Cambodia: Climate resilience
In recent years, Cambodia has faced challenges arising from efforts to ensure both economic growth and the sustainability of energy resources.
Although the availability of electricity is steadily increasing, millions of Cambodians, including small, medium and micro enterprises (MSMEs) in rural areas, still remain dependent on expensive and not very stable sources. Similarly, there are still people who are without any access to electricity at the moment.
In view of this situation, we are trying to enable consumers and MSMEs in the fisheries and agriculture sector (most of the people living in rural areas are engaged in farming, fishing, casual labour and small business) to use green and affordable sources, with primary focus on solar energy.
Avoiding the production of pollutants and ensuring reliable energy sources are key to solving the current problem of energy poverty. This project therefore seeks to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in rural Cambodia. These objectives will be achieved precisely through the reduction of negative environmental impacts resulting from the MSMEs' energy consumption, as well as through the creation of new employment opportunities in the green economy.
Switch to Solar
To help address these challenges, People in Need is working to empower agriculture and fisheries MSMEs, as well as individual consumers, in six provinces in the Tonle Sap lake area and Phnom Penh. The goal is to encourage use of more environmentally friendly and affordable sources of energy, with a special focus on solar power.
Throughout the three-year project, PIN will encourage businesses in the agriculture and fisheries sectors to establish long-term linkages with solar-technology providers, and assist entrepreneurs with development of their businesses while using affordable solar solutions. PIN will also provide support for solar technology providers to establish a feasible position on the market, and thus ensure effective mutual cooperation between entrepreneurs on the one hand, and consumers represented by MSMEs on the other.
Less polluting, reliable sources of energy are a key precondition for addressing energy poverty. By reducing the environmental impact of MSMEs´ energy consumption and generating green employment opportunities, the project aims to contribute to more sustainable and inclusive growth in rural areas of Cambodia.
RECOVER: Rural Employment for COVID-19 Economic Recovery
The action is focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on the Tonle Sap region and includes districts with the highest number of returned migrants. Returned migrants are specifically targeted by the action for inclusion in training and business development opportunities, either to start their own small business or for employment with service providers to existing small and medium agro-
enterprises. The action utilises a market-systems approach to boost the production of high-value products and add value in the horticulture and poultry value chains. Linkages are strengthened with buyers, who are technical partners, in order to increase sales and thereby income for small and medium enterprises. PIN is working with various beneficiaries such as agricultural cooperatives (AC), producer group (PG), framer trainers, local vet shops, chick producer, demonstration farms, slaughterhouses, veterinary companies, and social enterprises. The project aims to contribute to inclusive economic recovery in the Tonle Sap region by improving food security, income, and employment opportunities for fishing and farming communities and returnee migrants, by leveraging existing relationships with the private sector and local civil society partners to further strengthen value chains by linking producers, processors, and buyers of the products. The project ensures that smallholder farmers and fishers have increased food production and consumption in the horticulture and livestock value chains through their use of effective agricultural practices, products, and services. Returning migrants and laid-off workers in COVID-19 affected sectors have improved access to market relevant skills, affordable finance, and social protection.
Dev4Scale: Development of Poultry Value Chain for Sustainable Community Adaptive Livelihood Enhancement
The project Dev 4 Scale applies a Market Systems Development approach aiming at improving the overall functioning of the poultry value chain in targeted areas. The main goal consists of expanding sustainable and equitable economic opportunities for communities, promoting eco-friendlier solutions and enhancing their climate resilience. The project is implemented in Prsat Balang distict (Sakream commune), Sandan district (Meanrith commune), Prasat Sambor (Sambor commune), and Santuk district (Ty Pour commune) in Kampong Thom. The design of the project is built on a model which has been tested extensively in three projects funded by the European Union targeting the development of the poultry sub-sector and which generated a deep impact across more than six target provinces. In order to unleash sustainable changes, the activity is tackling issues at different stages of the value chain, ranging from inputs supply to finance and access to markets. The activity seeks to strengthen coordination among different value chain actors and establish new market linkages for poultry producers to sell their poultry. Village Animal Health Workers (VAHWs)/Farmer Trainers’ capacities to provide extension services are improved. To ensure the sustainability of the model, the projec's activities encourage poultry producers to pay a (voluntary) small fee for accessing extension services. As large-scale adoption of positive behaviors in poultry production is often challenging, PIN makes use of its extensive expertise in Social Behavior Change formative research to identify inhibitors and promoters of positive practices and address them effectively. In conclusion the main aim of Dev 4 SCALE Project is to expand sustainable and equitable economic opportunities for communities, promoting eco-friendlier solutions and enhancing their climate resilience.
Disaster Reduction and Early Warning (DREW)
Many households in rural areas of Cambodia still do not have access to adequate and improved sanitation, which can lead to health problems for children and vulnerable people through ingesting contaminated food and water. An estimated 34% of children under-5 years old are stunted. In 2015, an estimated 40% of people in Cambodia still practiced ‘open defecation’, which is primarily due to a lack of adequate sanitation facilities.
The project aims to promote the use of latrines and increase the number of ‘Open Defecation Free’ villages within the rural target area. The SanMark approach aims to facilitate and enable local markets of sanitation products through both creating demand to purchase latrines among households, while also teaching businesses how to construct latrines. Household demand is promoted through a health education approach in target villages.
PIN is focusing on increasing the sustainability of the market for sanitation products through capacity building of local sanitation businesses. PIN’s support for local business includes components such as entrepreneurial training, book keeping, and marketing in surrounding villages.
Koh Kong Crab Farming
Koh Kong community has a significant potential enabling people to switch from coastal rice field to mud crab farming to improve their livelihood.
Mud crab enterprise will be the most potential livelihood alternative for the coastal community to generate profits for their start-up business. PIN is very pleased to work and cooperate with the public and private actors to push this mud crab enterprise forward.
Changes to water systems in Cambodia are expected to increase the rate and severity of flooding and drought, which will significantly impact public health, especially in vulnerable populations. Flooding can cause the spread of pathogens and contamination to water sources, whereas drought can impact hygiene practices. Cambodia’s vulnerability to climate change is due to the fact that 80% of the country is within the Mekong River Basin, which experiences large fluctuations of water levels between the wet and dry seasons. Additionally, Cambodia is ranked 165th in the world for access to improved water, with huge economic and geographic disparities.
PIN’s report determined that flooding and drought cause significant impacts to livelihoods, primarily through reduced agricultural output (including causing livestock deaths). Droughts also affect hygiene practices, while flooding pollutes potable water supplies by overwhelming waste management systems. Both flooding and drought led to increased rates of open defecation, either from the flooding of latrines or a lack of water for flushing.
Nonetheless, PIN determined that implementing WASH systems could inoculate people from the risks caused by flooding and drought. The report also identified methods of practical improvements in resilience for community- and household-based WASH infrastructure.
Tepmachcha Scale Up
During this project, PIN’s Disaster Management and Innovations Teams were able to increase the coverage of the flood detection to 4 further provinces (from the original 2 in 2016) and therefore contributed to improving extreme weather resilience for more than 40,000+ people in the designated areas.
Building Disaster Resilient Communities IV
Disaster Resilience and Water Management
Livestock sector development
The ‘Civil Society, Authorities and Markets for Sustainable Community Animal Production, Livelihoods and Environment’ (CAM-4-SCALE) project aims to improve the livelihoods of more than 50,000 smallholder livestock farmers across 8 target provinces in Cambodia (Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Prey Veng, Svey Rieng, Kampot Provinces), by building on and scaling up the achievements of the CLIMAD livestock development project. Between 2016-2018, the EU-funded CAM-4-SCALE project will strengthen both the veterinary services sector, and the capacities of the private sector, grassroots farmer groups, local NGOs and relevant authorities. The project is being implemented by PIN in cooperation with national NGOs CIRD, PNKA, and EPDO, the Provincial Offices of Animal Health and Production and relevant sections of the Cambodian Government. With a total budget of 1.4 million USD and a team of more than 40 staff, CAM-4-SCALE is one of the largest livestock market development projects in the region.
The project will be closely coordinated with another 2-year livestock project that PIN is implementing, called the “Project to Strengthen Village Animal Health Workers (VAHW) Capacity and System to Boost incomes in Cambodia”. The lead on this project is Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF), along with another implementing partner the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). The project is improving the capacities and veterinary services of 2100 new and existing VAHWs across 6 target provinces (Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Prey Veng, Svey Rieng).
Both projects form part of the civil society grants function of the European Union (EU) financed programme: ‘Promotion of inclusive and sustainable growth in the agriculture sector: fisheries and livestock’, being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). PIN welcomes cooperation with other results-driven agencies.
Biogas energy solutions
People in Need has joined forces with the National Biodigester Program (NBP) in developing a market-based biodigester sector in fourteen Cambodian provinces. Domestic biodigesters are underground constructions, where decomposing animal excrement releases a combination of methane and carbon dioxide, which is then easily harnessed as a fuel for kitchen gas stoves and lamps. Thus, families gain a convenient source of energy and do not need to purchase firewood or cook in smoke-filled rooms anymore. The by-product of biogas production – bioslurry – also provides farmers with a regular and potent supply of organic fertiliser which can be utilised to improve crop yields and also as a feed source for livestock production and aquaculture.
Thanks to reduced firewood burning, the utilization of methane from decomposing animal waste and replacement of chemical fertilizers with organic fertilisers, emissions of greenhouse gases fall annually by 4.01 tons per biodigester. Biodigester units also provide significant livelihood benefits to rural families, by generating an average annual value of $182 per family (from savings on fuel wood and chemical fertiliser purchases along with increases in crop yields). Thanks to the programs support, more than 22, 000 families have chosen to purchase a biodigester unit in Cambodia, benefitting around 118,000 rural people. A recent agricultural census found that close to a million households have the option to improve their living conditions by installing a biodigester in their home.
Biodigesters are promoted and constructed by local private companies trained by NBP, PIN and external contractors, who also monitor their quality and provide support to starting businesses. Every family that buys the domestic biodigester and has it built in compliance with recommended quality standards is eligible to receive a subsidy from the program. Thanks to these contributions, the purchase price of biodigesters is reduced and even less well-off families can afford this technology. More than 3129 biodigesters have been built in Cambodia with the support of the Czech Development Agency (CZDA). The latest consumer survey (2015 Biogas User Survey) shows that 96% of surveyed customers expressed satisfaction with the performance of their biodigester.
Together with NBP, People in Need support the development of after-sales services for biodigester owners in rural areas. Trained local technicians make minor repairs for a small fee, sell spare parts and advise people how to ensure that their biodigester operates smoothly. As a result, 261 private technicians have helped 11,130 biogas users gain the maximum benefits out of their biodigesters. PIN also works with NBP to support the establishment of model farmers that play an important role in disseminating best practices to farmers on bioslurry and compost usage to help them improve their crop and livestock production.
Promotion of sustainable distribution of renewable energy sources in Cambodia's rural areas
Access to health care, safe water and sanitation for displaced communities in Koh Kong province
Pesticides increase agricultural production through the reduction of pests and diseases and related crop loss. But continuous reliance on pesticides in agriculture poses serious threats to both the ecosystem and human health. The continued use of highly toxic pesticides, banned in many countries, has high social and environmental costs.
The ‘What’s in our food’ project aims to determine the pesticide levels in vegetables available in Cambodian fresh food markets and seeks ways to reduce the risk if the levels are found to be above those international recommended.
Solar energy solutions
Cambodia has one of the lowest electrification rates in South East Asia. While Cambodia is a low‐income country, the cost of electricity is one of the highest in the world. In the 2011‐2014 timeframe around 34% of people in Cambodia had access to electricity. Even when available, rural households pay more for electricity than urban residents. If grid connection is not available more than half of all households make use of car batteries, while others use dry cell batteries, candles or kerosene lamps. This energy use is inefficient, inconvenient, environmentally unsustainable and costly. Due to the inefficiency of these energy technologies the poor pay higher unit costs than more affluent people, with rural households spending 10‐15% of their monthly income on fuel and electricity. Solar energy provides a valuable opportunity for Cambodia's economic development by increasing rural communities access to affordable and clean power.
Since 2014, PIN has been working in close cooperation with Kamworks solar enterprise to support their distribution networks through the establishment and training of rural solar entrepreneurs. Thus far, more than 60 solar entrepreneurs have been selected, trained and coached (with an additional 250 entrepreneurs to be established over the next 2 years) to sell Solar Home Systems (SHS), increasing the access of rural communities to high quality solar products and servicing. PIN works closely with Kamworks to provide technical advice and field based support to Kamworks promotion and marketing approaches.
Recognising that one of the key constraints to greater uptake of solar technologies in Cambodia is negative perceptions towards the quality of solar products, the project also works with PicoSol Cambodia – a local solar NGO – to support a variety of awareness raising activities on solar technology. This includes support for promoting the ‘Solar Laor‘ quality label, Cambodia's first accreditation and quality control system for solar companies and their products. Along with helping to build the market demand for solar products, these awareness raising activities are also aimed at improving the income generated by rural sales entrepeneurs.
Improvement of health care access in Takeo
In Takeo Province, People in Need has improved healthcare access and community infrastructure by building 3 health centres, and PIN also donated medical equipment for training HC staff in specialized eye care, diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, one primary school was refurbished in Takeo in (3rd quarter of) 2015, ensuring safe and suitable conditions for children to attend school.
Disaster Resilience through Improve Education and Livelihoods
Koh Kong is a remote province located near the Thai border between the Cardamom Mountains and the Sea of Thailand. Climate change impacts, especially irregular rainfall patterns, increased rainfall intensity, and dry-season drought, are having negative impacts on the sustainability of livelihoods in the coastal communities’. This, combined with the effects of destructive livelihood practices including over-fishing, and significant mangrove and rainforest deforestation, the level of vulnerability to the effects of natural hazard for the people living in Koh Kong is one of the highest in Cambodia.
The Disaster Resilience through Improved Education and Livelihoods (DRIEL) project works directly with communities in Koh Kong to improve their understanding of and resilience to environmental hazards and disasters and a changing climate. Starting in 2014 and going through 2018 the DRIEL project aims to impact nearly 40,000 people living in 46 coastal villages of Koh Kong province. Our approach is two pronged; our partner Save the Children works directly through the education system, building on the demonstrated capacity of school children to be potent agents of change in family and communities regarding livelihoods, environment, DRR planning, and other life-skill dimensions, while People in Need works directly with community members and local authorities simultaneously, to give them the basic tools and techniques they need to build concepts of resilience into their community structures and livelihoods.
Improving the quality of mother and child health through sustainability of mHealth programming and content adaptation
As part of the project, we have been training clinicians in clinical skills or nutrition education in communities to prevent acute malnutrition of children. Thanks to the project, we have also expanded our innovative messaging system (mHealth), which provides services to families to improve neonatal health.
Community Livestock Market Development (CLIMAD)
CLIMAD’s team enabled more than 300 local veterinarians, veterinary companies and local shops to improve the quality, accessibility and demand for private, community-based veterinary and livestock marketing services. As a result, farmers were able to boost their incomes from livestock production while service providers increased their profits, generating win-win solutions for addressing livestock smallholders’ needs. In fact, farmers in the project increased their average income from poultry raising more than fivefold and animal health workers more than doubled their average monthly income. Close cooperation with local and provincial governments also enabled farmers to advocate for the ongoing support they need.
Farmers interested in livestock production were encouraged to form informal livestock groups, through which they gained better access to both veterinary services and technical information on animal raising practices. Animal health workers benefited from training and coaching on a range of topics, including animal raising techniques, disease identification and treatment, and presentation and communication skills, in order to provide professional services and counselling to the farmers. They were also helped to establish and improve veterinary shops selling much needed veterinary products to farmers in rural areas. This included support to improve the cool chain management system used by shop owners, critical for maintaining the quality of livestock vaccines.
More information is available in the project’s final evaluation report and in an overview video.
Healthy Family Community (mHealth)
Beginning in Kampong Chhnang Province in 2013, the Healthy Family Community project uses mobile phone technology to deliver health messages regarding maternal and child health. Mothers and pregnant women who have registered receive automatic prerecorded voice messages to their phone which are designed to improve health behaviours and increase health service demand. These messages provide information and advice on a range of topics, such as avoiding harmful traditional health practices, and improving nutrition of the mother and baby.
The first program implemented in Kampong Chhnang delivered messages for the first 28 days of the baby’s life. As a result of our mHealth programme in 2014: 64% fewer mothers used traditional remedies to treat their baby’s cord stump; 48% fewer mothers consumed alcohol after birth; Twice the number of mothers could recognise danger signs in their baby; Admissions of children to health centres increased by more than 2.6 times.
Due its popularity and success, a new expanded service will deliver messages for the first 1,000 days of life, spanning from pregnancy until a child’s 2nd birthday. This is known as the window of opportunity, whereby better nutrition can have a life-changing impact on a child's future and help break the cycle of poverty.
Recently we receive funding from UNICEF for expanding mHealth activities to Kratie province and have since begun training midwives on the First 1000 days, Healthy Family Community programme.
You can download more information here and here
Development of a market-oriented sector with domestic biodigesters
People in Need has joined forces with the National Biodigester Program (NBP) in developing a market-based biodigester sector in twelve Cambodian provinces. Domestic biodigesters are underground constructions, where decomposing animal excrement releases a combination of methane and carbon dioxide, which is then easily harnessed as a fuel for kitchen gas stoves and lamps. Thus, families gain a convenient source of energy and do not need to purchase firewood or cook in smoke-filled rooms anymore. Thanks to reduced firewood burning, the utilization of methane from decomposing animal waste and replacement of chemical fertilizers by natural ones, emissions of greenhouse gases fall annually by 4.01 tons per one biodigester.
Biodigesters are promoted and constructed by local private companies trained by NBP, PIN and external contractors, who also control their quality and provide support to starting businesses. Every family that buys the domestic biodigester and has it built in compliance with recommended quality standards gets a subsidy. Thanks to these contributions, the purchase price of biodigesters is reduced and even less well-off families can afford it. With the support of Czech development cooperation, more than 2,267 biodigesters were built in Cambodia.
Together with NBP, People in Need supports the development of after-sales services for owners of biodigesters in rural areas. Trained local technicians make minor repairs for a small fee, sell spare parts and advise people how to ensure that their biodigester operates smoothly. As a result, more than 150 private technicians have helped 7,000 families to get the maximum benefits out of their biodigester.
Improving Livelihoods in Rural Areas of Kampong Chhnang province
From 2011 to 2012 People in Need supported two local partner organizations in the development of the livelihoods of 800 poor families from 21 villages in Kampong Chhnang Province. Through practical trainings in more effective agriculture production practices, followed by the provision of investment grants and subsequent coaching, many families were able to transform their small fields and animal husbandry into medium-sized businesses, generating a significant source of income.
Within the program, we cooperated closely with local veterinarians, experienced farmers, employees of the Provincial Department of Agriculture and local authorities to achieve the maximum benefits for the most motivated poor families. Furthermore, People in Need has provided all partner organizations with systematic support that focuses on the improvement of their technical, managerial and fundraising abilities so they are able to work effectively on the development of their region in the future without assistance from international organizations.
Newborn care and nutrition
People in Need provides quality training to improve the level of care focused on midwives and the staff of health centres. Training specializes in various areas such as resuscitation of newborn babies and infection control. In addition, PIN trained and supported health centres in the promotion of health care at community level. It focuses on the problems associated with breastfeeding and complementary feeding, holds cooking classes and demonstrations by mothers teach how their families prepare simple and nutritious meals.
In 2016 specialised training has taken place for health centre staff across two operation districts in Kampong Chhnang. Following that training, Post-Partum Hemorrhage and Anti-Shock garments (NASG) were donated to the HCs.
PIN works to improve access and standards of health infrastructure in rural and disadvantaged communities. This has included construction and renovation of health centres, postnatal rooms and WASH. In the province of Koh Kong, we have constructed a health centre in a remote, hard-to-access area where people were forced to relocate from their homes and communities due to economic development. Previously, these communities had no choice but to travel long distances to access health care, and now approximately 1500 households will receive convenient healthcare as a result of this new centre.
Moreover we have a partnership with RWC (Rainwater Cambodia) in Koh Kong for implementing a subsidized water jars and latrines project. This has been supplemented by CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation) activities promoting handwashing and safe water use.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Integral to its the community health promotion activities, PIN promotes healthy hygiene practices both within health centres and in the community. Together with social enterprise Wetlands Works!, PIN supported the pilot project of innovative flood proof latrines in a peri-urban community that is subject to annual flooding. In addition, PIN has partnered with Urban Poor Women Development (UPWD) to assess and improve the level of knowledge and awareness of hygiene practices within the impoverished communities of Phnom Penh. We have tailored lessons for community outreach based on our assessment of the knowledge, attitudes and practices of families within the community, in order to deliver the most relevant information to those who need it most.