Women’s Economic Empowerment and Livelihood Projects
Strey Khmer has been committed to providing Cambodian women with Economic opportunities since 2007. Through the provision of training, capacity building, business workshops and micro-loans, we have helped local women to develop business models and to successfully start-up and run new enterprises. Past successful ventures include the DEVI House cookie sales and a thriving mushroom growing project in Battambang province. Local women now successfully and sustainably market their produce in shops and restaurants across the country.
Pilot Cattle Project in Battambang Province
Strey Khmer have been working with experts from Agricultural Systems Research (ASR) Cambodia http://aciar.gov.au/project/asem/2010/049 and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research(ACIAR) http://aciar.gov.au/country/cambodia who have specific cattle fattening projects in Cambodia and through those connections we have been able to send the 3 women involved who had been selected for our pilot project to one and a half days training: a one day field visit and half day training which were conducted in different villages in Battambang Province. The training started in October and another three sessions are planned for 2015 as part of a training programme (and ‘hands-on’ support) that will continue throughout 2016. The training will involve a number of aspects of cattle rearing including: Animal husbandry and veterinary care; cattle feed and growing high protein forage; building and maintaining a shelter for the cattle and business and marketing methods to ensure the sustainability of their cattle project.
ACIAR is providing on-going support us to undertake this project and additional livelihood audits with the women in Treng to assess what would be the best options for them to develop sustainable livelihoods in a region that has been most impacted in the past few years with flooding and change in climate. Additionally Dr. Pen Miranda from the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh is helping to facilitate the women to attend the cattle rearing training and will be providing us with some capacity building training at Strey Khmer so that we can skill up on these issues. We are also receiving other training on permaculture and market gardening from another expert (Simon Ross from Australia) so that we can support the women to grow and diversify their economic opportunities in terms of agriculture in the hope that they can avoid having to migrate for work (which ultimately means leaving their children and babies behind in their villages to do that).
Current Project: Mushrooms in Battambang Province
Mushroom growing is a good business for the people in Battambang Province. With the assistance from WAVE to Strey Khmer, we were able to provide a loan to a group of 8 women. Among them, 3 women have been trained for a week about the business process. One volunteer has contributed her land for the group to use.
The group was formed with a clear understanding of the loan’s rule and a commitment to assist the members in the group. The goal of the operation is to create a strong group that can transform themselves to become economically independent in the future. As well, the group can create a forum for discussion on important women’s issues such as domestic violence, land rights, migration and women’s rights.
The women have also been trained on how to make compost instead of buying the compost from the market. That women have successfully made the compost so productive that they are now able to grow the mushrooms by themselves without relying on external vendor resources.
A 4-meter x 10-meter center has been built to keep the mushrooms in.