Affinity Group

Capacity-Building & Technical Assistance to Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Democracy-related organizations

AFFINITY GROUP: Together with the International Center for Transitional Justice, Documentation Center of Cambodia leading the development of an “Affinity Group” of documentation centers from around the world (the former Yugoslavia, Guatemala, Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Africa to share information and techniques, and work together to address the constraints shared by its members. The group, which plans to meet three or four times per year, would also call in international experts to help think through solutions to various technical documentation problems. The first meeting of the Affinity Group was held in Phnom Penh in March 2005.  Following an introduction to Documentation Center of Cambodia that included detailed discussions of our documentation and outreach work, the group address such topics as proceedings:

  • Trategic issues in collecting documents: how to connect documentary materials and forensic evidence with the broader goals of accountability, truth-telling, and justice. Prioritizing categories of documents, projects (e.g., oral history, primary documents, others), etc.
  • Technical issues in collecting, preserving and using documents (database management, collecting documents from multiple sources, massive state documents and collection challenges)
  • Case studies in documentation and planning for the future.

2019-2021: Similar to the Affinity Group Initiative, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) will mentor, on a research based approach, Extra-ordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC)-related or democracy-related initiatives needing technical expertise and capabilities in the documentation of crimes, allegations, or circumstantial evidence that could be leveraged in judicial or extrajudicial mechanisms of the future.  In addition, we can provide research based training modules covering organizational development and input on grassroots direct-action plans.

Guided by donor and stakeholder input, this activity will be initiated and run as a discreet invitation-based system, in which organizations can choose from a menu of training sessions that will be developed by DC-Cam staff who have decades of experience in a variety of documentation and organizational development related fields. In terms of documentation, our staff have skills ranging from developing and managing a catalogue system to techniques and procedures for ensuring admissibility before a court of law. DC-Cam has a superb reputation in grassroots direct action programs, and we have a robust range of lessons learned on how to navigate government channels to secure approval for projects, as well as how to work with local community leaders, minorities, and the people.  Finally, having translated our work into a universe of media that spans history, culture, law, and the arts, we can help organizations with our experiences and lessons learned in strategic communications, fund-raising, and fundamental concepts for organizational development and leveraging outside expertise.

DC-Cam has seen other organizations accomplish similar activities; our activity differs from those organizations’ activities not only in the menu of capabilities that DC-Cam brings to the table but also in its approach.  DC-Cam will offer its services with the utmost regard for privacy and the security of information.  Organizations engaged in human rights, democracy and the rule of law are under attack in Cambodia, and there needs to be greater regard for protection of their privacy and the security of their information.  DC-Cam will undertake this activity with strict protocols in place to minimize organizations’ and their staffs’ exposure to risk based on their participation in this program.

Outputs: 

  1. Full-day programs on documentation & organizational development lessons learned
  2. Sensitive Assessment Report on State of Civil Society Organizations
  3. Direct beneficiaries:  Human rights, rule of law, and democracy-related organizations (Estimated 6 organizations).
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