ODOV’s rural development work focuses in two main sectors, food and livelihood security, and vocational training. To read impact stories about our food and livelihood security projects or our vocational training projects, follow these links. Below is additional information and history of specific projects ODOV has carried out in the past several years.
Vocational, Character, and Performance Training
The goal of this project is for youth, female and male, to obtain their desired vocational training and career-readiness skills. The youth will have demonstrated increased technical knowledge and skills including sewing and tailoring, appliance repair, moto-cycle repair, and cosmetics and hairdressing and increased career-readiness knowledge and skills (calculating business expenses and start-up costs, setting up selling price/profit margins, marketing, simple record keeping, customer service, and creating business plans).
Through vocational training with Master Crafts People (MCP) and guidance of project staff on business management, participants will be able to use those skills to start businesses and explore additional future employment opportunities. The project is designed to address issues of poverty associated with limited economic opportunities as well as un/under-employment, inadequate education, and high rates of migration from Prey Veng province. ODOV envisions Prey Veng as a community of farmers and entrepreneurs who work together to raise their standard of living and provide for their families through a sustainable development model. This project is an important piece of that vision. This project will focus on youth from disadvantaged households. Over the three years of the project, 135 youth, who are no longer involved in formal schooling, from Mesang, Kampong Trabek, and Baphnom districts, will be targeted as participants.
Improved Food Security and Livelihoods for Vulnerable Farmers
The Organization to Develop Our Villages (ODOV) has been implementing a five year agriculture and livelihood project funded by Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) through Mennonite Central Committee, Cambodia. The project is located in four districts of Mesang, Kampong, Trabek, BaPhnom, and Peam Chor in Prey Veng Province, Cambodia. These districts, the farmers faced with challenges including the impact of climate change, low agriculture yields, low price in agriculture products and poor livelihood opportunity. These factors led to increase food insecurity and migration for vulnerable farmers. Additionally, the communities have limited understanding of gender and gender’s roles that increases workloads for women, preventing them to obtain with opportunity for self-development.
This project aims to enhance food security, livelihood and gender equality. This will be achieved by providing agriculture inputs, technical agriculture resources, and trainings. Training topics will include climate-smart farming techniques, nutrition principles and hygiene and gender awareness, women rights and peace. The project will work to strengthen the capacity of AC’s leadership to and producer groups self-functioning. Moreover, this project will also work to support Agriculture Cooperative’s member and women to be engaged in community decision making.
At the completion of this project, there will be 5,729 direct beneficiary households (3,252 women) who will be impacted by this project. This number includes 1,440 children (50% girls), 1028 new and existing households of P1&P1 (599 women) within 72 existing villages, this includes 300 new households and 728 existing households, 180 Commune Technical Team members (50% women), 922 Producer Group’s members (408 women), 95 AC’s leadership’s members (35 women) and 4,289AC’s members (2,532 women). This project will be implemented in 90 villages, 10 communes and four districts in Prey Veng Province, Cambodia.
This project has several main aspects, including supporting target households in sustainable agriculture practices, training households and children on essential nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene, capacity development of Agricultural Cooperative leadership, supporting Producer Groups, gender empowerment, and environmental sustainability.
A. SUPPORTING THE TARGET HOUSEHOLDS IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PRACTICES
The project will select the vulnerable households classified by the government as Poor 1 and Poor 2. Gender equity and equality are of great significance to ODOV; thus, the organization will provide equal opportunity for both women and men to participate the project.
ODOV will train vulnerable households of Poor and Poor 2 on climate change resilient agricultural techniques. These training will be conducted at the village level. The topics will include but are not limited to the cause and effect of climate change, agricultural climate change adaptation techniques – mulching, compost making, drip or sprinkling irrigation, off-season vegetable growing such as growing on shelves or in the greenhouse. The adaptive to climate change farming technique; however, requires skills and resources for the trained beneficiaries to apply the technique. It is, therefore, the project expects to provide productive assets to the trained beneficiaries, namely fish pond, drought and flood-tolerant vegetable seeds, and materials for poultry production and vegetable production. Once a household is trained in techniques it is important that they also receive agriculture inputs within a short time span so that they can put the training into practice.
The project will be working with Agriculture Cooperatives in providing agriculture inputs to support the households. In order to be eligible for the households in receiving support from cooperatives, the project will also create the necessary linkages between the households and the ACs, motivating these households to participate as members of cooperatives. The previous phases of the project provided seed money for the development of Agriculture Cooperatives. These institutions now have the necessary capital available, as a result of household’s repayment of inputs, to reinvest into new target households. The ACs, with their capital, will purchase inputs and provide to the households, the households will be expected to repay 100% of the cost of inputs to the Cooperatives. Normally, the repayment will take place in the form of installment which takes between 6 to 36 months. ODOV will also work in collaboration with ACs to ensure that ACs are properly recording distribution and repayment of inputs. The agriculture inputs include vegetable seeds, fish fingerlings, farming tools and materials, chickens and materials for chicken shelters.
One of the most persistent challenges in the current project is inadequate access to water during the dry season. A growing concern throughout Cambodia is the depletion of underground water resources, these resources are being overused and cannot keep up with demand. To address these concerns ODOV will support farmers with digging fishponds. The ponds will store rainwater and serve multiple purposes including a space to raise fish, thus providing an alternative to raising chickens which are susceptible to disease, consistent water access through the dry season for livestock, and a water source for vegetable gardens. These ponds will act as a form of Disaster Risk Reduction to hazards caused by inadequate water. Upon completion of the training and distribution of inputs, including fishponds, households received ongoing technical support from the ODOV field staffs. This support included every two months farmer to farmer learning forums and individual household visits by field staff.
An underlying theme of the project is community empowerment and increasing ownership of the development process. Therefore, it is important that beneficiaries are engaged in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of the project. ODOV’s envision that the communities will take ownership in addressing their own problems.
B. Training households and children on essential nutrition, water sanitation, and hygiene
As the target households produced food and have accessed to diverse food production so that they understand in proper food utilization. Thus, ODOV trained these households on essential nutrition that breast-feeding, complimentary food preparation, three food groups (protection, energy, and building), nutritious food preparation techniques, sanitation and hygiene. With knowledge of essential nutrition, the households applied in daily life to improve the well-being of their families.
Improving the know about three food groups, nutritious food preparation techniques, sanitation and hygiene for the parents alone are not enough yet for a healthy family, it needs to have full participation from their children in applying proper hygiene in their daily’s life. This project, ODOV assisted the Village Technical Team Members to organize village promotional meetings about hygiene and hand-washing every quarter for the children from 7-12 years of age, in total there were 1,440 children (50% girls) benefited.
C. Capacity Development of Agriculture Cooperative Leadership
ODOV has used the Agriculture Cooperative (AC) model as a method of sustainable development for nearly six years. This has included the creation of seven Cooperatives funded by the CFGB projects plus an additional three funded through other sources. This project, ODOV supported to all ten ACs with the ultimate goal of self-sustaining, locally operating, agriculture institutions. ODOV continued to support them and provide increased capacity development training. The total number of AC members expect to reach at 4,289 (2,532 are women) and benefit from the project life cycle.
ACs are key to the success and sustainability of the project within the target communes. Therefore, a significant emphasis of the project will increase the capacity of AC leadership and their members to become self-managing and self-sufficient. The ACs were developed by ODOV as a model to sustainably address community issues including access to capital, savings, fair market prices (for members purchasing agricultural inputs for a fair price since the ACs can purchase in bulk, as well members receive a good price for their product when selling collectively), and other agricultural challenges within the region. There are two factors that are critical in the success of Agriculture Cooperatives: 1. The capacity of Cooperative leadership and 2. The capacity of members. This project, ODOV will emphasize capacity development for both groups. This will be accomplished through the following methods:
ODOV staff attend mandated monthly leadership meetings, annual assembly and other meetings as necessary to observe and monitor the progress, challenges as well as provide technical support to AC leadership in carrying out their core task and cooperative businesses.
ODOV staff organizes the learning forums between AC and AC for every quarter for sharing information, monitoring the progress, challenges as well as provide technical support to AC leadership as necessary. The support will be included the topics of gender, peace and environment awareness integrating into the learning forums.
Organize the workshops with AC leadership to review AC’s bylaws, vision, mission, and annual plan. The bylaws will be included in the section of using AC’s capital in the ways that minimize the effect of the environment. The bylaws also should add that 50% of women in leadership’s roles. It is not simply enough to have 50% women leadership, but it is crucial that there is also knowledge within the leadership about gender concepts and equality. The women serve in leadership roles as such AC structure, it there be a significant opportunity for women empowerment and social change in the further.
Currently, the ACs have constitutions/bylaws, internal regulations manual for AC’s leadership. ACs have also standardized accounting and record-keeping processes. However, in order to be fully financially transparent and professionally, ODOV supported the development of a Cooperative financial manual/ policy.
ODOV staff conductes the workshops with AC’s leadership to develop their capacity’s plan and reflect on the progress for every six months. ODOV will use the internally developed AC Capacity Measurement tool to understand areas of growth within the Cooperatives.
As part of capacity development, ODOV will organize exposure visit for AC’s leadership to learn the successful or best practice of other ACs in the other areas.
Empowerment of AC members is a critical factor in the sustainability of Agriculture Cooperatives. ODOV found that not enough was done to facilitate Cooperative member’s empowerment including capacity development for AC’s member about rights as well as their involvement with ACs. There was an inadequate engagement between members and leaders. Some members did not know who was on the leadership committee due to a lack of engagement and some members had limited understanding of AC bylaws as well as the benefits of participating in the Cooperative. This project will emphasize leader-member engagement and the value of AC participation. Since ODOV believes that the Cooperative model is the most appropriate for this context it is crucial that members understand the value of their participation. It is also important that members understand the rules, regulations, and their rights as members in order to hold AC leadership accountable for them. When ODOV is no longer providing support to the ACs, it is necessary that members are informed of Cooperative practices so that the AC will be able to function independently. With increased engagement, it is more likely that Cooperatives will grow and be able to meet community needs. Engaging members will also lead to increase capital, increased capital also provides opportunities for increased AC business opportunities. Member’s involvement and engagement lead to financial transparency and trust among members. ODOV will help facilitate engagement between AC leadership and members with the following approaches: ODOV will provide technical and fund support to ACs to prepare the promotional materials and conduct village promotional meetings with AC’s members to disseminate information about the benefit of participating with AC, AC’s bylaws and other AC’s businesses. In these events, members will have a chance to raise questions to leaders and learn more about the Cooperatives.
ODOV will coach AC leaders to prepare annual assemblies and make sure that the members participate in these gatherings.
ODOV will coach members of ACs to participate in the mandated monthly meeting of leadership so that members will be updated on and able to understand the organization of AC leadership, planning, and financial structures and decisions. The location of leadership meetings changes from month to month, depending on the location of the leadership committee members. AC general members will be encouraged to attend and observe leadership meetings in the village closest to their homes.
AC leadership will be encouraged to attend the monthly village meetings of the target households to disseminate information about ACs to members. AC leaders will also be encouraged to share information about ACs through informal conversations with target households or others during ceremonies or other community events. They can then report these engagements during their monthly meetings.
ODOV will also coach AC’s leadership to conduct house to house field visits to explain the importance of their participation with the ACs as well as to receive feedback from members. Through these visits, AC leadership can engage their members.
D. Supporting Producer Groups
The current phase of the project has worked to develop Producer Groups for the different agricultural goods that target households are producing (poultry and vegetables). Some Chicken Producer Group members have been selling their poultry collectively, but not all members sell collectively yet. ODOV has the desire to see the Producer Group members selling their products collectively. There are a few reasons behind the idea to support the producer group to sell vegetable or poultry products collectively. Firstly, the individual farmer finds it difficult to negotiate the price with the intermediary. The intermediary normally reduces the price of vegetable and poultry products. At the same time, the individual farmers have less access to market price information regarding vegetable and poultry, resulting in low price gain from selling the products. Secondly, limited access to transport products to the local market is a concern from the small-scale farmers. Thus, the project would motivate and encourage to establish and strengthen the Producer Group. The group expects to support the individual farmer to negotiate products price (vegetable and poultry), expand market network, facilitate transportation of products to local market, member of the producers will have a regular meeting to share knowledge, ideas, and concern regarding the group operation as well as the way to improve the vegetable production and poultry raising such as poultry disease control and prevention. In this phase, ODOV will continue to strengthen the Producer Groups on technical and marketing aspects within 10ACs, in total there will be 18 producer Groups. ODOV wants to see all 18 Producer Groups, regardless of agricultural product, producing and selling collectively. Our strategy is as follows:
- Continue to select and form vegetable producer at least five members per village.
- Continue to follow up and providing technology to support producer group including selling collectively, production plans, networking and marketing.
- Continue to select and form chicken producers at least ten members per village.
- ODOV will trial simple affordable egg incubator designs and if successful introduce to group members. ODOV will provide technical support in the building of incubators but will not provide the material resources.
- Continue to follow up and providing technology to support producer group including selling collectively, production plan, networking and marketing.
- Recruit households who have space and express interest in raising fish or fish with duck. ODOV will introduce the idea of an integrated fish and duck system; however, will not provide duck inputs. ODOV will arrange learning visits to farmers that are successfully implementing this system.
- Support farmers in making enclosed dam systems for raising fish. The farmers can decide to raise only or fish with paddy rice, it is depending on their interest. ODOV has seen that large-scale fish production has the potential to be profitable. ODOV will provide technical support to those who choose to convert paddy to enclosed dam systems for raising fish. However, the expenses of these large scale enclosed dam systems will not be covered by the project.
- Continue to follow up and providing technology to support to producer group including selling collectively, production plans, networking, and marketing.