$107,500 needed of $120,000
World Hope International (WHI)
During the first phase of this program, mushroom growing was introduced as a regular source of income for women and their families. World Hope International set up a social venture called Thera Metrey to purchase mushrooms from the producers at a fair price and transport them to the city for sale in the wholesale market and to restaurants, etc. Participants were able to repay loans, improve and expand their homes and farming operations, build latrines and avoid migrating to other parts of the country to find work.
The second phase of the program is focused on building the leadership of the mushroom producers and Thera Metrey to ensure the sustainability of mushrooms as an income source. The program is also working with farmers to develop innovations that reduce the overall costs of production and increase the reliabilty of yields.
Phase two also includes increased efforts to transform gender norms including changing social norms among men and boys and ensure communities and schools are safe for all children. The program is promoting a safe and gender equitable community as livelihoods empower women to invest in their families and communities.
Mushroom Earnings Improve Family Health
Mushroom farmer Kimsroan says, with a big smile, “I used to earn very little from growing rice, cassava and cashews on my small plot of land. Sometimes we ran out of food before the year ended. But now, thanks to mushroom farming, I have enough money to provide for my family.”
Kimsroan says he has gained motivation and courage through the program, has been able to apply for various loans with confidence, and even purchased a motorbike to make mushroom deliveries. “And,” he added proudly, “I can now afford to build a toilet.”
Poverty is a multi-faceted problem with no single cause or single solution. As families begin to earn money by growing mushrooms, they first take care of their most pressing needs. When their financial situation strengthens, they can address some of the ongoing challenges to their wellbeing, like illnesses due to open defecation or the lack of clean water. Their earnings allow them to build latrines or dig wells for household and agricultural uses and their health, hygiene and sanitation improve. The presence of clean water and the community reduction in open defecation means people get sick less and spend less on medications, and their children feel well enough to go to school. With better sanitation, mushroom consumers can also count on a safer product.
Building a well or a toilet is often a daunting expense for families, but it is also daunting to have to deal with illness from parasites and other consequences of poor sanitation. Kimsroan is grateful to be in a strong enough financial position to build sanitary infrastructure for his home.
Cambodia East Program
Led by World Hope International