Written by Salin, our education and community manager
Family Farm is a program initiated to provide chemical-free farming technique to the poor level 1 to 5 in the community. The purpose are to promote healthy farm technique, motivate people to stop utilizing any chemical substances in their farms, and to encourage them to find out the potential of their resources that can be used to better their living conditions. Moreover, we provide the loan for them if they need to use it for their farms like to buy seeds and/or farming materials.
In 2015, we started trialing this program to the community by our education and community manager to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the program. The six-month trial started from May-October to two families with suitable land and willingness to use their resources. The trial was conducted at student’s house. Both of them use our loan to buy seeds for their farms. In this trial students can learn not only farming technique but also learn about our core student values, child protection policy, marriage law, and farming record that we think important for their lives and business.
After trialing for a few months, we have a Khmer volunteer to assist with running this program as he has been studying in the field of agriculture. He was good at first and committed to help us, however after he started his new semester at university he didn’t have time to commit to us and his willingness and commitment was getting worse and worse. In this case, we decided not to provide him the certificate of volunteering as he couldn’t complete the requirements in his job description.
The two families’ attitudes are not so good but we know that it is always a problem working with poor people. Instead of complaining, we have tried our best to motivate them to commit to their learning and working on their farms. Unfortunately, in the third month of the trial one family had to stop learning for a while as her daughter had a serious illness and had to stay in the hospital. So only one student could learn. Anyway, after her daughter got better she started studying with us again until the trial finished.
As a result, the trial is successful due to their works and the benefits they have gotten from the farms. Although, it’s difficult to stop them from using harmful chemical substances as it becomes their habit and chemical-free technique has a slower impact than chemical technique. Therefore, after this trial they can just reduce it.
We are going to start our family farm in the new year, 2016 and aim to have 10 poor families join our program of each term.