Location: Phase out village, Battambang province
Summary: Grassroots development structures instigated by Banteay Srei still going strong in one of Banteay Srei’s phase out villages
Ou Heub’s vegetable garden runs down towards the bank of the local river, which flows from the Tonle Sap lake. “Before I used to carry water on my back from the river up the hill 30 to 40 times each day,” Ou Heub explains, whilst showing the scars on her shoulders which are still visible from years of this backbreaking work.
Now, thanks to new water pumps purchased by Banteay Srei, Heub and four other families are able to pump water to the top of the riverbank, making their land more productive and saving them much time and energy.
As one of the planned ‘phase out villages’, Ou Heub’s village officially stopped receiving direct support from Banteay Srei in 2011. However the participatory development structures initiated by Banteay Srei are still going strong. In early 2012, after identifying challenges faced by farming families living along the riverbank at their tri-annual village development meeting, the village community facilitators put in a proposal to Banteay Srei for financial support to buy five water pumps for the families living along the riverbank.
The water pumps, which cost around $250 each, were given to affected families as part of an interest free loan, which they can pay back over two years. “The capital from the loan repayments will then be used to buy water pumps for additional families and to increase the capital of the village loan scheme,” the community facilitator explains.
Since Heub’s farm productivity has increased substantially with better access to water, she has paid off half of her loan already. “Now I have the pump I can use all of my land to grow vegetables so my livelihood has improved,” explains Heub.