Ban Chanthoeun is 45 years old. She has five family members: her husband - Soum Nak, who is 46 years old, a 23 year-old married daughter with two children, and a 16-year-old daughter. The family lives in Ta Toak, a remote and isolated village of Ta Toak commune, Samlout district, Battambang province, Cambodia.
The Chanthoeun family has no house of their own and as a result, they stay at a relative's house. Prior to CWS support, the family's situation was difficult as they depended largely on cultivation of rice and other kind of crops on a small piece of land. But this life was difficult -- often their cultivation faced drought. So Ban Chanthoeun's younger daughter stopped studying in grade nine and became a laborer to help support the family.
Soum Nak also left home to find jobs in other villages. Ban Chanthoeun borrowed money from private lenders at a high interest rate to buy rice, rice seeds, pesticide for cultivation and medicines for her family's daily needs. The family felt isolated -- they were not known by their neighbors, for example.
There was finally some promising change: Ban Chanthoeun participated in an integrated community development program of the Khmer Community Development Association (KCDA), a local CWS partner. Ban Chanthoeun became a member of agriculture pump machine group with 19 other families. This enabled her and the other group members to grow rice, farm crops and vegetables regularly without worrying about problems related to drought.
In March 2012, Ban Chanthoeun attended a training on vegetable growing techniques and received vegetable seeds and tools from KCDA. KCDA staff also provided ongoing support and coaching to her family about how to run a small business as well as rice and vegetable growing techniques.
The result? Improvements for Chanthoeun's family. During the last six months, Ban Chanthoeun's family was able to consume more vegetables and keeping the seeds for the next vegetable growing season. In addition, Ban Chanthoeun has received 2.5 million Riels, about $625, from selling things like rice, chilies, corn and vegetables.
Her family food intake has increased. Ban Chanthoeun has purchased agricultural tools and materials for expanding her farming -- before she needed to borrow the tools from her neighbors. Her husband and daughter have stopped their laborer work and are now helping Ban Chanthoeun to cultivate on their growing farm. Chanthoeun has gained experience in the cultivation of rice crops and vegetable growing. Her family has become more friendly with their neighbors, now sharing seeds and vegetables with them as well as sharing her knowledge and experiences of cultivation.
Ban Chanthoeun said this of the CWS-supported work: “I was so happy to participate in KCDA program. I will expand and increase rice planting and farming to improve food security of my family. I hope that next year I will support my daughter to go back to school to re-enroll in grade nine. I would like to thank KCDA and CWS for providing this valuable support to my family.”
If female farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of the world's hungry could be reduced by up to 150 million.
CWS STRATEGIC GOAL
CWS will help communities where there is little or no capacity to meet needs to increase their ability to help themselves.