Cover page Farmersí Life School Manual ISBN/DATE



Authors: Ou Chhaya, Jacques du Guerny, Richard Geeves, Masaya Kato and Lee-Nah Hsu

Compiled by Michelle Mah

A joint publication of UNDP, FAO and World Education



The HIV/AIDS pandemic threatens to destroy the fabric of our society. Rural farming communities are particularly threatened and household security is at stake. Recognizing the warning signs in Asia, a joint initiative between the FAO-Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programme and UNDP South East Asia HIV and Development Programme (UNDP-SEAHIV) resulted in the birth of the Fanners' Life School. It began in 2000 with a bold objective: from the poorest of rural fanning communities of South-East Asia comes innovation by the fanners, for the farmers. This manual documents the empowerment process, through which fanners decide for themselves how to build their* resilience, including resistance to HIV/AIDS risks. Today, this is a movement that is continuing to spread in other rural communities of Cambodia.
This training manual is the outcome of the Fanners' Life School project, which was originally field tested in Cambodia and has generated considerable international interest. This manual was translated from the original developed by the farmers in the Khmer language for training in Cambodia. Therefore, the setting, Cambodia, and the focus of the manual, subsistence rice fanners, are culturally specific. Although some adaptation has been earned out to facilitate use by other countries, the specificity of this manual has been largely maintained. As a tool that has already been field tested, this manual will be useful as a basis for developing other culture-specific tools. In order to be fully accepted and understood, this manual should be adapted with the participation of local fanners. The purpose of publishing this manual is to share the Cambodian farmers' experience, which will stimulate thinking and the design of materials specific to each situation. It is not a ready-made recipe. For each community and country, the key to the success of a Farmers' Life School is to recognize the expertise of farmers and make them aware of their own expertise as valuable capital on which to build then resilience.
FAO and UNDP-SEAHIV hope that by making this Cambodian manual available in the English language, the agricultural sector, AIDS programmes and NGOs will be encouraged to assist fanning communities in then efforts to build their resilience and thus reduce their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

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January 2004