One of the key understandings of the CHE strategy is that unless the community owns a project, it will not lead to any sustained change for the community. A project owned by outsiders will almost inevitably fail once the “owners” leave the area.

Haun Kimsong is the leader of the TWR Cambodia Youth Team and he has been doing an amazing job of teaching some of the CHE lessons in villages. Here is his response to this question: Do you see how you can get more community ownership, and how communities themselves can contribute towards the developmental process?



“From my experiences, helping them to get ownership is very difficult, but from doing the CHE training we can help them to see the big picture of their own problems. We need to help them to accept what their real problems are, because many people do not understand their problems even those they are living with every day. For example, a group of youth at Sre Ampil knew that drinking alcohol is not good but they still keep on drinking, and this is a big problem for this village. We needed to train them several times until they accepted that is their own problem. Then at the next meeting they were all involved with the lesson and after the class some of them decided to stop drinking alcohol. They made their own decision to stop without pressure.
We met a 17 year old gangster in Battam Bang who came to our training. The first lesson he did not want to be involved with us; he complained and tried to disturb our class. However, after the second lesson he changed his attitude, he joined with the small group and he shared his ideas with the small group and the whole class. After our lesson about honesty he came to me and he asked me to pray for him, because he decided to accept Christ as his Saviour. He told me that he sinned against God, his parents and everyone around him. At the last day of the training we talked about forgiveness and at the end of the lesson we encouraged them to write down the names of the people that they have to forgive and this guy wrote many of his friends names. Next we asked them to write down the names of the people who they will ask for the forgiveness, and this young man also wrote many names including his brothers and sisters and his parents.
On Sunday after the training we got a call from the local pastor and she told me that some of gangsters in the village who came to the training came to the Sunday service.
To answer to your question on how we can get more community ownership: We can’t just go and meet with them and point out their problems. We have to try to help them to see the whole picture so they are able to accept that this is their real problem. If they accept that, they will involve themselves with us and begin to understand the developmental process.”