IWEP, Cambodia

Title: Integrated Women Empowerment Project (phase II)

Project Manager: Bodil Pallesen

Project period: April 2009- March 2013

Budget: $1,500,000

Donor: Danida

Partner organizations: Banteay Srei and READA (Rural Economic and Agricultural Development Agency)

Background and target group:
Cambodia is in many ways a country strongly influenced by the civil war in the 70s, and this contributes significantly to the overall poverty picture in the country. The war left behind many widows and thus many families with women as the head of the household. The majority of women lives in the countryside, and gets the majority of their income from farming. During the war, many women took over traditional men’s roles in agriculture, for example plowing, watering, mowing and tilling, while they also continued their traditional pursuits, such as producing vegetables, going to the market and taking care of the home and cooking for the family. Today the women are still carrying out these tasks in the field, but do not possess enough knowledge to improve the production. The yield from the fields and kitchen gardens are generally very low. The reasons for this include lack of education and knowledge of effective and sustainable production methods.

Purpose and method:
The overall development goal in IWEP II is to combat and reduce poverty among rural women and women-headed households in five districts in Siem Reap. The project’s contributions to this development are:
Building personal and social sustainable capital among women by supporting the development of local self-help groups.
To enable women to increase their household income by using knowledge of improved agricultural practices to help increase the value of their agricultural products using local marketing and through agribusiness activities.
To strengthen the position of women and encourage them to take leadership within the many different functions in their communities.
The agricultural teaching is based on the participatory training method “Farmer Field School” (FFS). The FFS participants take joint decisions about cultivation practices and reaches agreement through discussions. In order to facilitate good FFS a training of trainers’ course is educating local staff to be in charge of the FFS. Participants of this course then work as agricultural advisors in the villages. When women have participated in a FFS they are encouraged to continue working in self-help groups. It is the goal that these groups will form the basis for small agricultural cooperatives.