YAE Meeting: I can become a successful Entrepreneur

A female YAE presented her success story

30 (including 12 females) young agri-entrepreneurs (YAE) from six provinces meet today and tomorrow at CEDAC HQ. They are the best of the bests, selected from many young people, who participated successfully in a one year program in different generations since 2007. 313 YAEs (including 117 female) benefited from this practical course. They come from six different provinces such as Kampot, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Svay Rieng and Prey Veng. The objectives of the meeting are to get together to share personal success stories, visiting the different markets and supply chains in Phnom Penh and to establish a network of young producers to supply the organic markets in the near future”. CEDAC is eager also to learn from the feedback/suggestions of the YAEs about how to improve the project in the future. It is important to note that the project is implemented since 2007 in six provinces and is supported by Ecumenical Scholarship Program (ESP); while in Prey Veng, it is financed by HEKS.

This YAE program was designed by CEDAC to provide capacity building for young people, who have finished the 12 grade already, but could not have the money to go to higher education; were jobless and eager to do something in agriculture on their own. The condition is that they or their parents have small piece of land to do farming. What they have learned are basic agricultural techniques to cultivate rice, plant vegetables and mushrooms, raise chickens, pigs, fishes and frogs etc. The program trained them also in basic skills in self-help saving group, marketing their products, entrepreneurship etc. In addition, they were provided opportunities to visit other successful farmers and their youth counterparts to learn from them.

A summary presentation of a participant

In this morning, each participant was asked to summarize what was his/her situation before joining CEDAC’s program, what is his/her achievement and future outlook. The results were presented and discussed during the plenary session. It was very excited for me to hear those success stories and felt proud of having collaborated with CEDAC supporting these young people to have more “freedom” in life. I am happy to hear that they have developed themselves from a dependent, hopeless youth, to be a more responsible and free person in the family and society. My humble sum up of the results is as follows:

Before Now
Be shy, did not dare to talk in public Be courageous, able to speak in public
No job, no money, no saving group Have own job, have stable incomes, employ others, have saving group
Lazy, member of the gangs, no idea what to do, lonely, waste time Diligent, has planning, good citizen, more friends, accepted and appreciated by the community, use time effectively
Got the support from family Help the parents and family
No hope, no future Have hope, secure and has confidence in the future

I was asked two times today to provide short feedback to the group this morning. Tomorrow I will have opportunity to share my learning experiences during my recent visit to Australia. Dr. Yang Saing Koma, CEDAC President, said that “in 10 years, CEDAC will extend this program to reach and train 10,000 young people in the countryside, so that they will become very dynamic catalysts in agricultural and rural development”.   

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