Working Papers 85
20 Years’ Strengthening of Cambodian Civil Society: Time for Reflection
In the 1980s and 1990s a large number of NGOs emerged in Cambodia, primarily in response to donors’ agendas on strengthening civil society to curb repressive developing country governments and support a broad democratisation process. Over the last 20 years, donor money has been concentrated on funding a small group of NGOs, mostly located in the country’s centre. While it is not argued that NGOs have no influence, they have not demonstrated basic civil society features. More recently, however, some local organisations have surfaced across the country, giving rise to optimism that donors, while they have built national level civil society only to a limited degree, have gradually triggered forms of genuine grassroots civil society.