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Learning by Doing: An Analysis of the Seila Experiences in Cambodia

Authors Jan Rudengren
Joakim Öjendal
Publisher Sida
Place of publication Stockholm
Publication year 2002
Published at Department of Peace and Development Research
Language en
Keywords development cooperation, Seila, Cambodia
Subject categories Peace and development research


The Royal Government of Cambodia’s Seila programme and its support project CARERE2 that was implemented in 1996 – 2001, is the objective of this study. The purpose of the study to analyse the relative success of the programme is threefold: to increase the knowledge of the Seila programme and spread its experiences to a larger public than those involved with the programme; to analyse why the programme was a success and finally to investigate if the Seila experiences may be replicable to other development programmes.

The report starts with a description of Seila and the support projects and the history of how the programme was conceptualized. The first part of the study concludes with an explanation of the Seila programme in terms of concept, systems and structures and delivery of poverty alleviation investments and services.

After setting the scene the report tackles its main purpose to analyse the circumstances, factors, processes and role of government and donors in explaining the success of Seila. The authors analyse and seek explanations for success in four main areas: (1) the circumstances and environment where the programme was conceived, formulated and implemented; (2) the programme’s vision, plan, design and management, (3) the Cambodian society and government response and adoption of the Seila experiment; and (4) the role of the donors.

In the third part ‘Consequences and Conclusions’ the internal and external critique of the Seila programme is summarized. Finally, the description, analysis and discussions are brought together in the concluding chapter, where implication for the Seila success on contemporary development theories paradigms are analysed and the possibility of replicability, fully or partly, to other development initiatives and what the implications are for the stakeholders should they decide to replicate the Seila programme.

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