Women such as Srey Eng, 20, who come from rural farming families typically drop out of school early. They struggle to improve upon the traditional farming practices of their parents, so CARE has trained women in the community to help farmers maximise their ability to earn income at home. The impact is clear: Srey Eng has quadrupled her livestock, increased her vegetable production more than tenfold and hugely increased her income.
“Before I strived hard to make a living through farming but I faced challenges. Many of my animals got sick or died and I didn’t get much return for the time I spent on this. I did not have much confidence that I could make this better,” Srey Eng recounts.
She started learning from women who are becoming the community’s new agricultural leaders. “Since joining a Farmer Interest Group I have learnt lots of new techniques about animal rearing and horticulture farming. This knowledge has given me the confidence to invest more in my livestock and vegetable production. I have been very happy with the results!”
Before Srey Eng had only one or two pigs. Now she has eight. She used to grow vegetables on 300 square metres of land but she has now expanded to cover 2,500. Far from relying on the knowledge of previous generations, she is now teaching her parents and they are spending time supporting her endeavours. Srey Eng has also started shared these techniques with other farmers near her home and is happy to report she now feels more valued by her neighbours.
The increase in her farming activities is having a very positive impact on the family finances. Before Srey Eng earned just $50-$75 each month, but now she can make as much as $300. This income means she can cover all her family’s necessary spending for their home and ensures whey have money for healthcare when they need it. She has also started saving with her local community savings groups.
Srey Eng is now planning her future endeavours and happily explains how she aims to invest more in livestock rearing, doubling the number of pigs she raises to as many as 20. Her next step is to use her vegetables to run a small grocery stall. Without the knowledge and support of the female farmers now leading the way in her community, Srey Eng says she doubts she would be the ambitious woman she is today.
Sok Eng has been trained by CARE as part of the Local Economic Leadership project, which is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, she has been able to increase the income and stated saving with her local community savings group.”