In order to further support the federation of Farmer Savings Associations on national level, CEDAC introduces a unified excel bookkeeping system and an internet-based feedback platform to collect monthly data. On February 5th, 2013, CEDAC, in cooperation Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), organized a workshop on National Saving Association at CEDAC’s head office in Phnom Penh. 68 farmer’s representatives (20 of whom were women) from 56 villages, 39 communes, 20 districts of 9 provinces (Kampot, Kompong Cham, Siem Reap, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Svay Rieng, Krotie, Kompong Thom and Prey Veng) attended the workshop which was facilitated by CEDAC’s president, Dr. Yang Saing Koma and Mr. Tath Sok, Program Coordinator. The objectives of the workshop were to:
• Sum up the progress of savings groups in each provinces
• Solicit collective funds to support the savings associations at both the village and the national level
• Introduce basic information of banking system and microfinance
• Present study results on the bookkeeping practices of successful Farmer Savings Associations
• Advise on forming a National Saving Association.
As a result, by February, 3013, the total numbers of savings groups has risen 1,329 with 39,086 members in 672 villages, 203 communes, 50 districts of 14 provinces. The total saving capital is over 12 million USD. Moreover, a National Saving Association has been formed to strengthen and improve the savings and bookkeeping systems of savings associations and groups. All participants gained a better understanding of the importance of the national saving association, the use of collective funds, banking systems and, most importantly, the computerized unified bookkeeping system. Associations already using Excel expressed their interest in the new system and 5 associations agreed to be part of a pilot test. Farmer Associations who are not yet acquainted with computerized bookkeeping admitted being a bit overwhelmed by the information, but are looking forward to being able to implement it in their associations. In larger Savings Associations, bridging the difference between manual and computerized bookkeeping take 3 to 4 days work for committee members. In addition to the Excel system, Mr. Adrian Stoeger (Brot für die Welt/CEDAC advisor) introduced the first version of CEDAC’s cloud-based Savings Associations Feedback Platform which allows for easy input of key data and upload of Excel files by participating associations on a monthly basis. Data is automatically consolidated, allowing CEDAC to generate precise monthly reports for the national federation of Savings Associations. CEDAC Program Coordinator Mr. That Sok stated “We are very excited to introduce these new tools to our savings associations. This is a big step forward for the national federation. Of course, we are aware there is a learning curve and technological challenges involved, but in order to remain successful we should think forward.”