Monday, May 2, 2016

The Impact of Home Gardening in Rural Cambodia

Home gardening is an important Sustainable Cambodia program to support rural families becoming self reliant. 

How does it work? 

The village families create a Village Development Committee, which works with our staff to prioritize the projects that will have the most impact on the village. Nothing is "given" to the villagers. The villagers commit their time and labor to make the projects happen, while Sustainable Cambodia typically provides the training and nearly all the early financing for the projects. The amount of assistance is slowly reduced after a three-year period, as the villagers become more and more self-reliant. It takes four to five years, but eventually the quality of life in the village is dramatically improved, and the villagers have the self-created resources to continue to improve it.

SC staff providing vegetable seeds to villagers
Five months of each year there is a drought in Cambodia, and in the other months of the year flooding can happen. Villagers have traditionally grown subsistence-level rice during the wet season, and then had nothing to eat or sell but saved rice during the five dry months.

Sustainable Cambodia's agriculture projects provide not only vegetable seeds and agriculture tools for the village families, but also a compost training for the dry season, allowing fruits and vegetables to be grown year-round. Once the home gardens are implemented, villagers can start satisfying the nutritional needs of their families. Healthy kids can attend school instead of being sick at home, and parents can work to provide for their families as well as work on community projects.

Chhin Sokha and his wife You Thangchhim preparing their compost

At the moment there are 171 families and 842 beneficiaries participating in Sustainable Cambodia's agriculture projects.

Families receiving agriculture materials
During 2015, Sustainable Cambodia provided 25 training lessons in agriculture for 533 participants, offering two different courses which included home gardening training for 296 participants and a compost training for 237 participants. Our Home Gardening training educates the villagers on how to plant the seeds and grow the vegetable crops for their family consumption. The compost training focuses on preparing the compost from animals and vegetable waste.
A mother watering her Chinese cabbages

SC staff and a beneficiary with her home gardening
Here's a story from one of the families:

Chhin Sokha is 37 years old and his wife You Tangchhim is 31.

"I have five members in my family with two daughters. I work on the farm and the rice field I like planting vegetables and raising animals on the farm like buffalo, cow and hens. I joined Self Help Groups a year ago with SC. The reason why I joined the SHGs was because I wanted my family to be able to take care of our food and health. SC is helping my family with biosand filters, latrines, agriculture training, a cow, chickens, vegetable seeds, and agriculture tools.

Before joining the SHGs, there was dirty water and no latrines. I spent money on purchasing vegetable seeds and agriculture materials, but I didn't have enough knowledge of the techniques behind planting vegetables.

Joining the SHG has helped my family a lot. I don't waste money now on bad agriculture materials and wasting vegetable seeds. I've gained knowledge on the techniques of vegetable planting, vaccine usage, home gardening and animal raising. The project has changed my family’s lives, such as reducing the expense in the whole family, earning more income from the final result of the home gardening, purchasing a bicycle for my children to go to school and providing increasing support to my family.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped provide me a lot of useful knowledge, agricultural tools, training and vegetable seeds. I wish the SC staff the best of luck and to have a successful future." 

Please consider giving the gift of a garden to a family in Cambodia... You will help to provide nutrition and better health for many children and parents in need. Click here to learn how.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Donors of the Week

We all are so inspired and so proud to have such wonderful supporters like Erika and John Deveson who have been helping us further Sustainable Cambodia's mission for quite a while.

During this wonderful holiday season, we want to honor them for their amazing support to our organization. Our work would not be possible without the help of them.

Erika and John

Why did you first give to Sustainable Cambodia (SC)?
The reason we joined Sustainable Cambodia was after having a wonderful holiday in Cambodia. We met so many lovely Cambodian people and learnt how they were desperate for some sort of help. After looking on the internet at many sponsorship programs we found SC and liked what we found.

Erika, John and their sponsored student
What interests you most about SC's ? Why?
We like SC especially because our donations go to the families either for schooling or home life. The money for schooling enables children with potential to receive extra education and the money for home life helps the family financially to be able to give their children the chance to participate and have an opportunity at a brighter future. We also enjoy being in contact with the children and receiving regular updates. We were amazed to learn about all the wonderful projects SC have for helping the communities and feel happy to be part of this wonderful organization.

Erika, John and their sponsored student
Why do you continue to give to our organization?
We continue to support SC because we truly believe they are helping some of the poorest people especially children and by doing this they are given a chance to have a better life.

Why does the cause you are supporting is important to you?
It is very important for us to keep supporting SC, in doing this we know that our sponsor children can improve their lives and then with this advancement will create a flow on and create a higher standard of health and living conditions for their families.

What do you tell others about us (how do you describe SC to others)?
We tell all our friends about SC and what a wonderful job they do in providing support for children who have the potential of doing well but otherwise would not have the opportunity. They are interested in learning about the school in Pursat and the dedication of the teachers. They are very interested in all who work there and especially the different projects that SC are involved in.

What changes do you believe would improve the situation of Cambodia?
We think education for the children of Cambodia will drastically improve their lives and the situation in Cambodia.

How does your philanthropy reflect your values?
We sponsor three beautiful children and know that they are getting the best education that Sustainable Cambodia has to offer and that they now have the prospect to achieve a better future.

How do you feel when you make a gift?
We are very pleased to be able to give these remarkable young people the opportunity with better education to have hope for their future.

Erika, John, their sponsored student and the family
What makes you hopeful and happy?
We are happy seeing how our children progress, we love receiving letters from them, we are very hopeful that with hard work they will continue onto university and if so we will be delighted to continue to help support them.

Like Erika and John Deveson, you can also make a huge difference in the lives of many Cambodian students and village families. No matter how much you can give, you are going to help build the brighter future of all Cambodians.

Start making an impact now!

Have you heard of Animal Pass-On?

 Farm Animal Pass-On... What is this?

The farm animal pass-on is a technique created by Heifer International. A family receives a couple of breeding animals and passes on the offspring to the next family who will repeat this procedure. The animal can be a cow, a buffalo or chickens.

Youthlinc team provided the animal to the beneficiary families

The cow/buffalo pass-on program, while having many quantifiable outputs, is more concerned with outcomes, such as capacity building within Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and the community at large, as well as building social capital within the community. In the cow/buffalo pass-on process, SHGs receive two young female cow/buffalo. While the original two female cows/buffaloes will belong to two individual families, the cows/buffaloes will be collectively used within the SHG. Each member of the SHG will have access to the two animals to plow fields during the field preparation stage of the rice production season, the timing of which will be established by each SHG. This process helps to rebuild the cultural tradition of communities staggering plowing, planting, transplanting and rice harvesting activities so that families can help one other family during all of the labor intensive processes of producing rice.

One of a model beneficiary family receive an animal pass on project
The typical SHG has 15 families as members, with an average family size of 5 people. The typical cow or buffalo will live around 15 years. The impact of the SHG and the benefits of the program to the SHG members and village is therefore expected to continue for roughly the same 15 years, through the multiple types of benefits described above. The typical SHG will receive two cows or buffaloes. On average there is about 75 beneficiaries for each two cows/buffaloes given to each SHG (15 families x 5 per family), with an average cow/buffalo benefiting 35-40 people.

A community committee and beneficiary joint the training
Based on the Heifer International model, our Farm Animal Pass-On Program allows poor villagers to receive a breeding set of farm animals. The program is simple: a family makes a contract with Sustainable Cambodia to receive a breeding pair of animals.

In order to receive the animals, they must:
1. agree to attend classes in advance of animal care and husbandry.
2. agree to find two other (not-relatives) village families who wish to receive a "pass-on" animal from the first family.
3. get the two families to sign similar contracts.
4. get the two other families to attend the classes in advance of animal care and husbandry classes. This creates a genuine expectation in the two down-stream families that they will receive their animals in turn, so there is added pressure on the original family to honor their pledge.

Before the two pass-on families can receive their breeding animals, they must do the 4 things the first family had to do. This continues through each subsequent generation, so the gift of the first set of animals grows geometrically over time. This model is one of the most successful rural development models in the world.

Additionally, ongoing and direct economic benefits will come to members of the SHG, in the form of money saved in land preparation activities, and in the shared labor of all stages of rice production, as well as in the renting out of pass-on animals for the plowing of fields and the selling of calves at market. In short, the cow/buffalo animal pass-on project represents the best in the community development process being used in the field today, as it helps increase materials, and being in direct coordination with increasing the knowledge, skills and abilities of people taking part in the project.

We are grateful to Heifer International for the model, and for the possibility to replicate their model at Sustainable Cambodia.

Two on the left are beneficiaries, staff on the right with a community committee
Thinking how to support our Animal Pass-On Program? With your help you will provide nutrition and a better health for many kids and parents in need. Click here to learn how.

Meet with our new Donor, Efrei Aides Humanitarians

We were very excited that a group of students from Paris spent their time to visit us on campus and bring 12 computers and educational software to Cambodia. We are very grateful to honor our supporters, who spent their time and their own funds during a short holiday, to make these donations to our students in Sustainable Cambodia. They have helped equip technology to our schools. This is a wonderful step as computers and technology are becoming more and more important in Cambodian society, and students will be able to fulfill many job positions by knowing computer literacy.

Efrei Aides Humanitarians representatives
Efrei Aides Humanitarians (EAH), designed around six core values, the teaching allows to train future engineers in computer multivariate: scientists of all, passionate about new technologies and then makes constant a new look within companies. Indeed, beyond its strategic positioning in computer and digital technology, the school is distinguished in shares allocated to general education (communication, general knowledge, management, languages.....), the development of international exchange partnerships and the culture of entrepreneurship. 

EAH representatives deliver a package of pens to our librarian
Participation in community life is encouraged, as well as Efrei is encouraged academically because it facilitates the integration of six key values promoted by the school: The requirement, daring, agility, creativity, proximity and solidarity. In fact, the associative experience gives the engineer a Efrei own human dimension.

12 new desktops arrived at KBFC 
EAH representatives and SC staff installing new Computers
Meeting with Camille Jaworski , a friend of the Efrei group.

Why did you first contact to Sustainable Cambodia (SC)?
A friend of our heard about Sustainable Cambodia and its mission. She told us that SC was great and we should think about helping them.

     What interests you most about SC? And Why?
     That they are helping children to succeed in life through education.

      Why is the cause you are supporting important to you?
Computers are a great way for children to improve themselves and their education. Through those they can open their mind to the world and escape their routine. Technologies are becoming more and more a big deal in the world.

What do you tell others about us (how do you describe SC to others)?
We tell them that SC is a big organization doing a lot of different actions to sustain Cambodian people and not only Education (Recycling, Hygiene Sanitation, clean water, micro loans....)

     What changes do you believe would improve the situation of Cambodia?
All kinds of education starting with the youngest.

     How does your philanthropy reflect your values?
EAH (Efrei Aides Humanitarians) main values are philanthropy along with other values like solidarity, generosity and giving from our hearts.

      How do you feel when you give a gift?
Happy and we enjoy to see that our efforts are not for nothing.
What makes you hopeful and happy?
Seeing the children happy and wanting to learn.

If you are considering supporting our programs in Cambodia, you can visit our website to get more information about Donations.