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Livelihood recovery project


After the 2011 floods, which impacted over 1.64 million people in Cambodia, CARE followed its emergency response with a project to facilitate restoration of livelihoods for affected communities in Kampong Chhnang and Prey Veng provinces.


From March 2012 CARE worked with partners in these provinces to distribute agricultural support and capital to flood affected families to assist in economic recovery. The goal of the project was to assist 5,000 households restore their productivity to pre-emergency levels.


Following the floods, there was concern that the loss of the season’s rice crop would place many families in considerable food and financial stress. Many farmers take out agricultural loans for seeds and fertiliser at the beginning of the growing season and pay the loan back following harvest. Due to the floods, many of these farmers would have been in significant debt without some form of financial relief. As a result, agricultural livelihoods needed to be re-established as soon as possible to aid recovery and reduce the possibility of further debt.


In Prey Veng and Kampong Chhnang, rice farming and livestock raising are among the most important household income generating activities. Following site visits and further assessments, CARE identified activities to promote the early recovery of communities in the affected areas, providing rice seeds, vegetable seeds, piglets, chickens, farming tools for agriculture recovery and construction materials to repair houses. This allowed families to secure their homes immediately and focus on planting in time for the season’s next harvest and earn enough to replace lost productive assets. While the provision of rice seeds directly benefited recipient families, increased agriculture activity also indirectly benefited those who sell their labour for planting.


For those with little or no capacity for farming their own rice crops, home garden kits with basic farming tools and short season vegetable seeds were distributed to supplement food rations and improve household nutrition levels. To complement the water filters distributed during the initial response, a hygiene promotion campaign helped to reduce the incidences of water-borne diseases experienced by those affected.


In addition to agricultural inputs, CARE identified the most vulnerable households who would benefit from cash transfers to assist in reducing their debts, and to restart or start their businesses. During the distribution process, CARE provided recipient families with a short financial management seminar, which aimed to help families prioritise their household needs. The criteria of eligibility for food and cash distributions were communicated with village members to prevent jealousy and clarify the purpose of the assistance they received. Commune and village chiefs were invited to provide support and assist in organising the distributions so that community members were involved with CARE’s recovery efforts at all levels. 


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