Beyond the technology

Empowering rural communities against poverty: How HURREDO is supporting locally-led development in Cambodia with KoboToolbox

In Cambodia, an estimated 80% of the population lives in rural areas, with many communities facing challenges related to poverty and lack of access to basic necessities. In these remote areas, access to sanitation and safe drinking water is critical. The Siem Reap province is especially vulnerable since climate impacts, such as floods and droughts, can affect their water sources. Human Resource and Rural Economic Development Organization (HURREDO), an organization dedicated to supporting community-led development, has been working in provinces across Cambodia to alleviate poverty and improve access to resources, helping rural communities create a more sustainable future.

Together with Outreach International, HURREDO provides local organizations with access to KoboToolbox and helps them develop essential data collection skills. By using KoboToolbox, communities are empowered to collect and analyze data, giving them increased agency in decision-making and resource allocation. In Siem Reap province, HURREDO helped establish a women-led community-based organization called Run Samaki for Development (RSD). RSD is primarily focused on addressing key water and sanitation issues in their community. The leaders of RSD knew they needed access to accurate real-time data to better understand the challenges they were facing. To support their efforts and further build community capacity, HURREDO introduced RSD leaders to KoboCollect, KoboToolbox’s Android app.

Using KoboToolbox as the primary data collection tool, communities are empowered to collect and analyze data, giving them agency in decision-making and resource allocation. © Keo Sarawathphonam / HURREDO

HURREDO trained RSD leaders to use KoboToolbox and supported them in collecting Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) data from over 200 households. With the skills gained from the training, RSD leaders used the translation capabilities of KoboToolbox’s Formbuilder to develop survey forms in their local language of Khmer. By collecting their data in Khmer, RSD was able to capture more diverse and accurate information, and they were also enabled to more easily share insights from that data with the broader community.

In 2022, RSD conducted several baseline assessments and collected WASH data to evaluate the community’s access to toilets and water filters. Once data collection was complete, the team used KoboToolbox’s reports for data visualization and analysis. With insights derived from the data, RSD leaders were able to advocate for more resources, including water filters and toilets, to improve water and sanitation issues in their community.

RSD's Treasurer, Srey Neang, collecting information from a community member. © Keo Sarawathphonam / HURREDO

With HURREDO’s support, many women with no prior experience collecting data gained the valuable skills needed to launch several monitoring initiatives. These initiatives resulted in more effective resource allocation and created opportunities to improve social and economic conditions. By building local capacity in monitoring and evaluation, HURREDO has helped locals, such as RSD’s Chak Salat, become leaders in community driven development.

“I was very happy and satisfied to be involved in collecting data … through a new system called KoboToolbox because it is … easy to understand for … those who are collecting data. In addition, the system can provide immediate data and reports to the community and donors for negotiating requests for additional assistance to address [local] poverty.” - Chak Salat, RSD’s Vice President

RSD's Vice President, Chak Salat, collecting data for one of their community-led projects. © Keo Sarawathphonam / HURREDO

Through HURREDO’s dedication to community-led development, RSD leaders now have a clear understanding of their local WASH situation. The insights from this data collection process have enabled leaders to make well-informed decisions about community needs and resources. Looking ahead, RSD leaders are preparing to continue their monitoring efforts with an initiative to collect data on local water wells. With improved access to data collection tools and reliable data, RSD is better equipped and more empowered to advocate for their community and for a more sustainable future.

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