Sister Ven Phala, who is 44 years old, and her 54 year old husband, ChheunChhorn, are a couple living with Phala’s elderly grandmother in Prey Thom village, KohKhork commune in Kampong Trabaek district, Prey Veng province.

Phala spoke to an ODOV field staff about some of the challenges that her family faced as a result of inadequate income, the family is a rice farming family that was often unable to pay for day to day expenses. Daily expenses included health expenses, food, and general family expenses. Many of the health issues are related to inadequate diet and food tainted with chemicals, including agriculture pesticides and insecticides. A significant amount of the family’s income is spent on paying for treatment and health care for sick family members. Phala decided to migrate on a semi-regular basis to address issues of inadequate income.

In May 2015 ODOV conducted project promotion on PICD activities and objectives in Prey Thom village. Sister Phala expressed interest in project activities and decided to participate. ODOV provided training to Village Bank (VB) members on nutritious household food preparation, integrated sustainable agriculture techniques adapted to climate change, as well as provided agriculture inputs to Sister Phala. Her family received ten different varieties of vegetable seed, seven kilograms of live   chickens procured from a local distributor, 300 fish fingerlings, and three bags of cement (150 kilograms in total). Sister Phala prepared a home garden, 800 m2, as well as raised chickens and fish. By raising chickens and fish and growing vegetables Sister Phala was able to reduce the amount of food purchased from the market and also sell extra agricultural production to earn additional income.  The family has been able to generate an additional $1.00 to $2.50 per day from the sales of chicken, vegetables, and fish. In addition to generating additional income and food for consumption Phala has been able to save $1.00 to $2.50 each month in the Village Bank to be used for future expenses.picture1Photo: Sister Phala feeding her Chickens

In the words of Sister Phala: “In the past I was not interested in vegetable cultivation or fish farming on the yard because it did not seem to be a good option for my family. When I decided to join the ODOV project and participated in the training sessions about vegetable cultivation, fish and chicken raising, and the benefits of a home garden I became very interested in these opportunities. My family now has chemical free vegetables and meat to eat every day, improved health, and a better income. It is important for people in the community to work together and be able to save money in the Village Banks in order to use in the future.”picture2Photo: Sister Phala harvesting fish from her pond

Sister Phala’s story is just one example of the work that ODOV is doing in Kampong Trabaek district to encourage local citizens to improve their lives through integrated community development. With the financial and technical assistance of MCC and CFGB many vulnerable farmers in Mesang and Kampong Trabaek districts have improved food security and income through the implementation of sustainable agriculture techniques. Household’s nutrition and hygiene has improved as a result of a number of different training sessions. Project participants also have access to localized financial institutions, Village Banks and Agriculture Cooperatives, which allows farmers to save and borrow money easily.

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