Cambodian Livelihoods Program goes local
In October 2011, a new Cambodian NGO, “Morodok”, was born. “Morodok”, which in the Cambodian language means inheritance, is continuing the program inherited from AFSC’s Integrated Sustainable Livelihoods Program, which served poor communities around Kompong Som Bay from 1997 to 2011. AFSC is continuing to provide support to ensure a smooth transition to local ownership and leadership.
The program provides poor families alternatives to natural resource exploitation by increasing their livelihood options. Villagers form interest groups to undertake small agricultural or business projects, and organize community revolving funds to support these initiatives. Villagers also organize community groups to protect the forests and fisheries from overuse.
AFSC’s Integrated Sustainable Livelihoods Program in Sre Ambel District, Koh Kong Province, began in 1997. At that time, no other NGOs worked in this sparsely populated, insecure rural area.
AFSC encouraged community initiatives and provided training and resources to village members who wanted to help their communities.
In the 1990s, mismanagement and over-exploitation had severely diminished Cambodia's fishery and forestry resources. AFSC’s work to establish community committees led to better management of natural resources. When these resources came under increasing pressure from neighboring communities, conflict resolution methods were used to build cooperation between villages sharing the resource base. The program provided training to community leaders, helped build a culture of constructive problem solving, and supported dialogue and commitment to environmental sustainability.
AFSC believes that initiatives for change are most sustainable when inspired and managed by local leadership. Together with the program staff, AFSC developed a transition plan to build the capacity and create the structures necessary for the program to operate independently. AFSC will continue to provide the program technical and moral support, to ensure the new organization’s continued success.