I finally finished writing the CBET Project Proposal and Budget for CF. I knew it took me too long, and it was just lying there, and I was fully aware that it was pretty urgent. Now all I have to do is wait for further clarifications from CF, which I’m sure are plenty.
The budget that N, the PC based in Kompong Speu province, submitted to me looked like, nope, it’s really a copy of last year’s (just as I expected), which made A, the Project Advisor, concerned about the Khmer staff’s (especially the PCs and POs) ability to understand the project cycle. I looked at it again and again, and I agree with A. A new donor might buy into this because they don’t know the history of the project well, but I think that it’s important for MB and for the staff to see the progression of activities and not repeat the same ones year after year. This was the whole point of the “graduation plan”, but N has missed the whole point. In designing new project budgets, we really need to look at what is working, what isn’t, where is it going — and sometimes make hard decisions such as cutting off support as part of the exit strategy. For example, N should have not included the revolving fund for homestay in the 2005 budget since it is already included in the current budget, and revolving means that it will still be available in 2005. A also questioned the budget for traditional dancing and music. She said there are young kids studying with the older ones and it doesn’t cost a thing really. So the question is what is the money for? Aarrrgggghhh!
And then there’s this incident where I asked N to come to Phnom Penh to discuss activities for the Gender project. Guess what? She assigned M, our volunteer from down under, to meet me instead. And I quote N “… I don’t need to meet with you because I will learn from M…” Wtf? This responsibility shouldn’t be passed on to the volunteer. It just difficult to deal with N.
In case you are wondering what I am talking about, it’s the proposal for the Ecotourism Project and N is the Khmer Program Coordinator. It’s always been difficult to work with N, with her complaining about almost anything and when you ask her why, she can’t even give sufficient reasons. Very typical N. I have to be firm to her, and ask VM the Director to back me up. My job is to help PCs write and finalize proposals, donor reports and other official documents but I almost always end up writing the entire documents. It’s really important that PCs like her take the responsibility for fundraising since MB is stepping up its localization process where MB will be an all-Khmer organization. It may take a loss of funds and lay-offs for them to really understand this – and I hope it doesn’t come to that, but there’s definitely an attitude that the foreigners are the only ones capable or responsible for it.