There are a lot of challenges that affect Cambodia’s food security.
Change in average temperature, timing of rainfall, and unpredictable weather mean that fisheries, livestock, and crop production struggle. Because there’s no national irrigation system, communities located just kilometres from the riverbed are water-stressed.
Cambodian women are particularly vulnerable to these losses.
Since they lack equal access to land, employment and education, women do not have a safety net to protect against food security stresses. This is why it is important to maximize available water and produce crops within the natural environment—to find climate-smart adaptive agriculture technologies, diversify the crops, and promote agriculture entrepreneurship.
Focusing on women is game-changing, as they’re often the critical care-givers of the family and children.
These realities shaped the Sisters Program, as World Hope International (WHI) works to better equip farmers to sustainably improve their family’s well-being.
Kong Kunthea, a mother of two from the Kompong Siem District, shares how she began a mushroom house:
“My family’s livelihood has depended on rice and mung beans farming. I have my own land—about half of hectare—and we rent one more hectare. Each time I start farming, I need to take loan to buy seedlings. My husband worked as a waiter, but the money we earned is not enough to feed everyone. After my aunt started growing mushrooms, her family situation improved and is far better than mine. So, my husband and I made the decision to start a mushroom house, too.
Every time we harvest mushrooms, we have enough money to feed our family. I can see our family situation gradually improving. I don’t need to take any more loans, and my husband’s behaviour has also changed. He helps with the mushroom growing and cares about improving our family condition. Now, we have plans to add another mushroom house this year.”
With your support, families like this are being transformed in Cambodia.
- WHI’s Sisters Program has grown to 98 families and 160 mushroom houses.
- In April, the community reached a production capacity of over 500 kilograms of mushrooms per month.
- Stopping violence against women and children continues to be a priority of the work. Two workshops were recently conducted on how to keep children safe from sexual violence. 49 girls and two teachers participated. One child responded, “I’m very happy to learn how to protect myself, especially choosing a safe person who can protect and help me when someone wants to mistreat me.”
- Five of the highest mushroom producing households received support to build toilets. Culverts, a septic tank, and a concrete slab for a toilet bowl were provided. The families built the toilet walls and roof with their own funds. Increasing the number of households with toilets improves health outcomes in the community.