Story by Sony, ODOV Project Coordinator
If you were to travel from Spean Market to Prey Toteng Market through the Phao Village, Prey Toteng Commune, Mesang District, Prey Veng Province, you would see many small houses along your path. One of those houses belongs to Sister Savin. Sister Savin is 38 years old and her husband, Mr. Net Pha, is 47. Together they have two children, an 18-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter; Their daughter studies in grade 5. Sister Savin says that for her family things are very difficult because she is very poor and sometimes it can be difficult just to acquire the necessary amount of food to have three meals a day. Sister Savin’s husband decided to migrate to Phnom Penh to get a job carrying fruit, to supply fruit sellers, in an attempt to support his family better. Her son decided to stop studying in grade 7 to help find money to support the family and he works with his father. So, Sister Savin and her daughter live at home alone.
Her husband and son collectively can only make 25000 riel to 40 000 riel per day from carrying fruit. This money is not enough to support the family because her husband and son need to spend money to find accommodation, food, and medicine in the city. So, there is almost no money to send home to Sister Savin. Because her husband cannot make a lot of money he is unable to afford the trip home to visit his family. Sister Savin has 0.60 hectares of land for rice cultivation which brings in very little money and before she joined ODOVs project she did not have any other sources of income, such as other crops to sell or a small business. For three consecutive years, the weather has been unpredictable causing floods and drought which has caused her rice crops to yield less during harvest and the rice prices have also dropped significantly, preventing her from making a sustainable income.
In June 2016, Organization to Develop Our Villages (ODOV), began collaborating with village chiefs in Phao Village to select target households for the Improved Household Food Security Project (IHFSP) according to project criteria, and to promote the project. From the very beginning of promotion in Phao Village Sister Savin was very interested in taking part in the project, and once chosen to participate has enjoyed taking part. After joining the project, she attended training courses organized by ODOV staff about cultivating vegetables, raising poultry and fish, and making fertilizer. After she had received training she was very interested in raising poultry and making compost. Because of ODOVs technical support Sister Savin has been successful in raising poultry and making compost. Now she has 13 hens and 2 roosters for breeding, 33 chickens for selling for meat, and 80 chicks. She has been able to sell 13 kilos of chicken per month generating a monthly income of 200 000 riel. Sister Savin had never imagined that raising chicken at home could support her family financially.
Sister Savin said: “I am very happy with my work raising poultry. In the future, I want to have 35 hens. I especially want my daughter to continue studying and to get into university. I do not want her to stop studying like my son had to. In my home, I can now generate enough money to support my daughter to go to school. When I am able to raise more poultry my husband and son will not have to go to Phnom Penh for work. What I did not expect to learn about raising chickens at home was that banana trees, water grass, water melon, and foraged green leaves from around the house could be used to make natural chicken feed that would help my chickens grow faster.”
Lastly, Sister Savin is thankful to ODOV staff, who have spent a lot of time helping her to support her family by providing technical training and materials, such as 2 chickens, 30 meters of mesh for building her chicken enclosure, the materials for building 1 cage for keeping chicks, 1 gardening hoe, 2 watering cans, and 5-7 kinds of vegetable seeds. With support form ODOV Sister Savin will begin preparing the land in front of her home to grow vegetables for her household. She once viewed this land as insignificant, but ODOV has taught her that it can be used to support her family.