Cambodia is rising out of a history marred by conflict and unrest. For the past two decades Cambodia has experienced rapid economic growth. However, despite strong growth, poverty remains a fundamental issue for the country with a majority of the population living on less than $2 a day.

Cambodia in context

Along its path to overcoming poverty, Cambodia faces a wide range of challenges.  The country is heavily dependent on overseas development assistance with foreign aid amounting to about half of the government’s annual budget.  

The main drivers of the economy, agriculture, the garment industry, tourism and construction have provided increasing revenues for the country.  However with the youngest population in Southeast Asia  – 50% are younger than 25 years of age – there is a lack of productive skills and inadequate employment for the current and emerging workforce.  The result is that many struggle to make a living with the effects particularly pronounced for women and those living in rural areas.

The majority of Cambodians live in the countryside with 85% of the population largely dependent on small-scale agriculture, fishery and forestry assets for their livelihoods.

With Cambodia now firmly in the tourism and development spotlight, careful planning and regulation of these activities will be important to avoid negative impact to the environment and  the natural resources on which many people depend.

Oxfam in Cambodia

Oxfam has been working in Cambodia for more than 30 years and we’re committed to ensuring that this culturally rich and inspiring country works its way out of poverty.

Oxfam was among the first group of NGO’s to provide aid to Cambodia after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. Over the years, we have teamed with local partners, community groups and government across all 24 provinces. We work with partners on the promotion and protection of human rights, women’s economic empowerment, building community micro-finance institutions, responsible management of natural resources, and disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.

The focus of our work in Cambodia is on:

  • Economic Justice: Helping Cambodian poor women and men secure and improve their livelihoods. 
  • Rights in Crisis: Supporting vulnerable communities - especially women - to be resilient to disasters and empowered to recognize, claim, and uphold their rights to life and security.
  • Gender Justice: Helping women gain power over their lives and live free from violence.