USAID'S Harvest Project:
Agricultural machinery operation & maintenence training
In the Cambodian countryside, draft animals are increasingly being replaced by machines such as hand-tractors, irrigation pumps and rice-threshing machines. Most of these are made abroad, meaning farmers can't read the operation manuals. Customer service by retailers is poor. As result, most farmers don't know how to mainatin their machines, or even to operate them properly. - so machine lifespan is often short. This is a key reason for Cambodia's low rice yields:
USAID's HARVEST project - managed by Fintrac - seeks to remedy this through a program to train farmers to operate their machines optimally, and do basic repairs. In early 2012, Lom Orng was chosen as the main training organisation for this 'O&M' project, which covers the agriculture-rich provinces of Kampong Thom, Battambang and Pursat.
Already Fintrac has declared the project one of the more successful HARVEST components. Fintrac is making arrangements with Lom Orng to expand it to further trainees, and to begin a new program to train a cohort of professional mechanics.
Laos vocational training centre
With funding from the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation, in late 2009 Lom Orng began building the first large-scale Laotian vocational training centre for UXO (unexploded ordnance) and landmine survivors, in Savannakhet, southern Laos.
The centre opened in mid-2010, and in the two-year life of the project is expected to give 2,202 war victims from Laos' six southern provinces training in these ten vocations:
- Horticulture & livestock raising
- Motorcycle and small engine repair
- TV repair
- Electrical appliance repair
- Ladies' hairdressing & beautician
- Mobile phone repair & maintenance
- Commercial cooking
- Micro-enterprise management
Courses last between one and twelve months.
'Indirect beneficiaries' - victims' families - are estimated at 11,010. Tens of thousands in local communities will also benefit from the region's elevated skill levels.
The special needs of Lao women have been considered: they have a dormitory well-separated from the men, and a crèche for children.
The project is partly run by 'counterpart' staff from the Lao Disabled People's Association (LDPA), whom we are in the process of training - thus building the country's native capacity.