Water Access Bring Improvement of Nutrient Dense Food for Mother-Child’s Health

 In Climate Change, Stung Treng, Water & Sanitation

Ms. Sou Phun a 31-year-old women and pregnant of four months, is a targeted farmer living in Kralaeas village, Pres Rumkel commune, Thalaborivath district in Stung Treng province. She lives there with her husband Mr. Rouern Ra and their five-year-old daughter. Their occupation is farming and Chamkar is the source of food and family’s income. She is one of the targeted beneficiaries of the project called “Improvement of mother-child’s health and income generation among 35 villages in Stung Treng province”. The project is funded by BMZ through Plan International Germany and Plan International Cambodia then carried out by Cambodian Rural Development Team – CRDT. From this, all targeted beneficiaries will be able to improve their availability and consumption of nutritious food, for children under five years of age and women at reproductive ages from poor families.

Ms. Sou Phun said, “before the project started in September 2016 not only their family, but also the majority of other household’s lack of a water source.”  This included not only family consumption, but also agricultural activities as their residential land areas are relatively far from the river, being approximately 1 kilometre. Continuous to that, in the dry season her family paid in average at least 35,000 riels per month to buy water for the family consumption without agricultural activities. “Often, this cause my family haven’t had enough source of food especially a diversity kind of vegetable and meat” she said.

In May 2017, through the project implementation by CRDT and with technical assistants from the staff of Plan International Cambodia had identified the targeted village.  They conducted the community feasibility assessment for digging 20 community water wells. From this, 8 wells have been targeted to dig at Siem Pang and another 12 wells in Thalaborivath district and 1 among that planned to dig at in front of her house located in Kralapeas village, Pres Rumkel commune. The construction had finished in September 2017. Said that, the well has provided her the safe source of water supply nearby home, source for improving agricultural activities, cut-off household expenditure and make safe for local children. Reported by village chief, there are 17 households with around 24 children (11 girls) aged under five year directly benefit from this well. Thus, by October 2017, she started preparing homestead foods through gardening, where a diversity of vegetables has been planted inside. By the gardening, she has enough dietary diversity vegetable for daily meal such choy sum, water morning glory, long bean, eggplant, lemongrass, chilli and herbal etc.  Surplus from the consumption, she could earn a bit income average 3,000 riel per day but not frequency through selling the water morning glory and long bean.

At the same time, she also attended two of the series of health promotion activities. This achieved her to improve in her knowledge and behavior change about the nutrition for pregnant and lactating women. Through the training which was undertaken, she was well  informed of the way of how to take care of herself and the baby during pregnancy and during the period of lactating through having the diversity of food sources including from her homestead food products. As checked in the HHs calendar, she took at least 4 small food group of dietary diversities per day in average like egg, rice, yellow fruit and other kind of fruit. Therefore, she also earnt income through the selling of surplus food to another neighborhood. And with this, she has used for her child going to primary school and daily payment such ingredient.

Later Ms. Sou Phun expressed her gratitude to the project’s donor, BMZ and Plan International Germany, granted project and carried out by CRDT adding source of water for both family consumption and agricultural activities. This was done through the nutrition gardening, which was able to give her family such sources of food, especially for her child.  Another success was where three neighbors had built their garden around the well and due to this she has planned to build a toilet and a water tank to store water in early 2018.

Written by Bun Sophara

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