South East Asia
Workers in the field


Our work here focuses on empowering civil society, development and education, emergency relief aid and supporting refugees.



Our work here includes, among other things, fighting hunger, HIV/AIDS, supporting women’s rights and climate change adaption.

Left behind amidst tiger economies

South East Asia is known for the booming Tiger economies. But surrounded by Vietnam and Thailand, Malaysia and China you still find two of the poorest countries in Asia: Myanmar and Cambodia.

Both countries have been kept in iron grip by repressive regimes –the military rule from 1962 – 2012 in Myanmar and the Pol Pot rule from 1975- 79 in Cambodia which led to the death of up to 2 mio. citizens or a quarter of the population. Both countries therefore have a legacy of stunted development, impeded capacities and very limited political space.

Myanmar’s 60 million people face many enormous challenges. After a long harsh military rule, isolation and international boycott the country has now initiated promising democratic changes. Civil war between the central military government and Myanmar’s ethnic minorities has left the country deeply divided and the population extremely exposed to Explosive Remnants of War and mine fields not least in the states on the border with Thailand. Myanmar’s GNI/cap is still the lowest in the region (UNDP 2011). This goes for most other poverty indicators from population below poverty line (26 per cent), schooling expectancy (9.2 years) and gender inequality (female participation in labour force at 63.1 per cent and in parliament 4 per cent).

In response to these challenges, DCA has chosen to develop a country programme focusing on two distinct geographical areas, namely the central dry zone and mid-to-south eastern border states near Thailand. The overall goal is to empower rights holders and enable duty bearers to improve on the lack of protection and food insecurity as well on the lack of accountable, inclusive and effective government.

Cambodia is DCA’s other focus country within the South East Asia region (together with Myanmar above). The geographical focus here is on the northwest of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and surrounding provinces. The emergency response to recent flooding focuses on river-near areas in eastern Cambodia.

The DCA-managed joint office for Christian Aid and DCA implements approved programmes under Active Citizenship (2011–15),  Food Security (2010–14) and the regional Asia programme on Migrants’ Rights (2012–16). All three programmes contribute substantially to DCA’s global advocacy around an enabling environment for civil society, land grabbing and climate change as well as migration.

The programme objective in Cambodia in 2014-17 is: Target communities have greater participation and influence in decision-making on social, economic and political affairs contributing to more accountable governance and more equitable development.


Through our regional offices in Myanmar  and Cambodia  our work in South East Asia focuses on:

  • dotPromoting Inclusive Citizenship for Accountable Governance
  • dotProtecting the rights of Migrant workers
  • dotEnsuring resilient Livelihood for sustainable food security
  • dotHumanitarian Response and Disaster Risk Reduction
  • dotKeeping communities safe from landmines and explosive remnants of conflict and war.