Grass Roots Learning

On January 12, 2018, approximately 20 villagers participated in a community planning meeting.

You can see, in the photos below, community members hard at work assessing their community needs, setting goals related to each, and plotting out how to attain those goals. It’s no easy task. Everyone must listen and respect each other’s opinions!

Part of the grass roots learning is developing knowledge about their human rights. Their current understanding is that their rights pertain to the ability to live and participate in social and political activities, regardless of being rich or poor or young or old.
Here World Renew program staff learn what villagers understand about their human rights.
Mr. Samreth Rith, who is the current deputy village chief and will be promoted to village chief, said “we have rights to express our opinions and to participate in development planning.”
Villagers have come to know that, because people are equal, participating in a respectful manner means they will learn more when they are working together. They are also sharing what they’ve learned with their neighbours!

Before Srae Chrov planned its future priorities, villagers reflected on their achievement over the past two years. They reflected on all that has changed in the community. In addition to the road and latrine projects, they accomplished a lot!

The village...

Every family now sends their children to school. Plus, that school has a hand washing station for hygiene installed after the previous planning meeting!

Overall, Srae Chrov looked back and saw improvements in their daily lives.


The planning meeting and assessment found two main projects that the village agreed are top priorities:

  • increase water filter use
  • produce more vegetables

Unfortunately, only 40% of villagers use a water filter. Unfiltered water can be contaminated. People who drink it often get diarrhea and other illnesses. Srae Chrov plans to increase the use of water filters over the next six months.

Vegetable production is not at a level where families have enough vegetables for daily consumption. This means families must buy their vegetables from the local market. Srae Chrov’s goal is to increase production so that every villager has a sustainable amount of vegetables. Ultimately they agreed that they would love to see a vegetable supply surplus to sell at the market.

What a productive meeting!

The reflections, learnings, ideas and inspiration are making it possible for the community to work together to manage their own development in a way that improves the lives of all members of the community.


Summer 2017

Great news! The villagers completed their first priority project because of the strong commitment of the community members and the trust in the leadership of Community Based Organization. They successfully built their road: 2400 meters long by 4.5 meters wide and 1.5 meters deep.

Srae Chrov did not have a road which passed through their rice fields or near their homes. When they had any weddings, funerals, or community programs they were not able to get there directly. The only choice was to travel on the main road wrapping around their village, which took a lot of extra time and energy.

Another challenge they experienced was transporting their rice harvest and vegetable crops to sell to local vendors, especially in the rainy season. Most of the time, vendors complained about not having easy access to their farms and said that, as a result, they would not buy their goods.

For these reasons having a good road became a top priority for the villagers of Srae Chrov!

Most villagers wanted to build this road as soon as possible. However, they had to overcome additional challenges even before they started building.

First, they did not trust the local authorities to lead this project because their bookkeeping records were not transparent and the written reports were not clear for them.

Second, they needed to mobilize their own resources such as giving over parts of their rice plots, money, and labour. Giving up part of their rice plots was the challenging. The land owners kept refusing, even though the CBO leaders explained the benefits of having road. In the end, they agreed to share their property for the benefit of the community.

Somehow funds needed to be raised to cover the expenses. In Cambodian culture, the best way to raise funds in the community is to announce the new project by microphone along the main road... anyone travelling along the road can then contribute. Community activities were also opportunities to ask for support. Mr. Heoun Huy said, “Whenever I met friends and participated in any programs, I shared this information. Some friends contributed $5, $10 or $30 for the road.” (photo: Mrs. Khim, 82, contributed her money for road building)
After a year and half, the community raised $2647.25. However, they still need $974.25 to buy dirt. Mr. Wen said, “the rainy season was coming, so we had to finish the project and ask to pay later. The dirt seller agreed that we can pay it off later. ” “Now, this road has been built for our community. All the people are really happy because they have a road for traveling to anywhere they want!" (photo left to right: Sieang Wen, Neoun Phin, and Yan Ku)
Mr. Sam Rith, vice village chief, was concerned about the lack of a road into the community. During rainy season especially it was difficult to access the rice fields and the community because of the mud.
In 2016, with the support of OREDA and the CBO, a 120 metre northern road was built. Mr. Yor Morm contributed $250 himself, and $250 was contributed by the other community members. A 115 metre southern road was developed with a contribution of $300 from OREDA.
Mr. Rith shared that: “It will take many years to build these roads, but we keep working and saving together until these roads are completed.”

Meet Saem Sokhey

Saem Sokhey was elected Community Based Organization (CBO) leader of Srae Chrov village. In addition to her rice fields she also has a small piece of land about 2 kilometers from her home where she grows corn. During the harvest season, she picks corn every day. She will boil it at her home in the early morning and early afternoon, and then she'll take it, steaming, on her motorbike to sell in the village.


Srae Chrov is located southwest of Phnom Penh. It is a quiet village of 282 families. 42 of the families don't have enough income to support their daily needs. The goal of our community development work here is to empower the community to make good decisions about their own development and to work with them on mobilizing their own resources to achieve their development objectives. Through our partner OREDA we are providing training to community members to build their knowledge and skills and we are contributing some funding to their development priorities.

World Renew staff and partners work towards change at the deepest human level – at the level of a community’s vision, values, habits and worldview. This kind of change, though not always visible on the surface, is what is needed to sustain the progress they have made and help them truly flourish as God’s handiwork.

In such communities:

  • People gather to shape their future together

  • People work together on community projects that improve the quality of life of all members of the community

  • Everyone’s gifts and talents are welcomed and put to use

  • Leaders are identified, developed, and affirmed

  • On-going learning leads to awareness, understanding, and improved lives

  • Justice prevails and laws protect

  • Civic life is active

  • Mercy is generous and flowing

  • Christians work alongside other members of the community to achieve change, instilling all they do with biblical values and faith