What we do
Our work in Cambodia includes fighting hunger, supporting women’s rights and climate change adaptation.
Since the emergence from genocide and civil war more than 20 years ago, Cambodia has struggled to rebuild the nation on principles of democracy, good governance and respect for civil, social and political rights. High economic growth over the past decade is accompanied by increasing social and economic inequality, and poverty reduction in rural areas has stagnated since 2009.
One out of five Cambodians lives below the poverty line of US$ 1.25 per day, but more than half of the population of 15.5 million survive on a daily expenditure of $2.50 or less. This means they are highly vulnerable to shocks and stresses that could push them back into extreme poverty. Cambodia is one of the most food insecure countries in the world. A root cause of food insecurity is loss of land, which has increased in the past decade. Migration, from rural to urban areas or cross-border, is a common survival strategy, which often results in exploitation of both men and women.
Cambodia is extremely vulnerable to climate change, the impact of which is expected to cause increased drought and flooding. Severe flooding in 2011 and 2013, which affected most parts of the country, is likely evidence of this. Weak agricultural infrastructure combined with low levels of knowledge about adaptation techniques contributes to the vulnerability of rural households.
Corruption at all levels and lack of access to information as well as trust in the legal system are key barriers to transparency and accountability. Whilst public awareness and community-led activism and demands for social justice have been on the rise in recent years, space for civil society engagement and rights claiming is becoming increasingly restricted.
Traditionally seen as subservient in society, women in Cambodia continue to face discrimination in all aspects of life. Gender stereotypes and the power dynamics contribute to high levels of gender-based violence and prevent women’s equal participation in politics and decision-making.
DanChurchAid has been active in Cambodia since the early 1980s. Initially, we worked with reconstruction as well as resettling refugees from the Khmer Rouge era. Since the 1990s, we have been working with local partners and from 2008 in a joint programme cooperation with our sister organisation Christian Aid to improve the livelihoods and resilience of poor rural communities and build a strong civil society, focusing on: