Towards an autonomous, committed economy

As part of its fight against poverty, Caritas Cambodia launched the programme “Associations de village”. Their goal is to help participants work together to create new activity to meet their basic needs and provide for their future without calling upon outside aid.

« Local initiatives aimed at bringing about international progress.
This multi-year programme anticipates all the problems of daily rural life and shows how community service circuits can be set up with but a few resources, helping an entire village to grow. It is a balanced, educational endeavour. »

Patrick Flicoteaux

The Kompong Thom province, located 150 km north of the capital, is one of the poorest regions in Cambodia. Eighty percent of its population is illiterate. Faced with low agricultural productions and unpredictable yield due to alternating flooding and drought, most men go to neighbouring regions to find work, leaving behind them women and children with no resources. To overcome this poverty, Caritas Cambodia, in partnership with Secours catholique, created a project to help local people gain economic independence through development of agriculture, health, hygiene and training. This is how the programme called “Associations de village” was born.

A model project

The principle behind these associations is encouraging beneficiaries to reflect as a whole upon the most prudent activities to set up – diversifying crops, launching projects for local craftsmanship, developing fishing activity, etc. – then helping them make their ideas become reality. Through this programme, the poorest families in each village join together to take control of their daily life. Caritas Cambodia hopes to touch over 12,000 individuals by extending this system to nineteen villages in the Kompong Thom province. Beyond the borders of this province, the associations' methods will be used for the benefit of the entire country. The Veolia foundation has committed to a grant of 22,000 euros towards the purchase of equipment and seeds.