Women's food and nutrition groups in Cambodia

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Working together for better nutrition

posted Oct 25, 2013 by Alyssa Tartaglione

Progress

261 women's groups have been set up (one more than planned) across the neighboring provinces of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri. To form the groups, Health Poverty Action worked with health facility staff and village chiefs to assemble women in each village who had children under five or were of child bearing age.

The concept of the groups was explained and hands were raised by those who wanted to take part. Groups of 6-12 women were formed who then elected a head and a deputy and gave their group a name. Names picked included 'mother loves child' and 'mothers taking care of children'. Each group was trained to develop home gardens with new types of vegetables as a sustainable way of supplementing the family diet and income.

Following the training, groups received tools and seeds (such as Chinese cabbage, radish, egg plant and pumpkin) and have set up gardens in their villages. They are meeting monthly to learn about and discuss issues like child health, nutrition and safe motherhood.

Risks and challenges

There are sometimes occasions when some women in the groups are unable to attend trainings. However we often hear how women who miss a session are keen to catch up from those who attend and also to spread what they learn among other people in their community.

Get personal

Hong from Mondulkiri Province:

"I joined trainings with Health Poverty Action on child care, nutrition and BorBor (rice porridge) cooking. I told other villagers what I had learned and they enjoyed learning from me. Even though I am sometimes too busy to attend the training, I always ask about it from other villagers who went. Now I know how to take care of my children's health and nutrition and I cook BorBor and add vegetables from the farm and bought off other villagers."

Next steps

Women's groups will continue to maintain gardens in their villages, which will reduce reliance on food foraged from the forest and help improve nutrition for them and their children. Meetings of the groups will continue to take place monthly where Health Poverty Action will provide ongoing training and encourage discussion on issues like nutrition, cooking, child health and safe motherhood.

Budget

Spending is on track:

Line Items

Projected budget

Amount spent so far

Trainers for 174 days

22 packs of home gardening kits

Refreshments for group meetings

Transportation and fuel to bring participants to meetings

$1,414

$2,396

$1,131

$707

$353

$1198

$283

$177

  • Food & water
  • Health
  • Maternal health

Over 3,100 women will grow their own food, feed their families and nurture their communities in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri, rural Cambodia.

Why we care: The number of people living on less than $1 per day is increasing and the number of deaths of children under five in these areas is double the national rate.

How we're solving this: Working with women to protect themselves and their families by increasing their ability to grow their own food and improve the health of their families.

Improving health and nutrition by establishing women’s groups in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri, Cambodia.

“Hungry people get sick more often than people who are not hungry. Unless we have enough food all year round, better healthcare makes no difference.”
-Lim, from Somtrok village, Ratanakiri province.
 
Not being able to provide your child with food is a horror no parent wants to contemplate. In Cambodia, where war and political instability has reigned for 30 years, a cycle of hunger, poverty and poor health means mothers face this daily. 
 
In the remote regions of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri, areas with high indigenous populations, more and more people are slipping below the poverty line. The number of people living on less than $1 per day is increasing and the number of deaths of children under five is double the national rate.
 
Establishing access to nutritional food, all year round, is one of the most important ways of breaking the cycle of hunger, poverty and poor health. With your help, we can work with women to protect themselves and their families by increasing their ability to grow their own food and improve the health of their families. 
 
Women, especially mothers, play a key role in the health of their communities both because they help secure food for the household, but also because we’ve seen the support they give each other day-to-day, especially when health problems arise. We are helping to harness this important support network through supporting the formation of women’s groups to help improve health and reduce poverty in their communities.The women meet monthly to learn about and discuss nutrition, health and maintaining food supplies.They are also provided with equipment and seeds and shown how to grow their own food to feed their families. It is also an opportunity to share potentially life-saving knowledge on managing childhood illnesses and safe child birth.
 
Your support will enable 260 women’s groups to be established. Over 3,100 women will be equipped with the knowledge and resources to grow their own food, feed their families, and nurture their communities. At less than $2 per woman involved, a donation of $20 could help more than 10 women grow their own food and protect themselves against poverty and hunger.
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