Friday, February 26, 2010

Climate change workshop

On February 22-26, 2010 Mr. Yi Kim Than and Mr. Yim Sok Sophors attended a training workshop on climate change at Sihanouk province. There were many participants who come from different 10 partner NGOs of DCA/CA, ForumSyd, and Cord. During the workshop, the participants have learned very well about the concepts of climate change. The technical terms relating to CC were raised and discussed actively during the workshop.

Friday, February 19, 2010

CEDAC Zone Two Retreat Organized at Koh Kong Province

February 17-19, 2010, CEDAC Zone Two organized a three-day retreat at Koh Kong province with 44 staffs. It is to emphasize that CEDAC divided its 3,200 target villages into 5 zones and CEDAC Zone Two is implementing 9 development projects covers on 750 villages across 110 communes, in 20 districts of 4 provinces (Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kandal and Kampot Provinces). The specific objectives of the retreat was to improve solidarity and cooperation among of the staffs and to provide a good time for staff reflection on its annual activities and achievements in 2009 as well as to develop activity plan for 2010.

CEDAC Zone Two coordinator, Mr. Huot Dok facilitated the meeting  at Fishing Community Hall to share and discuss about progresses and challenges of project implementation, progress of self-development of the staffs, and activity planning for 2010. In addition, a member of CEDAC Steering Committee (CSC), Mr. Bao Vuthy presented to the participants about the number of current projects and expected projects for 2010. Furthermore, he presented about main activities of CEDAC Zone Two in providing technical and social assistances to communities such as: promotion and dissemination of family’s ecological agricultural innovations, establishment and strengthening community-led business cooperatives, facilitation to set up collective saving and credit services, etc.

According to participant impressions, the retreat was very helpful to encourage the staffs to increase their commitment to accomplish expectation of CEDAC Zone Two in 2010 as the staffs have already understood very well about the plan and strategies for the implementation in 2010. Furthermore, it also stimulated awareness to the staffs in relation to self-development for achieving their personal goal in the near future. In general , all staffs were able to learn about good progresses and achievements of CEDAC Zone Two and they also absorbed good lessons-learned and practical experiences from the project implementation through sharing from one another and it was important that the staffs have increased their mutual cooperation and team spirit among the whole team.

Weekly staff meeting of CEDAC Field Program

Weekly staff meeting of CEDAC Field Progam was organized among staffs who are based in Phnom Penh. Mr. Yi Kimthan normally chairs the meeting every weekend. Yim Sok Sophors, Vang Sean, Pheng Chandy and Nuon Piseith participated in the meeting to share each other about the activities and results of what we have done during this week. Furthermore, the participants also shared about activity plan for next week as well.

Based on the sharing from Mr. Vang Sean and Mr. Yim Sok Sophors who did end project evaluation of ALP (Agriculture Livelihood Project in the Sok San Community), it was able to know that the indigenous people have now improved their knowledge and skills relating to agricultural practices. For example, the indigenous people previously didn’t grow vegetables and lack of food for family consumption. But now they can grow vegetables for family consumption and some of them are able to produce for selling to generate more family’s incomes. Now, some indigenous farmers who have arable land near to natural water bodies, they can grow vegetables in the dry season. I noted that the vegetables produced are very good because the natural condition is fit for vegetable growing and other kinds of crops.  Some farmers said that they don’t really want to make compost because the soil fertility is good enough to  produce a good yield. I think that CEDAC’s staff there should train them more about soil nutrient management in order to help the indigenous people to be able to use the land sustainably for a long term benefit. 

Miss. Pheng Chandy shared about the progress of data entry of rice value chain study in Takeo and Kompot province. Up to now, all collected questionnaires were installed into computer database system for data analysis. Mr. Chhong Sophal will be responsible to write up the synthesis report of the study. It is expected the draft report will be firstly produced during the fourth week of this month, February 2010.

Meeting with IDE’s NGO partners

On February 19, 2010 Mr. Yim Sok Sophors facilitated a meeting with partner NGOs of IDE at Kor Andeak, Kompong Trabke district, Prey Veng province. 9 participants attended the meeting who are NGOs’ staffs from CEDAC, IDE and PADEK. The meeting was conducted by reviewing minute of the last meeting, discussion about Radio program of FBA (Farm Business Adviser), strengthening cooperation among partner NGOs, selection of new field school, etc. The meeting was conducted smoothly and was able to produce much results. The next partner meeting will be conducted at IDE office in Svay Rieng province on March 19, 2010.

CEDAC organized a training workshop on Samachal in Pailin Province

On 8-9 February 2010, CEDAC organized a training workshop on Sammchal at Pailin Bomboo Hotel in purpose of strengthening the knowledge and capacity of school principals, farmer leaders of Self Help Groups/saving groups, village chief and commune council members on how to improve quality of life through the rehearsal of Samachal theory. The theory of Samachal focuses on the enlargement of Health, Knowledge, Friendship, and Money. It was to note that, in the workshop, CEDAC also revealed progress of its project implementation to the participants. Attending 30 participants, including 6 women, come from Pailin and Sala Krao districts, Pailin province.

Derived from post evaluation of the training, the participants could learn in a good way on the subject of Samachal along with the increasing of relationship and solidarity among the participants. As the training is very helpful for the participants because it is necessary to improve their quality of life. Furthermore, they suggested having more training sessions for their communities. The participants assured to disseminate what they have learned to their colleagues and other people in their workplace. Besides, the participants also gained comprehension on advantages of community-led saving group and they commits to strongly participate in and set up saving group in their respective villages.

It is to notice CEDAC is executing second phase of project, titled “Community-led Saving Development for Poverty Reduction and Self-reliance in Pailin province” from October 15, 2009 to December 15, 2010 in 23 villages across 5 communes, in 2 districts, in Pailin province. Up to date, 36 community led saving groups with 876 members were set up with the total saving capital of 95 million Riels (approximately 23,200 USD).

How indigenous farmers in Sok San commune grow vegetables in dry season?

Some communes in Koh Ngiek district, Mundulkiri province especially Sok San Commune are very dry in the dry season, but there are flooded in the rainy season. Based on the direct observation, the farmers lack of family ponds as well as the community ponds to be used as the reservoirs  for water storage. However, there are some natural water bodies like the stream and lake, but only minority of the people there can access to these water sources. I see that some minority indigenous farmers who have been trained by CEDAC on ecological agricultural innovations applied vegetable growing in the dry season. Some other farmers still now grow vegetables even they can access to water.

There are big demands of vegetables in the dry season, from the experiences of lowland area, I think that it is good if the indigenous farmers form themselves into vegetable farmer producer groups so that they can join effort to produce more vegetables for local market supplies. They can supply their vegetables to markets at the district level as well as the provincial level. Mundulkiri is located in the upland area of Cambodia. Even the soil fertility is good but the vegetables are imported from Vietnam and from the lowland area of Cambodia. Some vegetable sellers in the province import the vegetable products from Phnom Penh to sell in Mundulkiri province.
To me, I think that the farmers can join to improve this situation if they have willingness to grow vegetables:
1. The technique of vegetable growing in dry season should be trained to the indigenous farmers. It is really good if the trainers could show the real practice directly to them. The indigenous people get more understanding through the real practice rather mentioning theories in the classroom. If they are trained on vegetable growing, they will be able to produce vegetable at least for family consumption. Some other potential families will be able to produce vegetables for market supplies so that they actually be able to generate more incomes to improve their family’s livelihood, which previously mainly rely on Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs),

2. The farmers should dig family pond or community pond to be used for vegetable growing and animal raising especially in the dry season. If they have ponds, they have hope to better their living condition in the dry season. They can raise fishes, they can grow vegetables, they can raise other animals, etc.

3. The farmers should use as much as possible the existing potentials of their communities, there are some natural water bodies in their communities. Therefore, it is good if they grow vegetables along the stream. They will produce good vegetables for family consumption and market supplies. Some farmers who are cooperating with CEDAC have already experienced of doing such good things and they could receive a good result from their effort.
4. Now, indigenous farmers in Koh Ngiek district do not use chemical fertilizer or chemical pesticide for farming activities. Therefore, it is good to promote ecological agriculture in the district. However, we worry about new comers who not indigenous people apply chemicals to their farm and it is followed by the indigenous farmers. I think that it is really good if development agencies such as NGOs, government line departments raise awareness to those farmers about pros and cons of chemical agricultural inputs and encourage them to use natural manure, organic matter, etc.


By: Him Neun,

Association for Local Development and Agriculture (ALDA) is an initiative started by CEDAC in 2008 in Takeo, Kompong Speu and Kompot provinces. The association was formed by clustering interested former graduates of CEDAC’s Young Community Leader[1] (YCL) and farmer promoter programs. ALDA is a sub-program of CEDAC Field Program Unit. The main purpose of this program to ensure that there is are sufficient competent community human resources committed to train, guide, advice and provide services to other farmers, NGOs and institutions in their community and neighboring communities. It is considered of first rank importance to build the capacity and promote cooperation among young community farmers and other farmers to enhance their careers and develop  specializations.

On February 25, 2009, CEDAC facilitated the organization of  interested young farmer community leaders in Takeo and Kompong Speu provinces into ALDA with title Rural Youth Association for Development (RYAD). The association was established with the objectives of:
-          Improving youth cooperation and mutual help
-          Increasing job and career opportunities
-          Building up the capacity of each other
-          Developing rural youth to be an organization that plays an important role in providing training and facilitating services in the fields of Agriculture, Health, Education and Environment.

Initially, the association consisted of 11 members (6 women) who had completed the Young Community Leader course (YCL) with CEDAC. Currently, the association has 19 memberships (6 women) with 398 USD as supporting fee. In general, RYAD has been able to generate a gross income of approximately 800 USD per month to support its operations. Members bring in a monthly salary from their services such as promoting service fee from PRS-EU project, hosting NGOs exchange visit, monthly salary (CFA of CEDAC project), data collection, training service fee from participants and selling farmer magazines. In addition, to strengthen the sustainability of the association all members agreed to set aside 3% of the association’s monthly gross income as a RYAD supporting fee and regular collective saving. Up to date RYAD has run its operation full one year with driving some achievement as following:

1- Community Assistance:
(RYAD) has been playing an important role by providing support, advice  and guidance to local   communities to improve their mutual help. They have facilitated farmers to set up village-based associations, saving groups, and collective business groups like community rice mill, animal feed processing, and local seed producer, applying community participatory development approaches. RYAD also assisted the community to set up saving-for-self-reliance groups at the village level and facilitates the administration of these groups by helping with the processes of saving, lending, bookkeeping and fund management of the money paid back. Besides providing social and business ideas to farmers, RYAD association has assisted communities to apply innovative agricultural practices such as System of Rice Intensification (SRI), ecological chicken-raising, fish-raising, home gardening, integrated farming, saving compost and improving fertilizer management, and reducing chemical pesticide and fertilizer use.

2- Enhancing Capacity of Members:
RYAD not only seeks to support communities but also to strengthen the skills and capacity of its members.  Their knowledge related to agricultural practices was improved through attendance in training and capacity building sessions organized by CEDAC, learning from expert farmers and producing best practice documentation. Family income of RYAD members was increased through practicing the agriculture techniques themselves at home. Moreover, RYAD provided more opportunities to members through additional training activities and hosting exchange visits. Each member can earn a salary on average of 70USD per month by providing the training service, hosting NGOs exchange visit, data collection and selling farmer magazine.

Though the association is still young, it has made rapid strides and members are contributing to communities for positive changes. Some members have identified their specialization and have been improving their own self development.

[1] YCL is the one approach of CEDAC rural development program  to improve quality of knowledge and life of young farmer

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Workshop on CMDG

Up to January 18, 2010, 9 workshops on CMDG (Cambodia Millennium Development Goal), with 255 participants including 72 women, have been organized by the project, titled “Happy Mountain Bird/Ensuring Access to Primary Education for Children of the Poorest Families”. This is the third phase of the project being implementing by CEDAC to support 34,000 poorest children in 300 villages across 40 communes in Kompong Chhnang province.

The participants were representatives of District Office of Education, commune council members, village chief, school principals, Community Based Facilitators (CBF), Community based Education Promoters (CEP), NGO’s staff and other local stakeholders. Summary background of CEDAC, critical information of HMB3, and the CMDG were raised for presentation and plenary discussion during the workshop. The workshops have been organized to build up the understanding and capacity of local authorities and other local stakeholders abovementioned on CMDG. All 9 goals of CMDG were presented and discussed especially the first goal “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” and the second goal “Achieve primary education” were discussed in-depth thanks to they are strongly relevant to the implementation of HMB3.

About 90% of total participants have learned and understood well about the CMDG that will improve their commitment to ensure a good primary education within their respective communities.  Furthermore, it has provided a good opportunity to the school teachers/school principals, local authorities, and other local stakeholders to discuss actively about the education issue in their respective communities especially their effort to achieve the CMDG. Moreover, the action plan was developed by the participants in order to contribute to accomplishing of primary children’s education.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Progress of paddy value chain study by CBO representatives in Kompot and Kompong Speu Provinces

The data entry of the paddy value study at Kompot and Kompong Speu provinces were completed. Pheng Chandy, Kong Sina and Nuon Piseth, cedac’s staff, conducted the data entry. Chhong Sophal will write the research report by analyzing those data. It is to note that the paddy value chain study was conducted by CBO representatives in Kompot and Kompong Speu province. It was very good change for the community people to conduct the study by themselves. By doing so, they were able to learn how to conduct paddy value chain as well as they could gain more knowledge and information about paddy production and paddy market in their respective areas. The first draft report will be distributed to the CBO representatives to check and comment on the report. They would be able to add more additional information that they could learn from their effort in the fields that was recently conducted.

Sun Vatannak, staff of CRS, expected to continue in providing strengthening the capacity and knowledge to this team so that this team will become a good team that is able to provide good development services in their communities. Those CBOs can raise proposal to CRS in order to ask for grant to cover on the training sessions.

End project evaluation of FLIP

Mr. Chhin Chhunhoir is working on the internal project evaluation of FLIP in Takeo province. The evaluation will be conducted in Prey Veng as well because both Takeo and Prey Veng are the target provinces of FLIP. Recently, Chhunhoir was working on the questionnaire design and testing it for improvement. He trained team members to collect information from respondents in order to respond the objectives of the evaluation.

Field mission to ALP Mundulkiri

Yim Sok Sophors and Vang Sean, CEDAC’s staff, conducted field mission to the Agriculture Livelihood Project in the Sok San Community, Koh Ngiek district, Mundulkiri province from 8-12 Feb 2010. The purpose of the visit was to conduct end line survey of ALP. 80 questionnaires would be collected through individual interview with the community farmers. It is expected that by 19, all questionnaires would be completed.

During the visit, staff meeting was organized in order to prepare questionnaire for the end line survey. Cheav Sopheak who is the project officer of ALP also participated in the end line survey. We all have conducted individual interview with farmers in the target villages. However, we were likely difficult to find farmers for the interview as they were not at home. The report of the end line survey would be submitted to WWF at the end of this month.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The workshop on Harmonization and Equivalence for Greater Mekong Countries

From February 4-5, 2010 CEDAC staff member Mr. Khorn Sdok attended the Harmonization and Equivalence for Greater Mekong Countries Workshop in Nonthaburi province, Thailand. The workshop was conducted and supported by the Global Organic Market Access Project (GOMA) of FAO, IFOAM and UNCTAD. GOMA staff and 26 representatives from 8 countries attended: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Australia, China and attended the workshop. The objectives of the workshop were to:

- Share among the Greater Mekong Countries the challenges of standards and certifications for trade; and
- Discuss ways for countries in the region to address harmonization and equivalence in organic agriculture.

During the workshop, several important topics were presented and discussed. Topics included a summary of the Global Organic Market Access Project, understanding the situation in the Greater Mekong Countries and Australia (each country presented their situation and challenges regarding organic standards and certification bodies), Regional Harmonization and Equivalence in Asia, ways forward and recommendations. The participants discussed in-depth how were the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) or Asian or Asian plus 1, 2 and 3 countries harmonized and equivalent in organic agriculture standard. At the end of the workshop, the majority of participants agreed to establish a regional minimum standard for organic products, which will based on the IFOAM or Codex standards and accreditation of certifying bodies, which will be based on ISO 65 for the long-term vision of the GOMA project.

Train Community Leaders to be Market Researcher

On February 05, 2010, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors facilitated a meeting with the participation of CBO representatives at Tramkak district, Takeo province on paddy value chain study. The participants came from different areas, included Kompot and Kompong Speu province. The participants shared their activities and results during the last whole month concerning to data collection through individual interview and group discussion with key respondents in the villages studied. During the meeting, we summed up the progress of data collection being conducted by the CBO representatives. So far, they have completed the data collection. We will go on with data entry and reporting.

Mr. Vatannak, CRS, was in the meeting and discussed with the participants to organize 3 training sessions to the same participants, the training will be start in March, May and July. The topics focus on Practical Management and Leadership, Training and Facilitation Skill, and Business Plan Preparation. He wanted the CBOs to raise the proposals for submission to CRS for covering the expenses of those training sessions.
It is expected that the first draft report of this paddy value chain will be done in February, around 22-23 Feb. The first draft report will be distributed to the CBOs in order to ask them for comment so that we can finalize the report ultimately. With support from CRS, it is expected that a presentation workshop will be organize to show the result of this study. Some relevant NGOs and government officials will be invited to join the workshop.

The meeting was ended with fruitful results, the participants mentioned that they have improved their understanding on general concept of paddy value chain. They knew how to conduct market study by themselves next time, etc.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Workshop on Improving Quality of Life

On February 03, 2010, CEDAC’s president, Dr. Yang Saing Koma, and director of Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), Mr. Pan Sopheap, facilitated a full-day workshop on the topic of “Improving Quality of Life” at Asia Hotel, in Kompong Chhnang province. 51 participants from five districts in  the province attended the workshops, included Community Based Facilitators (CBFs) and Community based Education Promoters (CEP) who are community leaders from CEDAC’s project, titled “Happy Mountain Bird/HMB”. It is to emphasize that HMB is implemented by CEDAC to ensure access to primary education for children of the poorest families.

Government officials who are representatives of Provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, HMB’s project coordinator, Mr. Kep Ratana, M&E officer, Mr. Sin Phoan, and Japanese interpreter, Mr. Heng Sokheng, also participated in the workshop.

The main purpose of the workshop was to discuss and build up knowledge of the community leaders and local stakeholders on how to improve their quality of life. Some relevant concepts, like Health, Knowledge, Friendship, and Money were raised for in-depth discussion. Additionally, the best practices or successful experiences of eradicating poverty was also actively discussed and shared among the participants. Moreover, the participants discussed about how to make a happy life at older age. Dr. Yang Saing Koma raised idea of collective saving for discussion with several examples. Each participant would be able to make income of 1,430 million riels by saving only 1,000 riels per month for thirty years with monthly interest rate of three percent.

The participants learned very well about the concepts of improving quality of life from the facilitators and mutual learning from the other participants. Ultimately, they committed to conduct collective saving in order to have a good happiness while they are older.

Kick off meeting on food security organized by EU

On February 03, 2010, Sim Samoeun, Yi Kimthan, Oum Savin, Y Kadum and Yim Sok Sophors (CEDAC’s staff members) participated in the kick off meeting on Food Security organized by European Union (EU) at Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh.

EU procedure, included financial management, EU visibility. Furthermore, Food Security and Food Facility were also presented by the EU’s staff as well.  During the meeting, the participants raised many questions to ask the presenters and the answers were fully responded. Through the participation in the meeting, I was able to know that EU will grant more 2 million euro for food security project in Cambodia for the year of 2010.