In Cambodia, women play a prominent role in household finances and are the owners of 65 percent of registered businesses in the country. Therefore, Feed the Future programs in Cambodia leverage the unique position that women have as income earners to help inform decisions about new agricultural technologies and dietary changes for their families.
In December, the Cambodian Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi saw firsthand how Feed the Future is helping Cambodian women become better farmers, successful entrepreneurs, and forces for positive change in their communities. During site visits to Feed the Future projects in Pursat and Battambang provinces, she was joined by 20 other women who work on gender issues in Cambodia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Ministry of Rural Development.
The Minister heard directly from women whose lives had been changed by improved agricultural practices and income generation skills they learned from Feed the Future. For example, the Minister spoke with Ly Touch, a local businesswoman who sells agricultural supplies to her community in Battambang province. Ly received training from Feed the Future that helped her expand and strengthen her business while also improving her technical knowledge of agriculture. With this knowledge, she has been able to help other farmers in her community improve their own harvests.
Approximately 65 percent of Cambodians who receive support from Feed the Future to grow home gardens are women, and some of the beneficiaries in Pursat province explained to the Minister how they can now grow a wide variety of vegetables at home that have helped improve their families’ nutrition. The Minister was impressed by Feed the Future’s nutrition education programming, which introduces nutrient-rich vegetables to families, conducts cooking demonstrations, and helps farmers adopt healthy eating behaviors. She also saw improved fishponds that have increased the amount and quality of protein these women are able to produce and feed to their families.
The field visit enabled the Minister and other women in the Government of Cambodia to speak directly with farmers to learn about the impact Feed the Future has had on their lives, and will help inform the policymaking process in the future.
To learn more about how Feed the Future incorporates gender into its programming (and measures impact), visit our page on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index.