By Se Chhin – Cambodia

It is obvious that every country has its own issues. But it is the matter of how they deal with the problems. Often time, non-profit sector play crucial role in tackling those challenges both at grassroots level and at higher levels for policy change. Spending a day at the capital city of Montana, Helena, I have much better understanding of how creative the NGOs here are in terms of advocating for public policy change and building a health NGO. Thanks for Ms. Liz Moore, the Executive Director of Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA), for sharing her experience through her work at MNA to us today.

I have observed that NGOs in Montana have worked collaboratively toward one goal. Each organization can see the bigger picture of the issue, which I think it is not often seen my country. In addition, I am very impressed to know how innovative the NGOs here are in regards to engaging corporates and the government to support their causes. The collaboration is not only influence the public policy but also benefiting for individual organizations. Ms. Moore shared that being a member of MNA, an organization can benefit from cost saving products and services including business and staff insurance, office supplies and so on. In Cambodia, we do have membership organizations; but they mainly focus on policy change and build the capacity of their members. Definitely, I will share what I learned today to those membership organizations.

The board directors for an NGO here are very important when it comes to building the organization reputation and fund raising. One of an interesting example was that the board directors are expected to make majority or 100% of their donation to the organization they sit in. When asked to rate from 1-10 of the important role of the board directors in our countries, majority of the fellows rated around 5 or even lower. It is completely different in the US.

Transparency is really incredible here. Information and documents are by law required to share with public or on request. You can even ask for the details from funding sources. Again, it is opposite in my country.

Our day ended with an extremely exciting news. Guess what!!!! All of us will get to meet Mr. President Barack Obama. Yeahhhhhhhhh 🙂


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