Written by Mr. Kep Ratana, Project Coordinator of HMB3
Mr. Kruy Kosal and Mrs. Eorn Cheourn is a family living in Svay Chrum Chas village Rolear Phaeir district, Kompong Chhnang Province. They are one among the other target families who have improved living condition significantly. In 2002, this family homestead (no land) for house settlement so they borrowed a piece of land from their relative to construct small cottage for temporary living.They expected to have a owned-homestead are for house construction in the future. The couple discussed to achieve the expectation and they finally achieved their expectation through generating income from off-farm activities (the husband migrated from the village work as labor sellers in Phnom Penh and the wife was also selling labor within the village). By doing so, the family could afford to buy a small plot of land for housing.
Since October 2008, this family has cooperated with the project “Happy Mountain Bird 3” that is implementing by CEDAC (Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture). The main purpose of the project is to ensure that all children of the poorest families are able to go to school regularly. The project mainly focuses on building the knowledge and capacity of the target families to increase family income from on-farm activities and also to raise awareness of advantages of children education to the parents. This family has been cooperating with the project by attending regularly in the meeting, training, workshop and exchange visit organized by the project. The family has gained more knowledge, skill and capacity to apply ecological agricultural innovations that was introduced by CEDAC’s project. The family practiced the technique of vegetable growing for family’s consumption and selling in case of family’s surplus. At the beginning of vegetable growing, the family could earn only 90,000 to 120,000 riels per month.
This family reduced expense on buying vegetables from markets while they can produce vegetables by themselves. Furthermore, nutrition intake for the family’s members has also improved and they reduced spending money on disease treatment. Before cooperating with HMB3, this family could not save much money because they needed to cover for rice, vegetable, medical treatment, meat, and expense for sending their children to school. Now, this family could make higher income from agricultural activities that introduced by the project for sending their children to school with around 1000 to 3000 riels per day. In addition, the husband is still working in Phnom Penh and can make income about 200,000 to 300,000 riels per month (approximately 50-75 USD/month).
Up to now, this family bought 4 paddy fields with the land surface of 1.5 hectares to be used for farming activities. They also have 4 cattle and developed one permanent vegetable garden for family’s consumption and selling. The impressed that the main factors to improve their livelihood are money-saving, reducing unnecessary expenses of the family, cultivate vegetables for family’s consumption and to make incomes, etc. They added that the HMB3 project is very helpful to improve the living condition of their family. The project provides them ideas, practical experiences relating to sustainable agricultural innovations, advantages of collective saving group among the other poorest families, as well as to raise their understanding on children education. The family now can send their children to school regularly.
Last but not least, this family set up a new expectation by sending their children to senior high school or study at university and to build a bigger house. The family will expand income generation activities by operating another small business and also expand the arable land for vegetable growing.