INTEGRATED RURAL DEVELOPMENT
An integrated social development program that provides micro loans and preventative healthcare training to rural villagers and ethnic minorities.
Phnom Kravanh (Cardamom Mountain) is one of six districts in Cambodia’s Pursat province where poverty, lack of access to education, poor health and food insecurity are systematically interrelated. An insufficient diet contributes to widespread health problems among the poor majority, and the cost of poor health pushes many rural households further into poverty. Many of Phnom Kravahn’s children suffer from malnutrition, and struggle to study and attend school.
In 2009, Lotus Outreach began coordinating with the Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD) to simultaneously address these intersecting challenges. The Integrated Rural Development (IRD) program works to alleviate poverty and its tragic consequences for 5,167 marginalized villagers living in four villages of Phnom Kravanh’s Samroung commune by offering relief in three crucial areas: primary healthcare, access to education, and food security/income generation.
Recognizing that a collapse in any of these elements undermines progress in the others, IRD seeks to shore up potential pitfalls to create a resilient scenario for sustainable development. From day one, the program is rolled out from the ground up – local people are recruited and trained to administer each component. Village health volunteers educate their communities on basic sanitation and preventative healthcare practices in exchange for a small monthly food stipend. Education working groups monitor the scholarship program, and self-help groups administer individual microloans to support village development plans.
By placing ownership of the three mutually supportive branches in the hands of their beneficiaries, Lotus Outreach and COCD are nurturing the confidence and autonomy that sustainable change is made of.
Partner: Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD)
Supported by: Buddhist Global Relief • International Foundation
Constructs water wells that serve entire villages in the drought-prone regions of rural Cambodia.
According to UNICEF’s 2014 report “Progress For Children: A Report Card on Water and Sanitation,” only 45% of Cambodia’s rural population has access to improved drinking water sources, leaving the remaining 55% vulnerable to life-threatening infectious disease—with children under 5 at the greatest risk.
When poor Cambodians have no drinking water, they have to buy it or spend valuable work hours fetching it. The cost is up to $30 or comparable in-kind labor per month for a typical family, which equals the average monthly salary of one Cambodian adult. This expense has a severe impact on communities, where 80% of families cannot afford to pay for more than two days of rice at a time.
In addition to drastically reducing the financial burden on rural families and lowering the incidence of infectious disease, these wells allow villagers to grow vegetables during the dry, drought-prone season, which can last from eight to ten months per year. The availability of fresh vegetables will help reduce widespread malnutrition and hunger. Furthermore, the wells help villagers to weather more frequent and extreme drought and flooding due to climate change and deforestation.
Partners: Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD) • Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (CWCC)
Supported by: IPA Foundation • Douglas A. Campbell Foundation • Radiant Spirit • Devopsday • Forix Foundation • Buddhist Global Relief • The Lutheran Church of Ascension