International Women’s Day: Nov Nouket talks Food Systems and Food Security in Cambodia

Women's Nutrition, Asia

First of all, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Nov Nouket, I am coordinator of the People Centered Feeding Systems project by IIRR-Cambodia. 

2014, IIRR started a big project in Kandal province, Cambodia. This project was financed by IIRR Newman’ Own Foundation (NOF) and Latter-Day Saints. Since then, IIRR has worked with eight local schools (seven primary schools, and one junior high school). Specifically, we have worked closely with teachers, village chiefs, commune councils, district agriculture officers, district officer of education, youth and sport. 2,318 children, 80 parents, and 74 teachers educated on climate smart agriculture, bio-Intensive gardening, and hand washing. 

Recently, IIRR has been working with “People-Centered Feed Systems: Fostering Human Rights-based Approaches” applying a human rights-based approach to food security and nutrition. The project aims to identify, characterize, and address constraints, and lack of accountability of governments that small – scale farmers and the rural population face from (a) participating in decisions that inhibit them from realizing their rights to food security, (b) adapting to and mitigating against climate change, and (c) preserving the agro-biodiversity fundamental to their livelihoods on both the global and country levels. The goal of the project is to contribute to improving the food security and wellbeing of smallholders and other rural populations in line with the SDGs.    

I think that the women in Cambodia do not experience equality in food security and healthy diets, especially the women who are living in rural areas. Women are likely to take on additional economic roles within the household and community, while still having unequal access to productive assets and resources. The result is that the often suffer the same, or even increased, work burden, but receive lower incomes. In cases of complete asset depletion and extreme food shortage, women and girls are at risk of adopting negative coping mechanisms such as early and forced marriages or pulling girls out of school. 

To improve the global food systems, we should be focusing on improving the quality of nutritious foods, ensuring food safety and quality measures are implemented, and empowering women by investing in labour-saving technology for work.