|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Output 1: Enhanced Skills and Management Capacity of Micro- and Small Enterprises.
Implementation of skills training and capacity building programs is highly satisfactory, with over half of all planned activities successfully completed. Support is being extended to 30 producer groups in 11 villages to improve production and market access for 6 product lines that were selected based on value chain analysis conducted shortly after project inception. A total of 852 MSE operators (61% women) have participated in project-supported training, workshops, and seminars on topics such as handicraft design and production, cashew nut/palm sugar processing, food hygiene, and management of business development groups. To date, 26 master trainers (100% women) have been trained on improved production techniques and quality control for silk and cotton textiles, basketry and woven mats. Master trainers are now conducting cascade training for the 15 producer groups involved in weaving activities (textiles, basketry, woven mats). Weavers report a modest increase in the sale of baskets and mats directly to tourists at Sambor Prei Kuk as well as good demand for improved designs at national trade fairs.
Output 2: Development of a Craft and Local Product Market, Community Production Centers and Exhibition Facilities.
Sambor Prei Kuk Market is currently under construction, with physical completion at 95%. The facility is designed in traditional Khmer style and will provide space for approximately 50 vendors, with significant room for expansion. Tathiv Village Cashew Shelling Center is completed and being used by 383 members of the Prasat Sambor Cashew Association. Promotional materials (posters, brochures, labels, etc) for Kampong Thom products have been produced as part of the 'Ke' branding initiative. The project team is in the process of installing exhibits at Artisans Association of Cambodia (AAC) display room in Phnom Penh and MOT's Tourist Information Center in Siem Reap. Both locations receive a high volume of tourists and AAC's facility provides exposure to national and international craft traders. A new night market is being developed by the project in Kampong Thom Town.
Output 3: Business Support Services, Networking, Marketing and Life Skills.
Implementation of activities to strengthen business support services, networking, and life skills is highly satisfactory. As a result of project-supported training all target villages have established business development groups that offer improved access to village-based credit and support for financial planning. Total revolving capital in village banks has risen significantly, with 97% of all households in the project area reporting that they have access to affordable credit. The project team is steadily rolling out the 'Ke' branding initiative in cooperation with the Artisans Association of Cambodia. Other recent accomplishments include: (i) official establishment of the Prasat Sambor Cashew Association, (ii) participation in three national trade shows, and (iii) exchange visits between with the Children's and Women's Development Center in Kampot and village focal points. The November 2012 life skills training (financial management and negotiating skills) was attended by 34 (76% women) representatives of weaving business groups.
Output 4. Project Management, Monitoring and Audit.
The project is being effectively managed and supervised by the Ministry of Tourism-based project coordination team (PCT) and a multisector project implementation team (PIT) based in Kampong Thom. The project's 12 member steering committee (PSC) has met five times since project inception to review project progress, provide policy guidance, and review and approve each semi-annual work plan. Implementing partners and the project's target villages are broadly represented during planning and review meetings. The project management structure is as envisaged during appraisal. Counterpart contributions to support project staff, office space in the MOT/Kampong Thom Provincial Tourism Department, and other in-kind items such as land and labor have been provided without delay and are satisfactory. Knowledge products such as the baseline study, gender equity and participation plan, training manuals, and other studies and reports are publically available and downloadable from the project website www.samborpreikuk.org.