Livelihoods and Food Security

Case Study: Cambodia

“It makes me happy that
I am able to take care of my family and make our lives better.”

Chantha is a 45 year-old woman living in the semi-urban area of Phnom Penh who sells rice and noodles. She works hard, traveling 1km every day to purchase supplies from the market.

Last year, Chantha participated in AFAP and partner CVCD’s Self Sustainability project. The project provides trainings and small loans for local community members. Since receiving her loan, Chantha has been able to expand her noodle selling business. These days she is very busy because on top of the existing stall at her house, she and her husband have also been able to purchase a cart and can sell her products outside the community to factory workers.

Previously, Chantha didn’t have any excess funds and spent all the family’s income on daily needs, there was no way to save. However, because of the training she received on business planning and how to save money as part of being granted her loan, she is now more aware of how to manage her finances. With better money management skills she has been able to pay for her daughter’s schooling, expand her business and also put money away for emergencies.

“Being able to expand my business means that I can afford things that we couldn’t previously. The loan has given me the opportunity to support my family financially and think about the future. After I pay back my loan in January 2013, I would like to take out another loan to be able to repair my house. This will improve our health and make it easier for my daughter to study. It makes me happy that I am able to take care of my family and make our lives better.”

Our Work

Poverty, low levels of education , environmental degradation, social and gender inequality, poor health and natural disasters are among the root causes of lack of food, or food insecurity [1]. Finding solutions to the broad and complex issues that affect food security is challenging. AFAP recognises that sustainable and equal access to food requires integrated long-term responses to household and community vulnerability on the part of governments, civil society, and international partners, by incorporating new technologies, local expertise, and involvement of those communities themselves.

AFAP works across a number of channels to address food insecurity such as increasing household production, increasing access to food and nutrition through conservation agriculture, irrigation schemes, community gardens and income generating activities targeted at improving vulnerable communities’ income levels.

Although there has been considerable progress in the reduction of hunger and poverty globally, in Africa progress has so far been limited. At present, a third of the African population faces widespread hunger, chronic malnutrition and are exposed to the constant threat of acute food crisis on a regular basis. The most affected are rural households, whose livelihoods are heavily dependent on rain fed agriculture. The Mphuka Shared Futures project, implemented by our partner Concern Universal supported the construction of Namikango Irrigation Scheme which benefits one hundred and twenty households, ensuring that participating communities can increase their household food production and improve their nutrition throughout the year due to consistent access to water for crops. This project also provided two hundred and eighty five vulnerable households with livestock to additionally boost their income levels.

AFAP ‘s work around food security covers not just access to food itself but inter-related issues such as the promotion of conservation agriculture (CA); an approach focused on resource saving practices like mulching and crop rotation for improved and sustained productivity and increased profits while preserving the environment[2]. In Zimbabwe, AFAP together with Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT) and in collaboration with the Institute of Agriculture Engineering are supporting communities in Mashonaland West District through training on conversation agriculture. Currently twenty five farmers are piloting this approach. AFAP also supported the establishment of nutrtition gardens in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to improve the diet of the most vulnerable communities through the introduction of nutritional vegetables in their diet grown in gardens located close to their homes for easy care and access.

In Asia Pacific our work was mainly focused on sustainable livelihoods and income generation, or the way households obtain and maintain access to essential resources to ensure their immediate and long-term survival. In Cambodia, AFAP together with implementing partner Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development, provided forty microfinance loans to enable targeted vulnerable communities in Phnom Pen to improve their income levels and living standards through sustainable and profitable business activities. In Vietnam, working with poor and ethnic minorities to promote self-governance and sustainable agricultural practices our projects has increased adaptability and capacity for three hundred families. These programs have also reduced the dependence of one thousand two hundred poor farmers on external resources by developing models of eco friendly, low input production, strengthening collective capacity and market competition power.

[1] Nutrition and Well-Being Report: Food Security.
[2] Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

Action on Poverty

Action on Poverty