$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.
Having a Toilet Improves a Mother’s Health
Since the mushroom program expanded to encourage and support building household toilets, Ry says her health is better.
Before they became mushroom growers, Ry and her husband, Chon, worked as day laborers to support their 5- and 10-year-old daughters. They did whatever work they could find in exchange for daily pay. They have a small rice field, and they earned enough to feed the family but little else.
Three years ago, Chon became interested in mushroom growing by watching and learning from neighbors. They received technical support from World Hope, and their fortunes started to improve.
Ry says, “The money we’ve been earning from our mushroom business has brought about so many changes! We’ve been able to make repairs and additions to our house, increased the level of soil in our backyard, bought a motorbike, and are paying for our daughters’ education. We also built a toilet.”
Before that, she says they just “went to the bush.” Unfortunately, open defecation is known to cause a multitude of health problems. Ry struggled with what she calls “women’s health problems,” and spent a year – and scarce funds – trying to get them treated and under control.
But now that they have constructed toilet with a loan from the program, the family’s overall hygiene, including hand washing and personal sanitation, is much better. Ry says her problem has cleared up, taking away her worries and the expense of medical treatment. Says Ry, “I am thankful to the toilet loan program and mushroom program that we have the opportunity to have a toilet of our own.”
Cambodia East Program
Led by World Hope International