Life for women is extremely hard in Cambodia. Women living in rural areas are very likely to experience domestic violence, sexual assault and land grabbing, and in cities, where criminal activity is everywhere, women are especially vulnerable to sexual violence in public places.
Cambodia has one of the least educated populations in the region — 40% of women are illiterate compared to 22% of men. Many children do not attend school because their parents can’t afford it or because they are needed to work to earn money for the family.
The country is also vulnerable to floods, droughts and insect infestations. These affect crops, destroy homes and force villagers to move to safer ground. As the majority of Cambodians depend upon their crops for food, when disasters hit they struggle to feed their families.
What we do in Cambodia
We support rural women to establish community savings groups. Members can borrow and repay money, interest free and get help to start small businesses. This helps women afford to send their children to school. Our Safe Cities Programme is targeting the local and national authorities to ensure they improve the safety of women and girls vulnerable to violence in cities.
To help day labourers who cannot earn money for food when the floods arrive, we provide rice loans. And to help farmers boost food production we provide training on crop diversification and new techniques. Farmers who receive training share their knowledge with the rest of the community.
ActionAid runs regular workshops for parents on the importance of children going to school and we work with teachers and parent groups to improve the quality of education. We also identify the children most likely to drop out due to poverty and provide school uniform and bag, notebooks, pens and pencils so they can continue their lessons.
How we’re changing lives for good in Cambodia
Read stories of women and girls we’ve helped.
Farming techniques to feed the family
Mrs. Lers Houn, 31, struggled to raise her two daughters on her indigenous farming knowledge. Her vegetable harvests were low and she could not feed her family all year round.
ActionAid and local partners identified the most vulnerable smallholder farmers, especially women, and trained them to modernise their production techniques. Now Mrs. Lers Houn can feed the family without worry and put the money from selling surplus crops towards her children’s education.
She says: “I could harvest 15-20 kg of many types of vegetable per week, up from 10-15 kg per week compared to the past year when I grew without proper techniques. The new farming techniques really work."Read more about our work on ending hunger