Successful Crop-Loan Project 2012!
One challenge in these villages is that many parents - who earn their living by farming - cannot make enough money to sustain their family. There are two root causes: Often they don't have the training and experience to grow crops other than subsistence level rice farming, and they rarely have the capital to invest in buying livestock, seed, farming equipment and irrigation systems that will help generate income and boost livelihood.
With your support, Sustainable Cambodia helps these villagers with the training and the capital they need to create a sustainable livelihood through which they can work their way out of poverty.
The program includes training and oversight to ensure that the families will have success, and incorporates a crop loan program for these families. These are families to whom banks would not traditionally lend - the poor, women, and those without collateral. Without the SC program, their only alternative would be to borrow money from predatory local lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates and are often violent if their terms are not met.
The crop loan system Sustainable Cambodia uses is modeled after the microloan program created by Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus. He said of the process: "If banks lent to the rich, I lent to the poor. If banks lent to men, I lent to women. If banks required collateral, my loans were collateral free."
Crop Loans Improve Villagers' Lives!
People who express interest in borrowing money to start or expand their business are screened by their community leaders. If they are deemed suitable borrowers, they are accepted into a self-help group made up of 10 to 20 members. Self-help group members receive training from Sustainable Cambodia staff and leaders in their community about agriculture and livestock so that they can maximize their profit. Families in the self-help groups are typically given a loan of between $30 and $50. These loans have a very low interest rate, and interest earned is collected and utilized by the elected village committees for community projects in the villages.
We currently have 81 self-help groups and 839 families involved in the project!