World Insights: China-aided pilot project for poverty alleviation brings hope to rural poor in Cambodia

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by Xinhua writers Mao Pengfei, Nguon Sovan

TAKEO, Cambodia, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Srun Songthuy, a 35-year-old poor farmer, is very optimistic about the future after having received assistance to start a small chicken farm in his backyard in Tanorn village, southern Cambodia.

The farm was made possible through the Cambodia-China Friendship Village for Poverty Alleviation Project, a China-aided poverty reduction pilot project which has brought about tangible changes to the father of four: he has constructed chicken coops, bought dozens of chickens for raising, and received training in poultry farming.

Songthuy's family is the first in this remote village to have benefited from the project and is upbeat about a future free of poverty.


Located in Takeo province's Bati district, roughly 60 km south of capital Phnom Penh, Tanorn village has a total area of 72 hectares and is home to 125 households with 556 people.

Funded by China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD) and implemented by Cambodia's Civil Society Alliance Forum (CSAF), the three-year project is aimed at transforming this poor village into a model village for poverty alleviation in the Southeast Asian country.

"This is the first time in my life that I have received funding for starting up a specific occupation for my family," he told Xinhua on Friday. "We have gradually reaped benefits from this chicken farm with a total of 40 hens and 10 roosters."

Songthuy said prior to the project, he could barely make ends meet as a vegetable farmer earning just around 60 U.S. dollars a month.

"Now, I have raised the chickens in addition to vegetable growing," he said. "Through this project, I hope that my villagers will no longer live in poverty."

Wu Chuanbing, counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, said that eliminating poverty is a common aspiration for humanity.

"I believe that when the project is completed, people in Tanorn village will definitely get out of poverty and the village will become a model village for poverty alleviation in Cambodia," he said during the launching ceremony of the project.


The project will focus on improving village roads, providing clean water, supporting healthcare, developing agriculture and animal husbandry, and providing vocational training, CSAF's chairman Kemreat Viseth said.

Hailing China's significant victory of accomplishing its poverty alleviation target on schedule, Viseth said that "China's successful experience and best practices in eradicating poverty would be introduced in this project."

"We want to bring all the villagers out of extreme poverty. This is our main goal," he told Xinhua. "All in all, we would expect that people's livelihoods will be improved."

CFPD-Cambodia director Zhang Yaowu hoped that the project will enhance the self-development capacity of the villagers and provide the Cambodian government with anti-poverty experience and practices for reference.

"It will be a symbol of China-Cambodia friendship and a model for the development of other poor villages in Cambodia," he said. "We hope that the project will motivate villagers to be self-reliant and self-confident to lead their lives out of poverty."

Currently in Tanorn village, people make their living by planting rice, working in faraway garment factories, or migrating to Phnom Penh for jobs in construction, according to village chief Kheav Em.

"I fully support this project ... it will reduce migration for jobs overseas or away from home," he told Xinhua. "I believe that the project will eradicate poverty in the village and will help bring the hearts of the two peoples closer together." Enditem

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