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Meas Sopheap - Krang Lahong, Cambodia

Submitted by Chris Hufstader - Warren, Rhode Island
Meas Sopheap is a rice farmer in southern Cambodia. Her leadership capabilities have helped her provide for her extended family, and also helped her stand out as an expert in growing rice using the System of Rice Intensification. She has proven to be an accomplished trainer of other farmers. Photo:

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Meas Sopheap: Training in new and better techniques for growing rice is helping her to improve her income, and take on new leadership roles in the communities.

I met Meas Sopheap when I was working in Cambodia in October 2013. I was really impressed with her as a soft-spoken, humble, but authoritative leader in her community, Krang Lahong. She told me she learned to use the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) from Oxfam’s partner Srer Khmer in 2010. Since she started using the innovative rice growing practices, she says she has increased her income, built a new kitchen and a rice storage area at her home, bought a motor bike, and a television. She has also started raising pigs, as an additional source of income. 

Thanks to her enthusiastic and successful adoption of SRI practices, Sopheap has also become a trainer of other farmers. Her neighbors have noticed her leadership, and have voted her deputy chief of her village.  She told me that things have changed for her since she got the training in SRI “I think I am different now. Before I would never stand in front of a group of people and talk. Now I teach people. I know how to talk to people, even though I am sure I am not perfect at it. This is new for me, I am really just a farmer, not a teacher or a trainer. I learn from the Srer Khmer trainers how to teach, but in fact my teaching comes from my personal experience growing rice.”

Read more about Meas Sopheap.

This story was submitted as part of Oxam America's International Women's Day initiative to honor women working to right the wrongs of poverty and hunger. Honorees are selected independently by Oxfam supporters. Selection does not imply endorsement or other support from Oxfam America.

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