A Study on the Governance Communication Process in Cambodia

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The study analyzed the governance communication process in the context of youth representation in three selected communes in Cambodia in 2014. The study was conducted in the communes of Kandek, ChuengTuek, and Khmounh, where located in two provinces and one city of Siem Reap, Prey Veng, and Phnom Penh, respectively. It is based on and applies the model type of governance communication by Dr. Flor.

It identified the constructs that guide governance communication practices among CYRs in Cambodia. It also determined how governance communication is operationalized in the participatory commune. Additionally, It determined features of governance communication within the works of CYR. And it also attempted to establish the functions of governance communication in commune youth representation based on the experiences of CYRs.

Surveys and key informant interviews were the methods employed in the study. There were 300 respondents (voting age) who were the villagers of the communes. Key informants were the commune councils and CYRS.

A majority (58.7%) of villager respondents were female, and 76.3 percent of respondents were married. Most of the respondents (55.3%) were aged between 18-35 years old, followed by those falling in the 36-50 age bracket (23.7%). 34.7 percent were rice farmers. While nearly 29 percent were living under one dollar and a half a day, only eleven percent were able to earn over 600,000 reels, which is 150 dollars a month. There were 12 key informants of commune councils from three selected communes. They worked closely with the CYRS. There were nine male key informants and only three female key informants as commune councils. Most of them (75%) belonged to the 51-66 age bracket. There were two female CYRs, and two CYRSs were already married. All belonged to the 18-35 age bracket. Two were university graduates, and one was attaining a university degree. The interpersonal meeting was mainly used as a communication medium

A little more than half of the respondents were aware of CYRS' work. Most of them were respondents from Prey Veng, which accumulated 25 percent of the total respondents. All commune councils were aware of the works of CYRs.

The CYRS' activities performed as a public information informer and a public educator mostly during the public forum. All CYRs' works focused on increasing the number of participants in commune activities. The CYRS worked variously on creating awareness as well as socially mobilizing people to pay attention to educational issues (such as school registration and personal health care and hygiene). Some works of CYRS even pressed further to improve governance of the commune councils' works. They also used interpersonal meetings to engage more participation in commune activities. Youth networks and public state officers such as teachers were employed by the CYRS to spread out information regarding the commune activities.

Primary stakeholders of CYRs were the community, NGOs, commune councils, and youth networks. The primary stakeholders were participating in meetings, fundraising, and other commune activities initiated by the CYRs. According to the village respondents, the CYRS rarely worked alone; they kept engaging commune councils and villagers together. They worked widely with different groups.

Their performances were assessed by over half of 163 villager respondents as excellent performances. Yet, none of the villagers thought that the CYR's performance was poor. Similarly, fifty percent of key informants from Kandek and ChuengTuek gave excellent marks to CYR's works. Except, key informants from Khmounh marked the CYR's work as satisfactory.

CYRs also clearly demonstrated their goals of focusing on engaging more participation of villagers and commune councils in the commune activities. They also aimed to become public educators on health, environment, and current social issue. The majority of respondents also agreed that a CYR had goals. However, a few commune councils denied that CYR had any clear goal since they kept changing. But the majority of commune councils' key informants believed that CYR had clear goals since their goals were mainly to help inform the public about development in the commune and increase youth participation.

Different messages were used in communicating with different stakeholders. Messages were focused on raising awareness, expressing togetherness, promoting education, using educational messages, and demonstrating through activities. These important messages had used by the CYRs throughout their campaign and mobilizing social activities.

Both respondents and the majority of commune council key informants agreed that the number of CYRs was not enough. They advocated for different numbers of CYRs within communes. The majority of villagers' respondents advocated for "three CYRs" since there would be more opportunities for youths and more tasks to be done.

The majority of both the commune council's key informants and villager respondents agreed that CYRs should have a set mandate. Their claim is based on the notion of providing enough time for CYR to complete big tasks. The majority of 255 respondents thought that "three years" were enough time for a mandate. Respondents from Kandek (38%), Cheung Tuek (25%), and Khmounh (19%) believed that "five years" was the best time for a mandate. Only 4% of Kandek respondents believed that "two years" was a good time for a mandate, but 29% of Khounh respondents suggested "two years" for a mandate.

CYR faced challenges in their work, especially resources (times and funds). CYR from Cheung Tuek believed that he needed more mechanisms jointly created by the commune councils and related stakeholders. However, commune councils defined that the lower maturity 

age of the CYRs was one of the main issues in managing their tasks. Yet, the majority of villagers' respondents believed that the limitation of public spaces was the main challenge for CYRS' works.

Governance communication in commune youth representation has served vitally in- maintaining security, providing general education on basic knowledge, and increasing the number of participants in voters' and registers or commune activities. Governance communication is also performed as a tool to raise funds and maintain or build public infrastructure, improving transparency and commune council governance functions.


An analysis of the governance communication process of the CYR's works based on a model created by Dr. Flor indicated that the model is, to some extent, compatible in this context. Although, there was also a need to understand the state of communication among the stakeholders in this process. Interviewing different stakeholders was also conducted to identify the goals of CYRS. The core value of CYR's works was likely witnessed by the village and commune councils since they were able to objectively determine those CYRs. Informal mediums such as youth networks and personal meet have been used to engage effectively and economically villagers and commune councils in commune activities due to the limitation of technology in most rural areas. However, CYRs had become the public communicator themselves by practicing these features of governance communication.

Since the study did not measure all the achievements resulting from CYRS' works, it focused only on villager participation in three types of meetings. Although it had remarkable increases in commune development plan meetings, monthly meetings, and public forums, it could not come to a complete conclusion on whether or not there was also a completed performance review of CYRS' work in engaging the people participating. The numbers of villagers participating in those meetings were still very small compared to the population of their communes. However, CYRS were able to raise awareness regarding participation in commune throughout their mandates.

One of the major stakeholders of CYRS' works, youth networks, may be included in the key informant interview because of their involvement in delivering messages and organizing events. They were considered by the CYRS as task forces and communication channels.

The study was an attempt to answer how CYRS implement governance communication theory and practice in their commune. This research question had proven that, in fact, CYRs had demonstrated goals, strategic thrust, and core values throughout their activities. Although they did not aware of governance communication, they managed to communicate with stakeholders within their medium and possibility. There was no significant proven achievement besides the increasing percentages of participation in commune activities.

Positive response upon CYRS was consistently high among all villager respondents and the commune council's key informants. This means that CYRs were widely accepted as the new institution in their communes, although there were a lot of flaws within the new institution and authorization.

The results of the study are envisioned to be useful to the continuing program on youth representation in the communes of Cambodia. Since the study has shown that the people and commune councils already had high expectations and positive assessments of CYRS' works, the effort should now focus on employing mechanisms and ordinances for CYRS. The mechanism and ordinance could be an important tool in the decentralization process and motivation of CYRS. As the study already discussed in the previous section, the national youth policy already existed in the chapter on increasing youth participation and representation. As the policy stated clearly, to advocate formal mechanism for the effective participation of youth in civil society and youth's representation in national commissions or national councils and any other commissions at the sub-national level and regional level, and guarantee integration of youth into the process of decentralization and co- decentralization.

CYRs also need to equip with more knowledge of basic law and regulation and more communication education in order to build their capacity and improve effective campaigns. They might be able to learn by doing, but the most effective and solid ways to build a successful campaign should be obtained from both practice and theory. Since it has been more than two years since some CYRS was officially elected, they are now in a position to receive more feedback and measure the effects the campaign has caused among its intended audience.

Given that participation in the program was significantly increased and CYR's performance was remarkably positive, a regular public space, certain resources, and other facilities where both commune councils and villagers should be provided.

Since the study has shown that governance communication, to some, extend, existed in CYR's works, more efforts to engage youth representation and participation in commune activities should be increased. The benefits of CYR in increasing participation and improvement of governance are not direct to development and decentralization. But, people could perceive the positive effects of the CYRs' works.

CYR's or CYRE's model could be conducted at the village level, with monitoring from commune councils and CYRS. By conducting the CYRE in the village, CYR could easily target networks and potential task forces to work with. On the other hand, the commune councils should also recognize works and establish feedback on CYRS since those comments were carried from the grassroots.


Since the study did not go into measuring all achievement done by CYRs in quantitative value, it could not make a conclusion on whether or not there was also physical effects and sustainability of the CYR's programs. Further studies could look into this aspect. Moreover, other studies could now look into the impact of CYR's works in terms of changing villagers' behavior toward any particular issue.

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A Study on the Governance Communication Process in Cambodia. (2023, Mar 09). Retrieved May 21, 2024 , from

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