PHNOM PENH, August 28, 2015 –the United States Agency International Development (USAID) and its Development Innovations project joined the Cambodian NGO ACTION IEC in signing a memorandum of understanding with the nation’s top service provider Cellcard, to launch an online crowdfunding platform to support Cambodia’s civil society organizations (CSOs).
The “TOS Fund”- which means “Let’s Fund” in Khmer – will serve as an online fundraising channel for Cambodian CSOs seeking sustainable sources of funding as foreign sources decrease along with the growth of Cambodia’s economy. Most international crowdfunding platforms do not offer viable options for local payments, and Cambodia has limited online fundraising tools that enable Cambodians to support local causes. Developing adapted and localized crowdfunding technology can increase access to more sustainable local and international funding. As a result, Action IEC is taking the lead to launch Cambodia’s first ever crowdfunding platform.
Action IEC is a Cambodian civil society organization whose mission is to promote education through culturally appropriate media (video, radio, IEC, outreach, mobile shows and web). It has worked extensively with local and international civil society organizations in Cambodia over the last two decades, and has benefited from indirect funding from USAID.
“Action IEC’s crowdfunding platform can help local NGOs continue to contribute to Cambodia’s development,” said USAID Mission Director Rebecca Black. “The platform will build trust among Cambodian audiences by promoting quality in reporting criteria and a payment system that ensures transparency in how donations are managed,”
Under this partnership, Cellcard will co-sponsor this crowdfunding initiative, which includes the purchase of licenses for crowdfunding plugins, and provision of donation payment tools through SMS short codes and the Cellcard Payments Card. USAID’s Development Innovations will support platform development and promotion campaigns to attract popular interest and support for this initiative.
“There are many NGOs aimed towards contributing to the development of Cambodia’s civil society, but their challenges are many,” said Niek Van Veen, Cellcard’s Director of Marketing. “We believe that the success of these initiatives rely largely on local support and participation. The lack of awareness and the lack of means by which Cambodians can contribute to these initiatives is a hurdle that needs to be overcome. In partnership with the USAID and Action IEC, putting up the TOS Fund is aimed towards overcoming these barriers. As a telecommunications company we see it, not only as an opportunity to give back, but as a responsibility to provide connectivity, not only for the purpose of entertainment but more so to encourage collaboration on things that matter to them and makes an impact to their lives as a community.”
The official launch of the TOS Fund platform will take place in September 2015. Some 15 pilot campaigns are expected to reach large numbers of Cambodian citizens for their support and interests that matters to them. Based on the amount of funds raised, the pilot projects from the 15 organizations can be adapted and scaled up in the future with private sector funding and funding derived from the campaigns themselves.
“Crowdfunding is a new concept and it requires specific efforts and technology to work in Cambodia,” said ACTION IEC Project Coordinator Cedric Jancloes. This is why we are very lucky and grateful that the development sector and the mobile technology players are fully supportive. TOS FUND is a new gateway for people to help each other in Cambodia. There are many good social causes – and even more new amazing ideas appearing everyday that really need funding. We are about to connect those ideas with people and communities.”
For further information please contact:
Mr. Cedric Jancloes
Phone: +855 12 803 670
Mr. Niek Van Veen
CamGSM Co. Ltd (Cellcard)
Phone: +855 899 99700
Mr. Tongngy Kaing, Communications Officer
USAID Development Innovations Project
Phone: +855 016 335 800