Where should we dig a reservoir?

[Original by Mariko OMURA, Cambodia Project (January 10, 2019); Translated by M. Goto/D. Duchaine/K. Stepanchak]

Meeting under blue sky in a village’s empty space.

Happy New Year!

On the last working day of 2018, the JVC Cambodia team held a meeting about “Where should we dig a reservoir?” Villagers, the village headman, and two of executive officers attended the meeting.

We have discussed many times as a team.

Why are we going to dig a reservoir? From May to August 2018 (may be longer than this, if we include the preparatory period), we have reviewed our activities for these two years and half. We then realized that more than 70% of the participants who practiced food processing and farming training produced a good result. On the other hand, we found that those people who live far from water have difficulties to get water and cannot practice even though they joined the training.

One of the executive officers explains that villagers can make vegetable gardens, if they have enough water supply. If they can grow vegetables by themselves, they can reduce their expenses.

Previously we made 23 reservoirs. Except two broken ones, all of them are still used and help farmers. We also had a choice to make wells, which need less space and lower cost. But water hardly comes up from underground in this village and we once found arsenic contained in water of a well. Therefore, it is the best solution in this area to make reservoirs to save rain in the rainy season.

Watching a map and talking about where is the best place to dig a reservoir. A man pointing the map is the village headman (left). The man on the right side is a journalist Mr. Jun Hori who came from Japan to interview JVC Cambodia.

On the basis of this review, we decided to dig a reservoir in one village among our six project villages, which lacks water the most. We have commuted the village for two months and researched where a pond is and where the most distant place from the pond is. We have almost decided the place to dig but, if we decide it by ourselves, villagers might complain that “Why this place?” or “The farm has a special connection with JVC?” Since we might miss any other problems that we are not aware of, we decided to invite 30 farmers, village headman, and executive officers to an open meeting.

90% of the participants are women. Men usually work away from home.

The meeting started with the greetings of JVC staff and executive officers. We looked at an enlarged map of the village, checked available places to dig a reservoir, and discussed what the most distant place from the current pond is.

Mr. Hori interviews a participant before the meeting.

After the discussion, we selected two places for reservoirs. Next, we will do geological survey with a drilling company and decide one place to dig a reservoir.

A Japanese journalist, Mr. Jun Hori, has interviewed us for three days. I am a little bit nervous about how his article would be. Please look forward to it!

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