October 2013 – September 2017
Srae Ambel & Botum sakor districts, Koh Kong province
500 VSLA members who have not received PACE training (VSLA member are approximately 90% female)
19 Villages in Botum sakor and Srae Ambel districts.
Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) in the community
P.A.C.E. in the Community works with community members in Koh Kong province to enhance their skills so they can use their money in the most effective ways. The project is conducted alongside CARE’s Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLAs), which are well-established within Koh Kong’s Sre Ambel district. These community-based savings groups bring together around twenty community members – predominantly women – to pool their savings and access small loans. Many of these loans and the resultant savings are used improve families’ livelihoods, cover healthcare costs, and otherwise invest in their futures.
The VSLA groups have a strong interest in improving their ability to self-manage business opportunities through increased knowledge and life skills in communication, problem solving and decision making, time and stress management, and health and nutrition. Members also seek improved ability to manage one’s own finances, resulting in an increased ability to access livelihood opportunities and improve access to income.
The P.A.C.E.in the Community project provides additional support to these VSLA groups by providing them with additional training and mentoring. Gap’s P.A.C.E. project has provided garment factory workers with foundational skills and support that will help with decision-making and problem-solving for a number of years; CARE has adapted this for the rural context and is now implementing activities with communities in Koh Kong.
Bringing these two models together provides benefits for both projects: linking P.A.C.E. training with existing group structures ensures participation and reduces drop-outs, while providing relevant training to support savings activities helps maximize the impacts of participation in VSLA groups.
CARE works to help women access economic opportunities, ensure women have social opportunities and a voice, and engage stakeholders to create enabling governance that will support women. P.A.C.E. in the Community supports women to have a greater participation in decision making and problem resolution, as well as managing time at home and in community activities.
To maximise the impact of Village Saving and Loan Associations for community members, particularly women, to enhance their personal agency and economic empowerment.
Provide three core PACE life-skills training modules – communications; problem solving and decision making; and time and stress management – to 500 VSLA members to improve their confidence and ability to manage livelihood opportunities and relationships at home and in the wider community.
Provide financial skill training to 500 VSLA members to improve their personal financial skills, increasing their ability to determine good business transactions and increase profits.
Provide Khmer literacy to 500 VSLA members to improve their ability to fully participate in business transactions and improve their record keeping.
Provide health and hygiene training to 500 VSLA members to improve their knowledge of relevant key health issues, particularly those relating to women’s health, which could impact their day-to-day activities.
Follow up and increase the future sustainability of the project by advocating to local government and building links to increase women’s agency in requesting support themselves.