7 December 2020
Cambodia is home to 1,5 million people with a disability. This group forms the lowest 20% of income earners. They have than 22 US dollars disposable income per month. Therefore, they rely heavily on subsistence farming and support from the community and local disability NGOs. The traditional ways of undertaking farming are labor intensive. However, large numbers of youth are opting out of farm work in favor of factory work. They move to larger townships nearby.
This created a labor shortage in rural areas which resulted in people with a disability (especially elderly) having to undertake these tasks themselves. Or they rent out their land to other families. They would receive only a fraction of what they could have received if they sold their projects on the market directly.
Working with local disability organisations and communities of people with disabilities, we know that these individuals are innovative and motivated. They want to solve their own problems. Nonetheless, there are no materials, tools nor technical support to allow these individuals to practice innovative problem solving. This is where the AgriLab comes in!
The AgriLab is a project that aims to work together with communities with people with disability in rural Cambodia. In particular in the province Pursat. The aim is to improve the ability of people with disabilities to access agricultural livelihoods through creating assistive technologies that enable people with disabilities to engage in the farming of their choosing.
The idea is to co-design technology that gives these people better access to agricultural livelihoods and build their capacity for independent problem solving in the future. The AgriLab works with a wide range of ages and impairments and has created technologies such as rice seeders for elderly farmers and motorized cassava harvesting carts for mobility impaired farmers.
It is hard for me to stand for a long time and to plow. Especially sowing rice is heavy for me to do. Within the project we created a rice sowing machine that helps me with this.
– Ma Kheun (who has limited mobility because of a disability in her feet)
Sign up for the newsletter and receive regular updates about publications, programmes and training opportunities.