the tax exemption renewals when we were between CFOs – but the new reporting frequency is pretty intense. The Cambodian government is now requiring NGOs to submit the same amount of paperwork monthly that the United States requires nonprofits to submit once a year! That’s a lot of work for our team!

Ringsey and I at the CCC Finance meeting on Monday.

Mennonite Central Committee was one of the five original founding members of the CCC in 1990. The number of members had increased to 54 by 1991. MCC Cambodia Representative Jonathan Clemens served on the CCC Executive Committee during this time. This was the year when Cambodia was “legitimized” by a United Nations Peace Plan resulting in an influx of international NGOs. Prior to this, MCC was one of only a handful of international NGOs operating in Cambodia. The CCC was developed as a forum for coordinating efforts, sharing resources, and building partnerships.

The CCC meeting was at the Diakonia Center near the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. MCC had our SE Asia Regional Retreat here in 2009 so I’m able to show you the same view – looking at Tuol Sleng – ten years apart. I think it gives you an idea of how Phnom Penh has changed.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Susie Kauffman says:

    Wow, that is a lot of work! More employment for more workers at greater cost to NGOs. But also more processing for the roet. It will have to slacken eventually. Great that you’re so studied up on MCC history!

    1. Charles says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Susie! That has been the pattern so let’s hope it holds. MCC can handle it but it’s hard on the smaller local NGOs.

  2. larrykgroffgmailcom says:

    Thank you for sharing the comparison pictures.

    1. Charles says:

      I’m planning to get some more up. I haven’t made it up north yet but I think I can show a good comparison with photos from the top of Sorya.

  3. Penny Naugle says:

    The alphabet looks extremely challenging! To the untrained eye the letters almost all look the same! Thanks for these windows into your lives there! Blessings!

  4. larrykgroffgmailcom says:

    Thanks for explaining “basics” to everyone. NGO’s and some history of MCC in Cambodia. I appreciate your insights and clarifications. This is a valuable characteristic for a Country Representative. Keep up the good work! – Sherry Groff

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