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Today: Jul 09, 2020





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Theory of Change

The Theory of change and API's development towards change

The theory of change involves interventions that build on each other to bring about a given long-term goal. The process has transformed the way API plans and measures impact.[1] API works to contribute change at individual, system and policy levels for the betterment of society in Cambodia.


The theory of change uses different concepts in different contexts. In post-conflict societies like Cambodia, the theory of change can be applied to the growth of international and local humanitarian and development organisations that work together in planting the seeds of human rights and democracy. They strive to make a difference, for Cambodia to prosper. This is crucial and has bought awareness to the Government in recognising the key role it must play as both a promoter and a partner of positive and sustainable change in Cambodian development.


Like many other fledgling democracies, Cambodia has faced numerous challenges to its social and economic development and commitment to political pluralism. Cambodia has been forced to confront challenges unique to its own history, geography and culture. It is because of this extremely complex environment that Non Government Organisations (NGOs) have often struggled to be effective in their delivery of services, to be relevant to the needs and desires of the Cambodian people. NGOs have often found themselves hamstrung by Government intransigence, ineptitude and intolerance. Compounding this has been the exploitation and manipulation of some NGO programs by Government officials and higher authorities to push personal and political agendas.


Notwithstanding the myriad of challenges, over time NGOs in Cambodia have built up their operational capacity and worked hard to emphasise the relevance and sustainable nature of their work for the community. Fair and participatory democratic systems require active participation from citizens and civil society in social and economic development at local and national levels. If Cambodian citizens and civil society want a Government more responsive to the needs of the community, particularly of marginal groups, then it is essential that a culture of openness and public engagement and participation is fostered across all sectors of society.


In promoting advocacy work in Cambodia, API looks at ‘advocacy’ and ‘policy’ simultaneously. In situations where there is no policy in place, there is a need for advocacy towards developing a policy/law. Where a policy/law is in place but is poorly enforced advocacy is needed to reinforce and implement the policy. As a result, API expects its efforts will achieve:


Policy change – policy/law adaptation (i.e A2I law and policy guidelines) per the
needs of society by the Parliament and Government institutions at both
sub-national and national levels;

System and mechanism change –systems and/or mechanisms (i.e
establishment of A2I working group, mechanisms of working together
between CSOs and government’s institutions) in place and functioning to
address issues that affect people’s livelihoods, particularly of vulnerable
and marginalised groups; and

Attitude and behaviour change – change in individual attitudes and behaviours
of people directly or indirectly involved in API’s work – education and
awareness – empowered individuals who are aware of the issues and
understand their rights.


With its work over the last ten years, API is now recognised as a leading advocacy capacity building institution whose main aim is to promote access to information and the decentralisation policy with direct involvement in advocacy and policy activities.


API works with Government institutions, civil society organisations, and networks to build their capacity and support them to respond to the needs and concerns of people. By encouraging and improving partnerships API also works to ensure that Government institutions provide space for citizens and civil society to interact and dialogue on critical issues and concerns and seeks to hold Government institutions and their representatives accountable.


API, as well as other Cambodian and International NGOs, have identified the gaps and dedicated time and resources in strengthening social development for a sustainable Cambodian democracy. With a mission to serve the long-term democratic and social development needs of Cambodia, API works with enthusiastic partners and civil society networks at sub-national and national levels to increase the democratic space for citizens to interact with their Government. API has demonstrated sustained organisational commitment to transparency, accountability, and integrity in their internal operations. API believes that its contribution will make a difference in poverty reduction and the protection of human rights that creates a national culture of harmony with sustainable democratic, political, and economic stability.

[1] Center for Theory of Change, Angela Kail, Tris Lumley ‘Theory of Change: the beginning of making a difference’, April 2012.