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Diner, J, 2012 –– Together Addressing Climate Change: How an Integrated Water Resource Management Perspective can Strengthen the Delivery of a Community Based Adaptation Project in Rural Cambodia

Jeremy Diner (United States)

Jeremy DinerJeremy’s final project involved a four-month immersive learning experience in the villages around Boeung Snae Lake in Prey Veng province, Cambodia.

Working in collaboration with the Women Organization for Modern Economy and Nursing (WOMEN), Jeremy’s research targeted a recognised need to strengthen community resilience to the challenges of climate challenge, including vulnerability to flood and drought. By adopting an integrated water management viewpoint of the existing Together Addressing Climate Change Initiative-Prey Veng (TACCI-PV) project, Jeremy developed diversified outcomes-oriented recommendations to support the existing management approach in achieving valuable outputs within the pressures of short-term project milestones.

The project

"WOMEN certainly benefited from the technical capacity and new perspectives on integrated water management." - Aaron Watson, WOMEN

Cambodia is considered to be one of the most vulnerable countries in Southeast Asia to the effects of climate change. Because water is the primary medium through which climate change influences ecosystems, it is logical to apply an Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) perspective to implement community based climate change adaptation projects.

The goal of this project was to use an IWRM perspective to strengthen the management of a project being conducted by WOMEN in Prey Veng, Cambodia. The current monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework for the project only measured project outputs, so Jeremy assessed what sort of outcomes-oriented M&E framework could help improve the project management by applying the principles established in IWRM.

Conducting a Vulnerability Assessment with volunteers in preparation of a concept note for a new grant

Conducting a Vulnerability Assessment with volunteers in preparation for a concept note for a new grant.

The project used surveys to establish baseline data and develop the mechanisms and methods for future data collection and analysis. Bennett’s hierarchy proved to be a useful and adaptive framework for improving M&E because it highlights specific levels of outcomes based on the time required to achieve them.

Participatory Rural Appraisal with local government staff

Participatory Rural Appraisal with local government staff

The benefits

The research established Baseline data for the current knowledge, attitude, skills, aspirations, practices, and perceived social, environmental, and economic change in the community has now been established. It also produced valuable information as to the current gender gap in the villages in regard to climate change understanding and participation in activities. It produced results that suggested certain activities were more or less effective than others, information which could be used to design future projects. Finally, it has established a relationship between the International WaterCentre and WOMEN, one that will hopefully grow for many years to come. WOMEN has every intention of hosting MIWM students in the future.

Community celebration for the beginning of the rehabilitation of Boeung Snae Lake

Community celebration for the beginning of the rehabilitation of Boeung Snae Lake

One of the main things that I got out of this experience personally was learning what it was like to work in a developing country. I was immersed in Cambodian language and culture and I learned so much about what I was capable of! I realised that I had a significant amount of knowledge to contribute to the project, and in four months I not only felt a feeling of accomplishment, but also a feeling of having a new home. I left Cambodia feeling empowered and ready to help tackle some of the world’s biggest problems.

“WOMEN certainly benefited from the technical capacity and new perspectives on integrated water management, as well as ideas for strengthening M&E systems for TACCI-PV," said Aaron Watson, Jeremy's supervisor at WOMEN. "The focus of Jeremy’s project allowed for better data collection and understanding against a limited baseline survey, and plotting areas of improvement for the future. I can honestly say that his project has helped key staff at WOMEN to build their capacity in M&E related to environmental projects. He has also challenged them to improve overall monitoring for stronger outcomes in the future.”

The future

WOMEN is currently seeking funding to continue their work in the field of climate change adaptation. They were most recently rejected for a grant to continue their current work because they couldn’t provide sufficient information showing how past activities had contributed to the community’s ability to adapt, a task that is very difficult in six months. Jeremy's research has provided WOMEN with a framework that has the ability to collect this information, which could set them up to receive future grants. At the very least, it has allowed the people in Prey Veng to have a greater voice in the current project and built stronger relationships, which may encourage greater community action.

> Read more about Jeremy's professional background



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