Two newly built houses were handed over to impoverished families in Khun Ream commune’s Poeung Chhat village of Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district through the project Enhancing Community Resilience.
District governor Khim Finan last week handed over one of the houses to Mao Kouy, a widow with two sons, and the other house to the Pres Doung family with seven members, four of whom are women. Both families were among the poorest in Poeung Chhat.
Poeung Chhat is a small village with only 139 resident families. However, the poverty rate in the village is up to 48 per cent – the highest in the country in comparison to other villages.
In response to the high poverty rate, Finan initiated this project in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity Cambodia and selected this village as a target for implementing the project.
“We started this project in mid-2020, but for the first half year we spent time studying, researching, creating community clusters and prioritising which people’s households needed to be improved, renovated or completely rebuilt. So, the first step was a bit slow,” Finan said.
He said the project has a three-year implementation period from when it first launched on July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023.
“From now on, our progress will be faster. There are 137 houses left to be completed. We are starting to look at the overall community’s needs, in which housing is the main issue, followed by employment and clean water shortages, electricity and other challenges,” Finan said.
According to the district governor, the two newly built houses cost around a few thousand dollars each. Of the other 137 families, some are just renovating or adding bathrooms only, which costs about $1,000 per house.
Finan said this project aimed to change the whole community’s situation by providing resilience and enhancing quality of life. The project also had the goal of empowering the community to be able to manage things on their own and continue to develop the village after the project finishes.
“I have asked the Poeung Chhat villagers to take advantage of this rare opportunity and show they are worthy of this reward and the efforts of our donors. We hope this will help the villagers get out of poverty by building a new Poeung Chhat village together,” he said.
Oum Phoeun, Climate Change Adaptation Programme manager at Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, said this project was implemented by his organisation with the support of Habitat for Humanity Nederland and Stichting Op Eigen Wieken. The project has a budget of about €150,000 ($180,700).
“This project focused on priorities such as construction, maintenance, housing renovation and restroom construction for the 139 families in this village. It also supports job creation and job skills training for the whole village,” Phoeun said.
Phoeun added that the project connected a solar power energy system and water supply network to each house via sustainable management mechanisms. There is also a programme to provide education on housekeeping, hygiene and clean living for every family in the village.
The project also aims to establish and strengthen community representative groups to support and facilitate the project’s work.