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1.  INTRODUCTION

The Board of Directors and Staff of AEC developed this strategic plan with assistance from Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Volunteer placed with the Organization. It provides AEC Organization with a five-year roadmap for supports, services and organizational development. The Board of Directors will review progress quarterly and will review and update the plan annually as needed.
This plan was developed with broad involvement and guidance from the Board of Directors and staff. The management team met several times to reflect on the mission, vision, core operating values and the assumptions underlying the organization’s approach to its work. These meetings set the stage for a work session of the full board during which the organization’s strategic direction was defined.

1.1  Background and History
ACTION FOR ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITIES is a Cambodian non-governmental, non-political and non-profit organization (NGO) established in 1998 previously under the supervision of the Southeast Asia Development Project (SADP) based in Phnom Penh and later in year 2000 became an independent organization. AEC is registered as an NGO with the Ministry of Interior in 2005. AEC has 8 personnel, (six males and two females); Executive Director, Administrator/Accountant, Program Coordinator, three Program Managers and two Project Staff. Through its experiences in advocacy work, community organizing, income generation, protection of natural resources and through its support projects to communities, AEC has centered its program on Resource Management as its main program component, organizing and empowerment of Community Forestry Communities, promotion of women participation in Community Forestry Development, capacity building and protection of natural resources and wildlife. At present the organization has already established Community Forestry Organizations in two districts namely: Boribor and Tephous Districts in Kampong Chhnang province and Krakor District in Pursat Province with a total of 11 CF established in 6 communes comprising 39 villages.  AEC is supported by OXFAM GB for a period of five (5) years from 2005-2010, The Asian Foundation (TAF) for (2) years from 2009-2010 and SADP all based in Phnom Penh.

1.2  Vision
A CAMBODIAN SOCIETY THAT IS JUST, HUMANE AND GENDER FAIR WHERE THE PEOPLES COLLECTIVE ACTION IS GEARED TOWARDS EMPOWERMENT AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND TO ENSURE THE PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE AND HABITAT AND THE USE OF FOREST RESOURCES IS EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

1.3  Mission
AEC WILL PURSUE TO PROVIDE BETTER LIFE SITUATIONS FOR SOCIO-ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED RURAL COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY FOREST AREAS THROUGH ADVOCACY, CAPACITY BUILDING OF CBOs/CF ORGANIZATIONS IN PROVIDING SHORT AND MEDIUM RANGE LIVELIHOOD ENTERPRISE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES, RELEVANT GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS, LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL NGOs AND OTHER VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS.

 

1.4  Core Values
Caring attitude
The AEC organization demonstrates compassionate support and concern for people dependant on forestry resources and their families. As part of the caring attitude, we educate, strengthen, and inform community members and their families.

Respectfulness
The AEC Organization honors the views and ideas of dependants on forestry resources, encouraging them to take effective control over their natural resources to benefit all. We respect the role that communities have towards management of their natural resources.

Integrity and accountability
The AEC organization has the highest level of integrity in its administrative, and outreach activities; we tie these activities directly to our mission, and we maintain and report our records accurately.

Responsiveness
The AEC organization finds solutions that meet the needs of people dependant on forestry resources and their families.

Excellence
We support and encourage visionary leadership, exemplary management, excellent service and program delivery, and exceptional staff. We value and uphold the highest ethical and professional standards in all working relations.

 

1.5  SWOT
SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Strengths are internal characteristics, qualities and capabilities that are doing well and are part of the reason the organization’s accomplishments. Weaknesses are internal qualities that need to be improved. Opportunities – refer to external activities or trends that the organization may benefit from, connect or take advantage of to grow or enhance its performance. Threats are external activities or trends that threaten the current and future success of the organization.

Strength
The AEC organization key strength include the organization’s demonstrated ability to provide high quality, necessary services which help people dependant on forest resources live a fuller life in the community. Staff is committed, and the services and programs offered are monitored for quality. When there is a challenge, the organization meets it through innovation. The AEC organization has an excellent reputation and is looked to by others service providers as a leader.

Weaknesses
Some believe that The AEC organization’s significant growth has led to challenges to human resources (lack of staffs), difficulty with supervision, and lack of good structure for coordination (have not enough staff to work in target areas). There is a perceived need for improved management practices, use of technology, and increased use of volunteers (community network) at community level. Issues with employment program were mentioned, including matching people to right job, training, and finding more opportunities.

Opportunities
The opportunities considered most important include:

  • Increasing community acceptance and opportunity for further support – There appears to be increased community support and increased openness by community members. This makes AEC organization work easier at community level.
  • The AEC organization beginning to move to a right based approach to service delivery; the legislative framework; the increasing demands of men and women dependant on forest resources and their families; changing government strategies; and a growing recognition of the issue of human rights in the country.

Threats
The threats considered most important include:

  • Dependence on donor funding- The AEC organization depends on donor funding that doesn’t fully meet all the needs of the organization, and some of the donors are short term. AEC needs to assess and explore other opportunities for generating income mostly at community level.
  • Staffing challenges – The AEC organization target areas are bigger enough yet the number of staff is very small and also affected high turnover. AEC needs to increase fundraising, empower employees and increase their opportunity for growth.
  • Land concession – Most of the Community Forests in the target areas of AEC are in Land concession which makes it hard for Community members to get their community forests approved by the government officials. The AEC organization needs to continue strengthening communities through building strong networks to gain confidence in demanding for their rights.

2. STRATEGIC ISSUES

  • Organizational Development
  • Fundraising
  • Human Resource Management and Development
  • Program (Gender)
  • Livelihood support
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Networking
  • Community Organizing
  • Advocacy

 

 
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