The monthly meeting of the project team “IFWP-MP/Improving Livelihood for Women and Rural Poor in Mundulkiri province” was conducted on January 04, 2010 at CEDAC headquarter in Phnom Penh. All project team members included Mr. Yim Sok Sophors, Mr. Pol Samath, Mr. Mak Samath, Mr. Nhim Sokea, Mr. Pheung Kosal, Mr. Pel Sovann and Miss. Som Charya participated in the meeting. We have discussed and shared about the activities and results in December 2009.

In December 2009, the project conducted some activities, such as organizing extra study tour for 39 interested farmers (they are all the indigenous minority people, called Phnong) to Kompong Speu and Takeo Provinces. The purpose of the study tour is to train the interested farmers on agricultural innovations from the experienced farmers under other CEDAC’s projects. The interested farmers visited community-led saving group, village-based farmer associations, young farmer groups, women groups, multi-purpose farm, home gardening, etc. The visit was a very effective tool to attract the participation and satisfaction of the interested farmers in cooperating with the project. At the end of the visit, the project’s facilitators conducted reflection meeting with the participants in order to sum up what they have learned and what they are going to apply after visiting.

On the other hand, there are 11 collective saving groups were formed in 10 villages (in 6 communes) under the technical support from the project’s supporting officers like Som Charya and Ear Sophal. Totally, 183 indigenous people (99 women) participated as the members of saving groups. The accumulated capital of all groups is 1,698,000 Riels. It is to mention that the indigenous minority people are strongly interested in conducting collective saving group while they can access to credit service from their groups and also can help each other in terms of strengthening solidarity and cooperation among the members. The interest rate is 3 % per month which is lower than the interest rate charged by the middlemen in their villages. Moreover, there are some farmers starting to prepare vegetable gardens. The farmers can follow the technique of growing vegetables in the dry season as they apply circle garden.

To me, I can say that the project is being progressed even it is just started in October 20, 2009. However, we need to pay more attention to provide individual follow up advice to the target groups. More frequent follow up is really good to improve the understanding of the cooperating farmers amid the increasing of rapport between the project’s staff and the community people.

The project will undertake some main activities for January 2010, such as:

  1. Organizing training for key farmers
  2. Capacity building for leaders of collective saving groups
  3. Organizing commune forums
  4. Facilitating group training at village level
  5. Providing training support to CFAs (Community-based Field Assistant

In January 2010, it is expected that there are 21 farmers apply vegetable growing technique, 31 farmers apply solid compost, 10 collective saving groups will be formed, 8 farmers apply fish raising in plastic hole, and 5 women groups will be set up. In order to ensure that those activities were conducted effectively, it must realize that the project team had prepared training guideline before organized those activities in the fields.