Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) GlobalGiving
Report for the “Empower 325 Cambodian Families to be Self Reliant” Project
August 01 –October 31, 2012
The main project activities for August to October were: providing trainings on enhancing capacity on pig and chicken raising techniques to the CBO of Kroach village and following up livelihood activities and saving components of all CBOs in eight villages, Damrey Pong commune, Chhlaung district, Kratie province, Cambodia.
Activities and achievements
After having integrated the fish, chicken and vegetable groups into one Self Help Group with 19 members in Kroach village, it has been found that the group was well functioning. It has regular monthly meeting and runs saving activities. The total of the SHG members has increased from 19 to 22. In addition after the capacity of group members on chicken and pig raising improved through training, 10 members out of 12 who wished to raise pigs have completed pig pen constructions and started to raise pigs while eight out of 10 members who wanted to raise chickens have completed housing pens but fencing around the housing pens made from cassava stems have not yet started as they have not yet harvested cassava.
The follow up showed that, the chicken groups in seven other villages did not function well in terms of having regular meeting, saving activities and productivity. These were due to the fact that most group members were busy with cassava plantation, had low trust in each other, relied on NGO’s facilitation, members did not pay back for loans, and had limited technical knowledge. Thus it led to low chicken productions for food and income.
Currently most chicken group members raise chickens for household consumption only. But few of them only had successes in chicken raising. For example, Mr. Uk Saraut, 49 years old, a member of CBO in Brohout village has fed his four family members with 35 chickens per year and generated USD 112 per year as surplus income.
Pig and fish groups raised the same challenges as chicken groups. Vegetable groups in all villages encountered quite the similar situation as the groups above. However, a small number of vegetable group members have sold their vegetable products to their neighborhood for a surplus income. For example, Mr. Kit Tone, 48 years old, a member of CBO in Brohout village, has fed his 9 household members enough vegetable and earned a net income of about USD 100 per year.
In addition, a 52 years old chief of vegetable group in Preykor village, Mrs. Soy Sophat, said that her family with 4 household members had enough vegetable to eat the whole year. Moreover, she earns 80,000 riels (USD 20) per year. Due to this low income she plans to increase it by selling vegetables during next year.
As most work of the groups was not very active, it led to a weak financial management in terms of recording loans and interests. Some of the groups suggested having further capacity building on administration and financial management.
Overall most CBOs were not quite active due for the main part to busy group members with cassava growing, less team spirit among the members in managing finance and paying loan back late and some members had limited will to pay back loan to their groups, limited agricultural skills and still having dependency on facilitation from NGOs. Therefore, it is important to continue to build further understanding about benefit of participation and team spirit among group members, provide further training on agricultural skills as well as administration and financial management, and follow up more frequently to CBOs members by project teams in order to make them become independent on managing groups to improve their sustainable livelihood development.
The report is mainly focused on progress of vegetable, chicken and fish groups of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Krouch village, Domrey Phong, commune, Chhloung district, Kratie province, Cambodia.
2. Project activities and achievements:
Saving activities: In vegetable growing and chicken raising groups there is saving component in each group. The main aim of saving is to provide members with accessibility to loans with less interest compared to microfinances. By the end of July 2012, financial status of both savings is presented on below table:
Table. 1 See attached report
3. Pictures of some activities: See attached file
Mr. Long Yin, SHG coordinator, said on behalf of SHG’s members” we will use this money with transparency and accountability to all members and donors. We use this money to raise pigs and chicken in order to improve food security and income for our families. We would like to grateful thank to donors and CRDT for your kind support to our community. Finally, we wish you all healthy, successful all the time.”
Among the issues playing on the minds of residents of Kroach Village in Damrei Phong, two have been in focus more than others in the past year: the effects of the floods on farming, and the imminent arrival of rubber companies on their land.“Following the drought there are few supplies of good seed, so I stopped farming vegetables in February to concentrate on cassava, plus I need to spend $15-$20 on supplies each time I want to sow seeds in my vegetable garden! We are growing white corn as well, but the market price this year is very low and much of our product was destroyed by the rain. The estimated difference is about 50%, as last year, 2 hectares was $5,000 but this year we'll only get $4,000 for 3 hectares. Talking about rice, I was very lucky as my family and another two or three families enjoyed a higher yield of rice because our fields are located in a hilly area rich in natural fertiliser after the floods, but other villagers were impacted negatively by the flood and got much less yield. The unusual rains and the market price of cassava have affected the villagers in Kroach and people in Damrei Phong commune as well. Especially those who have loans from micro credit institutions and are now going to find it hard to make their payments.”“One Cambodian company is now clearing forest not too far from the village's boundary and another two Vietnamese companies are staying silent about their plans. It will be a very bad thing for the villagers as the three companies' land boundaries is located close to the village's land and some parts are actually farming land currently held by villagers...”So now is an important time in the lives of those resident to Kroach and other villages in the Damrei Phong district of Kratie. The floods may have been last year, the but the effects go on and on, and with rubber companies on their doorstep, their situation may continue to be a precarious one.Please consider helping CRDT to help the people of Damrei Phong commune in 2012. There is still much to do.
Thank you for all your support so far, you were great in 2011, let's see if we can get this project funded in 2012!
We visited Srey Phoom in Kroach village last October in the midst of heavy flooding that affected areas all over Cambodia. The worst flooding for over a decade, thousands of people were forced to evacuate to higher ground after heavy rain washed bridges and homes away, and destroyed approximately 180,000 hectares of rice paddies across Cambodia.
Phoom told us that the whole of Kroach was affected in some way, and that those hit worst by the water were those living in the middle and at the edges of the village. “There was serious damage, it damaged the road and the bridges, some villagers houses, and the rice is sagging – saturated with water, the land around it subsiding - It destroyed almost 40% of all agricultural crops, and over 50% of the rice.”
50% is an unpleasant amount, the rice is the life of any Cambodian village.
“The road was destroyed along with the bridges, this created traffic jams all the way down to the main road, blocked the way due to the broken bridge. When people became ill it was very hard to send them to the clinic...” So how did they cope with all this? “When the flood was here, we rammed poles into the flooded ground, tied our houses to the poles because we were worried they would float away, we also tied the wooden bridge outside the village down. We saw that parts of the land that were higher than others had become islands. We used these to keep our food, cows and buffalo, chickens and other animals safe and dry. Also the children!” She adds.
“If a someone had an accident during this time we helped each other out by transporting these villagers to the safety of the flood islands, we provided food and water, fed them fish, veg and rice.”
Last time we talked we learned that some rubber companies had taken an interest in the land Kroach lies on for their new rubber farms, possibly 9000 hectares of land. Has she heard anything more on this worrying news since then?
“The companies are still present in the village, they have not agreed with us on the borders of the village. They're using GPS right now to find the area they have decided upon and are posting cement poles, but the villagers have had no say in this. The Provincial Governor said he will discuss this with the company and let us know...”
“This would be very serious, a big problems for us. The village will be greatly affected by this land concession. The border of the proposed farm is close to the village – our plantations and rice fields will be inside the border of the company's land. Our livelihoods depend on these plantations and rice fields. Rain and flood is one thing, if there is too much rain, or not enough, this is a problem – but a temporary one. The village would and always has worked together to get through these times, times that might last one or two years at most. If The government allow our land to be taken, it will be forever.”
Please consider helping out today by either making a donation, or spreading the word over your personal and professional networks. Any help you can provide will support the work of CRDT.
Massive flooding along the Mekong River in Cambodia has killed at least 150 people since August this year.
The worst flooding for over a decade, thousands of people have been forced to evacuate to higher ground after heavy rain washed bridges and homes away, and destroyed approximately 180,000 hectares of rice paddies across Cambodia.
Our trip to Kroach village to speak to Srey Phoom about this, and other things affecting her life and the life of the village was almost abandoned due to flooding along the road. A deep pool had formed at one point, It was hard to know if we could get the moped we travelled on through this pool, and as we stood knee deep in water discussing if we should attempt to go further or not, we saw many others reach the threshold of the pool, weigh up the risks, and turn back the way they came. Well, with some help from local characters we did make it, and rather than reading further account from me, why don't you just listen to Srey Phoom explain the village, life and current events in her own words. Over to you Srey Phoom.
"...Floods have caused big problems in the village - we were lucky because no one was killed. But the rains and the flooding that followed damaged much of the village's rice fields, I was lucky in that my own rice seems to have survived mostly. It's not just the rice, our plantations where we grow vegetables and other crops for the market and for ourselves have been destroyed by the water. My vegetable garden, and my potatoes and cassava. All the same."
"The vegetable garden started off by a CRDT activity here, well I grew long green beans, eggplants, cucumbers, corn and other things, they are good for our health and we only use organic fertiliser - but if you look at it now you can see it has been underwater for too long and the ground is ruined, it may be hard to grow there again, but I will try! So while there has been flooding we have had to buy the produce we once grew at the market or from other people, we are spending more money. We've set up a savings group which we hope will help. Getting to the market is tough of course, the waters will reduce eventually but travelling to other villages or to the market or anywhere really is very hard. The clinic is really difficult to get to..."
"...I know how to protect myself and my children from mosquitoes, and when the water is so high and the land always wet the number of mosquitoes really increases, children tend to get sick more often. The rainwater collector we have is very full right now! But without this the only other option for drinking water would be the dirty water from the streams. We still love using our biodigestor, without it we would have to cut down wood from the forests where there are many more mosquitoes - and in rainy season, it is very hard to cook with wet wood."
It was nice to see and hear Srey Phoom talk, she spoke of such difficulties, but I never get a sense that I am talking to someone beaten, someone crumbling under the pressures of modern village life. She is always strong, always willing to keep trying, always offering welcomes, meals and a place to rest your head. She provides. She is the modern Cambodian matriarch.
The water will recede eventually like Srey Phoom mentioned, but she did speak of one more thing that has them all scared in Kroach village, it had me scared too.
"...Everyone is worrying about their plantations right now as there are three companies that want to set up rubber farms here. We're not sure at the moment how the presence of these companies will affect the families, but we have heard that their plans might require 9000 hectares of land, that is about 80% of the available land in the village. We have asked local authorities, I have been to the Provincial Department of Land myself but have had no answer, the Provincial Governer even made a visit here, but he had nothign to say on the matter.
We have asked for this area of land (Srey Phoom draws a map on the ground with a stick) to be kept out of any future plans from these companies. But no one is saying anything, we hope the companies will not be allowed to take our land. There has been something strange happening recently though, rich people, powerful people have been making trips here arranging to buy the land themselves. I think they have heard of the plans of the rubber companies and are buying the lands themselves so they can sell it to the companies for a higher price. We're all very worried."
It was hard to know what to say to her.
On Wednesday October the 19th, GlobalGiving will be matching all donations at 30%. They have $100,000 available in matching funds. You could help us secure some of those funds for Kroach village by spreading the word, or by donating yourself on the 19th.
If you want to spread the link for our project page please copy and paste this: http://bit.ly/E325CF2bSR
It all kicks off at 00:00 EDT, which is:
00:00 in Washington,
05:00 in London,
11:00 in Cambodia,
13:00 in Tokyo,
and 15:00 in Melbourne... all on Wednesday October 19th 2011.
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