I (Yim Sok Sophors) was participating in an external evaluation of the project, entitled “Improving Livelihood of the most Vulnerable Families for Protection of Human Trafficking and Unsafe Migration) in Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces from 23 to 26 September 2009 with Mr. San Sorn, Mr. Yi Sok San (IOM), Mrs.Tevy (an official of Ministry of Women’s Affairs) and other 2 external evaluators from CDRI. This external evaluation was conducted in purpose to measure the achievements and impacts of the project. It is to remind this project is funded by IOM (International Organization for Migration) for a period of 18 months from June 2008 to December 2009. The specific objective of this project is to improve the livelihood of vulnerable farmers through dissemination of agricultural technical innovations.

This evaluation was conducted in various methods, including individual interview with key stakeholders of the project such as officials of Department of Women’s Affairs at the provincial level, local authorities (village chief), target families, CEDAC staff who involved in implementing this project, IOM staff, etc. Additionally, the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with the project’s target groups(cooperating farmers and key farmers, saving groups, sugar palm producer groups) were also organized in the project’s target villages.

According to my observation, in general, I see that the project has achieved good results in improving the livelihood of the target groups (migrant workers, the poorest families…) as the target groups have hugely gained the knowledge and skills of agricultural innovations (ecological chicken raising, system of rice intensification, solid compost, liquid compost, vegetable growing, sugar palm production…) very well. For example, the project has strengthened key farmers (3-5 key farmers per village) who are the main resource persons in agricultural extension in the villages. It is able to highlight that a cooperating farmer in Thom village, Thnot commune of Kompong Ror district, Svay Rieng province, could earn about 200,000 riels from vegetable selling per month that he had never ever made any incomes from vegetables before the intervention of the project. Many other cooperating farmer families have improved their incomes from innovations introduced by the project (like collective selling of sugar palm, know-how to produce powder sugar palm…). However, the reduction of chemical pesticide for dry season rice production is still limited and need to be taken into account.

In addition to this evaluation, Mr. Yi Sok San, IOM staff, has impressed that “CEDAC has achieved a very good result”. Moreover, the official of Ministry of Women’s Affairs also highly appreciated to our effort and commitment to accomplish a very good result of this project. They all considered that the livelihood component implemented by CEDAC is a good case to be widely disseminated as it is an effective way for prevention of human trafficking and unsafe migration. They believe that income instability is the main root of cause of migration. The evaluation report will be produced by the evaluators as soon as possible.

What I have learned from this evaluation:

1.The evaluator did not select the target families by themselves but they allowed the project staff to select for them, it is purposively selected.
2.It is good that stakeholder interview was conducted before the farmer interview and group discussion in the village because the evaluators could gain basic understanding and overview of the project before conducted in-depth study in the field.
3.The detail program of the evaluation should be prepared firstly and distributed to relevant people in order to make easier for arrangements.
4.Questionnaires should be developed separately for stakeholder interview, cooperating and key farmer interview, etc because different actors involved in different activities of the project.
5.At the next time, the project should also recruit a field community to help farmer community facilitator so that the project would be able to carry out more activities and achievements in the field.
6.Thematic workshops on the topic of chemical pesticide should be organized more often in order to raise awareness among the rice farming families who conducted dry season rice production as they use much chemical pesticide.
7.More external study tours should be organized for the potential farmers in order to speed up the progress of innovation dissemination.