Livestock & Ems

Livestock and Effective Microorganisms Rural Cambodia 10

The Cause

The connection between waste management and organic processes was used throughout the world before their man-made and chemical counterparts were developed in the second half of the 20th century.

Today, many communities that are eager for all natural food processes are turning once again to biomass as a way to not only manage waste, but also to create value in other areas such as energy and agriculture.

While urban areas depend on landfills, a large portion of world population still relies on livestock to drive biomass and other organic processes. These techniques are important in rural areas for two crucial reasons: they remove the potential harmful and hazardous materials from animal waste, and provide a high quality fertilizer as an end product.

A typical rural bio digester can also easily be attached to household sanitary installation, and deliver many hours worth of renewable light and heating energy for a stove.


Our Work

Seoul-based Community First changemakers came together to fund the pilot program for four biodigesters in Sen Sok community in an effort to introduce highly efficient natural fertilizers as an alternative to the widely-spread chemical products.

Our villagers now have access to water, and can grow their own crops. With a thriving vegetable and rice farm, they will produce agricultural byproducts which can ultimately be turned into animal feed or litter. At this stage in our agricultural program, families not only enjoy more diverse and healthy foods, but now have the ability to sustain livestock.

Community First’s livestock initiative sponsors the creation of home-sized operations through in-kind donations to families and training for farmers.

Community First has expanded its agricultural initiatives by creating a chicken coop initiative.  Selected families are trained to manage chicken coops. Each family receives the livestock and the materials to build their own coop, as well as a supply of vaccines to control health risks that may arise when introducing a new livestock program in a community.

To date, this program has provided fifteen families with this essential agricultural skill as well as elementary veterinary training. The families are also introducing a vital, additional source of protein to the village.

And today, in collaboration with APSARA Authority, Community First is working towards re-introducing live Effective Micro-Organisms (EMs) that are farmed in an all-organic way, and can re-activate an impoverished soil with more nutrients.

The financial sustainability of the livestock program is ensured by the creation of a Self-Help Group. As with the Alternative Crop initiative, villagers agree to set aside money on a monthly basis toward a common fund. This fund serves as an interest- and collateral-free lending source to fund subsequent vaccines, thus minimizing perceived risk, bypassing predatory lenders, and avoiding bank rejections.

Livestock and Effective Microorganisms Rural Cambodia 5

What you can do


$2,500 provides a couple of cows that can produce calves. When an offspring is born, the family that fed the couple gets to keep the calve, but has to pass the parents down to the neighbors, who in turn will do the same.

As a result, a few thousand dollars and time, you can provide an entire village, hundreds of families with enough livestock to produce biomass.

$250 will get a farmer started with Effective Microorganism

$750 will get a home-based EM to help a farm a family switch to organic farming