Cambodian Self-Help Groups Remain Strong After CWS Active Support Ends

CWS Cambodia | March 17, 2017

Leang (in blue) is facilitating saving group monthly meeting. Photo: CWS

Leang (in blue) is facilitating saving group monthly meeting. Photo: CWS

Ms. Koeun Leang, who is 28, lives in Sen Rung Roeung village in northern Cambodia with her husband, Chhin Tab, who is 29 and a farmer who also works as a wage laborer. They have three children ages four to nine, and the two older ones attend the village school. Leang is a Village Health Volunteer and she has been involved in CWS supported activities since mid-2011. As a Volunteer, Leang has learned about maternal child health care, including ante- and postnatal care; and also about chicken raising and vegetable and mushroom growing, especially to strengthen family diets. Leang has also learned the benefit of having self-help groups (SHG), and she was especially interested to help form onea as she believed that SHG will help promote the solidarity among villagers. “We can save and help each other with low interest micro loans, and we are happy to use our mutual trust as collateral.” Before, families in need of money had to borrow from moneylenders or larger micro-finance institutions, which make repayments hard for families due to the high interest rates. The SHG Leang worked with CWS staff and her village leader to form in 2013 now has 18 women and 2 men members and capital of $1,095! This sum has made it possible members to borrow readily, and recently Leang said, “Even without CWS presence since June 2016, my group still functions well – all members understand and comply with group norms to save and also to repay loans. We meet regularly to update on account balances and loans — and to share ideas and information about our businesses and farming, plus social issues.” So, this SHG has succeeded in all its aims: it has helped reduce dependency on moneylenders; plus members can access emergency loans readily – especially for health and medical situations. And, of course, Leang is very proud that she has been part of the group since its beginning.

Leang with her saving group. Photo: CWS

Leang with her saving group. Photo: CWS

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