Story by Orn Makara | Training Officer | Heifer Cambodia
Translated by Uy Chanthon | Senior Program Manager | Heifer Cambodia
Photos courtesy of Heifer Cambodia Staff
On June 20, 2013, Heifer Cambodia and the Rural Children Saving Association (RCSA) registered the Agricultural Cooperative as an independent institution. The cooperative will help Cambodian farmers own and operate their own businesses.
Located in Preh Sihanouk Province, the cooperative will incorporate four self-help groups (SHGs)—Satrey Meanrith, Punleu Samkithmey, Satrey Aphivat and Satrey Punlork Thmey. There are 56 members, five leaders and three elected monitoring committees.
Vong Piseth, a member of Satrey Aphivat SHG said, "As deputy chief of the Agricultural Cooperative, I am proud of this chance. I will work with my Agricultural Cooperative members to run the business, and we will surely improve the capital for expansion. I am very thankful to Heifer and RCSA for helping my community."
Since 2002, the Cambodian government began approving agricultural cooperative operations to help impoverished farmers. Heifer Cambodia partnered with RCSA in 2009 to start the cooperative.
The cooperative was established after completing a three-year implementation and two-year reporting period. RCSA fulfilled several requirements by the Cambodian government by working closely with the Provincial Department of Agriculture in Preh Sihanouk Province.
Leurng Kean, 33, attended the Values-Based Literacy Class and was elected cashier for the cooperative. "I used to study only in grade two, and I dropped out of school for many years. This literacy class helped me in mathematics. And now, I am a good cashier and treasurer for my commune's Agricultural Cooperative. I am so happy, and I will try my best to work for my community," Kean said.
Heifer Cambodia aims to see the Agricultural Cooperative participants continue helping each other raise animals, unify their communities and increase their incomes.
Long Him, 57, from the Satrey Mean Rith Group of Ka Ong village, said, "I am happy my community now has an agricultural cooperative with full support from the local authority and the RCSA organization. I believe this Agricultural Cooperative will provide more capital for improving our incomes."