With sponsorship from the ALMAYUDA FOUNDATION, the Archaeology and Development Foundation (ADF) helps the people in the villages on the Phnom Kulen plateau in Cambodia to improve their lives and, by farming, to escape from the food insecurity they suffer from.
Phnom Kulen (Mountain of Lychees) is a largely unexplored and almost inaccessible natural plateau near the temple of Angkor Wat, in the north-east of Cambodia. It is regarded as the birthplace and one of the earliest capitals of the Khmer Empire in the early 9th century. The wealth of archaeological treasures was the initial reason why the ADF established a presence here.
Offering the most vulnerable people the farming skills and knowledge they need, thereby empowering them to improve their own living conditions.
The ADF has been conducting excavations in the Phnom Kulen alongside its efforts to aid the local communities since 2008.
Phnom Kulen was ravaged by the civil war and the abuses of the Khmer Rouge and is now home to very poor families suffering from food insecurity. The victims of deforestation and under threat from poaching and attacks on the local biodiversity, they practice a highly destructive slash-and-burn rice monoculture.
The ADF wants firstly to slow down and then break the cycle of poverty by offering the most vulnerable people the farming skills and knowledge they need, thereby empowering them to improve their own living conditions.
This strategy is intended, unlike financial aid, to generate sustainable sources of wealth that are compatible with the environment.
One example of this is the farming of edible mushrooms, made possible by the warm, damp climate. The participants in the programme learn on the job and sell their harvests to restaurants or, in the case of those who live further away or who do not have motorised transport, to the ‘Hub’. Built in 2014 by the ADF, this Hub is both a centre for training on mushroom growing, as well as a place where local farming produce and handicrafts are sold. The staff at the Hub pay the market price for the mushrooms and then sell them on elsewhere in the Siem Reap province, where the Phnom Kulen plateau is located.
Paying the producers a fair price by eliminating intermediaries provides a source of revenue in the community and helps families to meet their basic needs. They can aspire to schooling for their children and to set in motion a virtuous cycle of responsible growth.
The ALMAYUDA FOUNDATION was extremely interested in this innovative initiative and decided to support the Archaeology and Development Foundation in order to encourage not only mushroom farming but also the development of vegetable gardens and poultry and fish farming.
By doing this, it is contributing to a positive measure that is the very antithesis of charity handouts.
Useful link : www.adfkulen.org