Tumnob Rolok commune is on the coast of Kampong Som Bay in Steung Hav District. The population is mostly poor, and 80% of the people depend on fishing in the sea and seafood processing. The remaining 20% work mainly in the services sector. Their living situation is not good enough for a happy life. They fish in the sea, and they process seafood in traditional ways without the skills and techniques needed for producing foods that meet modern market requirements.
Tumnop Rolok community revolving fund members receive training from Morodok staff
To address this situation, Morodok initiated discussions among community people to consider using community revolving funds (CRF) for the community’s development. The community people strongly supported creation of a revolving fund, and 5 committee members were elected to the CRF management committee to assist community people to get loans for improving their businesses.
Morodok provided technical support to build their capacity in financial management, loan management, and development of structures, rules and regulations for the CRF to run effectively.
Members of the CRF now have the ability to process the funds well. Community members are happy to access the funds for their small businesses.
Mrs. Si Eav, leader of the CRF, said that “Before having the CRF, community people tried to access loans from microfinance institutions where they needed to provide a certificate of property ownership. It is so difficult for poor people. Since the CRF was established, poor people can get loans from the CRF without a certificate of property.”
She expressed that “I almost did not believe myself that I can lead and manage the finances of the CRF effectively with the entrepreneur groups; but I have now obtained skills and received training in leadership, management, loan management and business skills from Morodok. I think that the CRF is good for helping poor people in my community to develop and improve their social economic development, and I will try my best to continue working with the CRF more.”
Drive about 165 km from Phnom Penh on National Road No. 4, turn right to continue for another 17 km on National Road No. 48, arrive at an intersection, and then turn left onto the red rock commune road to the Chroy Svay fishing community. The place is very attractive for local, national and international visitors because of its beautiful seaside and mangrove forest, enriched with many varieties of marine fishery resources such as shrimp, crab, snails and fish. There are around 2,000 household members in the Chroy Svay community fishery. Most of them are smallholder fishers.
A local fishing boat takes eco-tourists on a site-seeing trip
“Currently, the women in my community are very busy to earn extra income through seafood processing activities. I notice that there is a remarkable increase in the number of visitors coming to our community for eco-tourism, contrib-uting to increased purchase of our community products and eco-tourism services. Thanks to Morodok for facilitation and support for the strengthening of our community fishery, establishment of eco-tourism, and especially support to seafood processing and marketing. Previously only men who caught fish with their fishing nets could make income selling their fresh fish directly to wholesalers at nonnegotiable prices. Today my community could sell both fresh and processed seafood products, not only to visitors, but also to wholesalers coming to our villages and buying the products at a better price” said Mr. Kun Hok, a leader of the Chroy Svay Community Fishery.
Mr. Kun Hok added that the Chroy Svay Eco-Tourism project also substantially contributed to increased income for his community members. The visitors can be individuals, groups, companies or organizations. The visitors can visit the mangrove forest, visit the seaside, swim, catch crabs or snails, and go fishing. The beach is close to the homestay so they can see the beautiful sunrise in the early morning and sunset in the evening. They can also order a wonderful breakfast, lunch and dinner with Khmer dishes from the community sellers.
The design of Morodok’s program was based on a needs assessment with local communities to make sure that the intervention is highly responsive to the identified needs. Morodok’s program pooled its efforts to improve the co-management of fishery resources and increase opportunities for better livelihoods through increased access to adequate skills, markets and financial services.