Women in rural Cambodia cultivate their way out of vulnerability


In five rural districts of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces in Cambodia, Banteay Srei, a local women-led NGO works with the poorest, most marginalized women—including those who are illiterate or single mothers—to help them improve their livelihoods.

Photo: Courtesy of Banteay Srei/Krem Chhat
Photo: Courtesy of Banteay Srei/Krem Chhat

Twenty-year-old Vern Chantha is one. The fifth in a poor family of seven children with unemployed elderly parents, she decided to participate in training on agricultural techniques to improve productivity on her 100-square-metre family farm. “Sometimes the plants didn’t grow well and we did not have any product to harvest even after our hard efforts,” she says.

With new skills and continued coaching on the use of non-chemical fertilizers and natural pesticides, her yields have risen, providing enough to sell for income. 

In total, 25 female community members have been trained to become trainers in agricultural techniques to raise pigs and chicken, and grow vegetables. Of the 100 poor rural women who gained skills through their guidance, almost a third have increased their incomes by 50 per cent.

The programme, which began in May 2016 is funded by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality; the Fund provides technical and financial support to innovative initiatives from women-led civil society organizations that demonstrate concrete results on the ground, especially for women in situations of marginalization.

Read the full story on UN Women's regional website for Asia and the Pacific.