Families served in 2016: 321
- Population: 15.7 million (July 2015 est.)
- Urbanization: 20.7 percent live in cities (2015)
- Life expectancy: 64 years (2015 est.)
- Unemployment rate: 0.3 percent (2013 est.)
- Population living below poverty line: 17.7 percent (2012 est.)
- Access to improved water sources: 75.5 percent (2015 est.)
- Access to improved sanitation facilities: 42.4 percent (2015 est.)
Sources: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Cambodia
While poverty has decreased significantly, many Cambodian families are hovering only just above the poverty line. Nearly three quarters of Cambodia’s population still live on less than US$3 a day in 2011, according to the World Bank. Poverty is largely concentrated in the rural areas though urban poverty may be rising. Habitat Cambodia seeks to break the cycle of poverty through durable, affordable housing solutions. Since 2003, Habitat Cambodia has enabled more than 18,000 families to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.
Housing needs in Cambodia
With an expected increase in the country’s total population to 18 million by 2030, the Cambodian government has said that an additional 1.1 million houses will be required. Research has shown that about two million houses in Cambodia do not meet minimum quality standards for design, durability, access to water/sanitation as well as land tenure. Out of the two million residents in the capital Phnom Penh, about 140,000 people are living in over 500 slum communities that lack access to basic services and secure tenure.
How Habitat addresses the need in Cambodia
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia takes a holistic approach to housing that includes empowering marginalized communities in improving their own housing conditions and working with partner organizations to address the needs of vulnerable groups of people. As Cambodia is also prone to floods and droughts, Habitat aims to build resilient communities through disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction training. Through institutional lending, microfinance institution partners are able to disburse loans to families for housing and home improvement.
Decent housing including watsan facilities
In Battambang, Habitat worked with the local government to facilitate secure land tenure to families who have lived on public state land for many years. After each family receives a land certificate, Habitat then assists with the on-site development of homes and infrastructure projects such as roads and drainage systems.
Advocacy and volunteer engagement
HFH Cambodia raises awareness of the great need for decent housing through advocacy as well as rallying volunteers. The National Housing Policy was enacted by the Cambodian government in 2014 but it has yet to reach low- and middle-income families. Under Habitat’s Solid Ground campaign, HFH Cambodia is advocating for the effective implementation of the National Housing Policy to facilitate access to improved housing for the growing number of urban residents. While Cambodia is a popular destination for international volunteers under Habitat’s Global Village program, local volunteers have shown their mettle since 2012. The annual Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign is an important platform for youth volunteers to advocate, fundraise and speak out for the need for decent homes.
Disaster risk reduction and response
Through collaborating with the Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction, HFH Cambodia aims to promote disaster-resilient house construction in the building sector. Communities will be trained in the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) to better prepare for disasters. HFH Cambodia will also respond to disasters through the distribution of emergency shelter kits and reconstruction through the “Build Back Better” approach.
HFH Cambodia’s housing finance program began in 2012 with the creation of partnerships with major microfinance institutions such as KREDIT, Theneaka Phum and Hattha Kakseakar Limited. In 2014, about 6,000 families were supported in gaining access to housing finance loans. HFH Cambodia’s MFI partners are also provided with grants that were initially funded through the Swiss Capacity Development Fund to build their capacity and develop their products.