Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meeting with project team member of CEDAC Mudulkiri province

At the morning of Wednesday, September 29, 2009, Mr. Sim Samoeun, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors, Mr. Pol Samath, Mr. Lam Deun and Mr. Nhim Sokea joint together for a first project team meeting at CEDAC office in Phnom Penh. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce about a new CEDAC's project in Mudulkiri province to all team members. The project will be started in October 2009. The project is funded by the European Commission.

During the meeting, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors together with Mr. Sim Samoeun presented the overview of the project to all participants by expressing in detail about the goal, objectives, expected results, expected outputs and main activities to be undertaken by the project. The participants additionally discussed about what to be carried out for October 2009 such as office rental, recruitment of project's staff and community based field assistants and so on. This project will enlarge CEDAC's intervention in Mudulkiri province.


On September 28, 2009, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors, CEDAC staff, conducted a training on the topics of Historical Background of Development Concepts, Farming System, Green Revolution, Technology Transfer versus Participatory Technology Development, Soil Nutrient Improvement, System of Rice Intensification, and Constraints of Agricultural Development in Cambodia to 15 young trainees of Kubuta engineering. The training was conducted for one day in training hall of SCT company office in Phnom Penh. The purpose of the training is to build up the capacity of young trainees of Kubuta (agricultural plowing machine) on agricultural development in Cambodia.

Based on the impression of the trainees, this one-day training is useful for them to gain comprehensive understanding on situation of agricultural development, especially in the context of Cambodia. On the other hand, the trainees learnt about some main techniques: such as soil nutrient improvement and rice production. All in all, the inputs from this training will be usable for them to work in the field with farmer communities.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Project Eevaluation in Svay Rieng and Prey Veng

I (Yim Sok Sophors) was participating in an external evaluation of the project, entitled “Improving Livelihood of the most Vulnerable Families for Protection of Human Trafficking and Unsafe Migration) in Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces from 23 to 26 September 2009 with Mr. San Sorn, Mr. Yi Sok San (IOM), Mrs.Tevy (an official of Ministry of Women’s Affairs) and other 2 external evaluators from CDRI. This external evaluation was conducted in purpose to measure the achievements and impacts of the project. It is to remind this project is funded by IOM (International Organization for Migration) for a period of 18 months from June 2008 to December 2009. The specific objective of this project is to improve the livelihood of vulnerable farmers through dissemination of agricultural technical innovations.

This evaluation was conducted in various methods, including individual interview with key stakeholders of the project such as officials of Department of Women’s Affairs at the provincial level, local authorities (village chief), target families, CEDAC staff who involved in implementing this project, IOM staff, etc. Additionally, the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with the project’s target groups(cooperating farmers and key farmers, saving groups, sugar palm producer groups) were also organized in the project’s target villages.

According to my observation, in general, I see that the project has achieved good results in improving the livelihood of the target groups (migrant workers, the poorest families...) as the target groups have hugely gained the knowledge and skills of agricultural innovations (ecological chicken raising, system of rice intensification, solid compost, liquid compost, vegetable growing, sugar palm production…) very well. For example, the project has strengthened key farmers (3-5 key farmers per village) who are the main resource persons in agricultural extension in the villages. It is able to highlight that a cooperating farmer in Thom village, Thnot commune of Kompong Ror district, Svay Rieng province, could earn about 200,000 riels from vegetable selling per month that he had never ever made any incomes from vegetables before the intervention of the project. Many other cooperating farmer families have improved their incomes from innovations introduced by the project (like collective selling of sugar palm, know-how to produce powder sugar palm…). However, the reduction of chemical pesticide for dry season rice production is still limited and need to be taken into account.

In addition to this evaluation, Mr. Yi Sok San, IOM staff, has impressed that “CEDAC has achieved a very good result”. Moreover, the official of Ministry of Women’s Affairs also highly appreciated to our effort and commitment to accomplish a very good result of this project. They all considered that the livelihood component implemented by CEDAC is a good case to be widely disseminated as it is an effective way for prevention of human trafficking and unsafe migration. They believe that income instability is the main root of cause of migration. The evaluation report will be produced by the evaluators as soon as possible.

What I have learned from this evaluation:

1.The evaluator did not select the target families by themselves but they allowed the project staff to select for them, it is purposively selected.
2.It is good that stakeholder interview was conducted before the farmer interview and group discussion in the village because the evaluators could gain basic understanding and overview of the project before conducted in-depth study in the field.
3.The detail program of the evaluation should be prepared firstly and distributed to relevant people in order to make easier for arrangements.
4.Questionnaires should be developed separately for stakeholder interview, cooperating and key farmer interview, etc because different actors involved in different activities of the project.
5.At the next time, the project should also recruit a field community to help farmer community facilitator so that the project would be able to carry out more activities and achievements in the field.
6.Thematic workshops on the topic of chemical pesticide should be organized more often in order to raise awareness among the rice farming families who conducted dry season rice production as they use much chemical pesticide.
7.More external study tours should be organized for the potential farmers in order to speed up the progress of innovation dissemination.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meeting about CEDAC's development indicators

I and Mr Yi Kim Than had a meeting with Dr. Yang Saing Koma on September 22, 2009 at 11:30 AM at office of CILD. We discussed about the capitalization of project experiences and setting up main indicators for measuring the progress and impacts of CEDAC's work in the communities. 3 main categories will be considered like, economic, human and social capital and environment.

After discussion, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors is responsible to write those indicators based on the results that CEDAC has been doing. The result will be widely used in CEDAC as a whole. Additionally, CEDAC can use those indicators officially for developing the proposals and other relevant documents.

Hopefully, the result of developing those indicators will be produced before the management team meeting of CEDAC on October 12, 2009.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Presentation on CEDAC

On September 14, 2009 Yim Sok Sophors, CEDAC staff, met Miss AYAKO HASHIMOTO, a master student from Japan to present and discuss about CEDAC's work. Generally, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors has presented about the main activities of each main component of CEDAC, including Field Program, Research and Development, CESDE, CILD, Publication, Environment and Health. The main activities of each component were presented and discussed in detail one by one.

Through this presentation, it enabled Miss Ayako to learn more detail information about CEDAC, especially the activities that CEDAC are currently operating in order to family agriculture in Cambodia.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Post Evaluation of HMB1 in Takeo and Prey Veng Provinces

A Post evaluation of HMB1 (Ensuring Access to Primary Education for Children of the Poorest Families) has been conducted from 03 to 17 September 2008 at a team of CEDAC staff and Ms. Yonekura.

The research was conducted in both Takeo and Prey Veng provinces. About 150 target families of HMB1 were individually interviewed for the purpose of studying their changes after the intervention of HMB1.

Based on the result, it is able to note that most of the target poorest families have improved their living condition through improving the capacity of generating family's income, repaired and constructed a proper house, be able to send their children to school, etc. This is thanks to they have improved the knowledge and skills of agricultural practices, saving, family management, etc. Their vision and hope is enlarged.

However, we see that some poorest families have not successfully improved their quality of life. They need special support from the project in order to help them to overcome the poverty successfully. Even there are majority of the target poorest families have improved their livelihood but some other poorest families are likely not improved such as they still face to food shortage, send their children to work for generating additional incomes, lack of income from on-farm activities.
Possibly, it is good to develop a project to support the remaining poorest families in the target villages.

It is to note that the extreme poverty of the poorest families is the main root cause that they cannot send their children to school or to study regularly at school. Therefore, if you want the children go to school regularly and can prolong their education as much as possible, please consider your intervention to support the poverty eradication of the poorest families. Helping the children to to school by provision of food, learning materials, clothes is not really a sustainable way. Please help the families to overcome the poverty so that they actually can afford money for all expenses on children education by themselves.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Monthly coordinating meeting of FNP in Kampot province

From 03 to 05 September 2009, CEDAC's Field Program has organized its monthly coordinating meeting at Kampot province with 26 participants. The participants of the meeting included the project officers, program officers and program director.

Generally, the participants shared the progress of implementing the development projects one by one and we have discussed more detail about the overview of the projects in comparing to the plan. By doing so, the participants could access to critical information of the project. Moreover, the participants have updated the progress of new projects approved by several fudning agencies in order to know the situation of FNP in 2009 and 2010. Additionally, the participants have also discussed about the management strategies of FNP. We will separate the main sub-programs under the whole program in order to make easier in management and enhancement.

Moreover, the participants have conducted plenary reflection on the quality of work that have been conducted by the project. The quality is strongly important to prove the sustainable achievement of the development projects under CEDAC's Field Program Unit. To manage the database effectively, the participants have decided to develope a database program which will be developed by external consultant firm. All the project officers and M&E Officers will discuss to determine the main information to be collected. Addtionally, the discussion on stregthening to ALDA (Agricultural Local Development Associations) was also raised for discussion in plenary. At the current time, we have decided that ALDA is formed under the umbrella of CEDAC but those ALDAs can be registered offcially in case of needed.

On the other hand, the participants conducted field visit to some target villages of the project "ILFARM-KP" in order to learn about about the community rice mill, applicaiton of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) by farmer promoters, Multi-Purpose Farm (MPF), etc. As the result, the visitors could learn and found out some consideration for improving the work in the future.

The next meeting will be organized on October 05, 2009 at CEDAC Office in Phnom Penh.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fact Finding at Siem Reap Province with PLAN International

From 31 August to 02 September 2009, Mr. Yi Kimthan (FNP program director) and Mr. Yim Sok Sophors (FNP member) accompanied with Mrs. Soriya and Mr. Phallin, PLAN staff conducted a fact finding in 3 villages, 3 districts of Siem Reap province. The fact finding was conducted in order to seek for understanding on the real situation of the target communities for a joint project between CEDAC and PLAN in relation to improving income generation and livelihood improvement of the most vulnerable farmers through improving sustainable agricultural production in the dry land area and degraded soil areas. This project is called for proposal by the European Commission (EC).

It is to remind that the study was conducted in 3 districts, like Srey Snom, Angkor Chum and Banteay Srey districts. As a result, it is able to know that those studied areas are strongly faced to drought, soil fertility is degraded and low agricultural productivity especially the farmers could harvest about 1 ton/hectare from rice production, which is shapely below the national average. Totally, 3 group discussion meetings were organized during the fact finding event. The participants of those group discussion meetings consisted of commune chief, village chief, farmers, women and other key informants in the villages.

At the end of the fact finding process, we conducted a wrap up meeting with the team at PLAN office in Siem Reap province as well as discussed about the project design with the senior staff of PLAN at Imperial Hotel, Phnom Penh on September 02, 2009. The draft concept note will be submited by CEDAC to PLAN on 10 September 2009.

Field Mission to Mudulkiri province, Cambodia

From 23-29 September 2009, Mr Yim Sok Sophors and Mr. Chhin Chhunhoir who are CEDAC's staff have conducted a field supporting mission to the project ALP (Agriculture Livelihood Project for the Sok San Indigenous Community in Sok San commune, Koh Ngiek district, Mudulkiri province). It is to note that farmers are now busy with rice transplanting as it is now the season for rice production, however most of them have already finished transplanting. Recently, the farmers confronted to drought so that there are much weeds in the rice field as a result. Although, the rice is still growing very well. Nevertheless, it is good if there are some rains in a very short future.

This is the second year of the project implementation, we see that there are more farmers have applied the technique of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) thanks to they have already learned from the experienced farmers at the first year. The indigenous farmers believe that the SRI practices will enable them to gain more yield. On the other hand, the farmers have understood more and more about the advantages and process of managing collective saving group. However, the interest rate per month decided from the group members is likely high as they want to gain more income for the group. I note that most of borrowing is used for consumption but not many for investment. So, the project needs to make more effort in order to improve their business activities successfully.

During the occasion of field mission, we have also participated in the training workshop organized by ExCom of Mudulkiri province. As a result, we have known other local stakeholders such as government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and private sectors. Moreover, we have strengthened CEDAC's cooperation with all of them. At the same time, the participants have also learned about CEDAC as well. It is really necessary important to expand the role of CEDAC in community development in cooperation with other local stakeholders.