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kh_fsl_2016_guycalaf_000046 Guy Calaf

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Drought

In Cambodia,
taming the water

For villagers in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, rain is what determines whether you survive or you prosper: too much rainfall causes flooding; when there is too little rainfall, it causes droughts. A bad storm or dry season can destroy crops and disrupt the management of food reserves and local markets. Families then have no income, no food, putting the lives of children and adults in danger.

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Cooperative work with local communities

Action Against Hunger works with local communities to identify simple and effective solutions to help families reduce the impact of unpredictable rainfall. One of these solutions: new freshwater basins, built to collect and store water – finally a reliable and sustainable source of water, whatever the weather.

Kannika Kang, an Action Against Hunger community mobilization expert, works with communities to build dozens of new water pools in the villages of Preah Vihear.

Early in the morning, Kannika goes to the surrounding villages. From time to time, when she visits a village very far from the town of Preah Vihear, she stays there. She feels at home everywhere: « I sleep in the villagers’ houses and I have feel like I am part of their family ».

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During her first evaluations, Kannika helped to identify the best locations for the new pools, collected authorisations and permissions from different local authorities, selected participants for programmes, based on income level. She also made the villagers aware of the project and its benefits.

Despite the challenges, Kannika knows that her efforts will pay off:
« It’s not easy to convince villagers to dig pools. I spent a lot of time explaining the benefits to them: bathing, watering plants and crops. They ended up accepting », she says.

A sustainable solution for water supply

After a long period of cooperation, Kannika managed to work with 127 families to dig the pools. Local communities contributed to the construction of the pools, and Action Against Hunger provided the rice supplies. Each pool was dug based on several criteria: size, location, local regulations. Kannika ensured that all criteria were met and that the families were provided with the tools and support needed for construction.

Torn Tep, one of the beneficiaries from the village of Tmat Poeuy, explains:
« Action Against Hunger explained to me the benefits of having a pool, and provided me with the tools to dig it. I now have water for my family, as well as the neighbours, and I will use it for my land, vegetables and plantations. »

The programme aims to improve the living and income conditions of villages in the Choam Khsan district, through watershed development and crop production. The programme benefits more than 252 families in 12 villages.

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