In Cambodia, over a quarter of the 15 million people live below the poverty line. Habitat for Humanity seeks to break the cycle of poverty through durable, affordable housing solutions. Habitat also works with partners to help families gain access to livelihood opportunities, clean water and sanitation, housing finance services, and secure land tenure. Since 2003, HFH Cambodia has served more than 10,000 families. Find out more at habitatcambodia.org.
Housing needs in Cambodia
Marked by decades of war, Cambodia has seen the level of povertydecline but inequalities persist. The food and economic crises
in 2008 and 2009 led to an exodus from rural areas to the cities,
predominantly the capital Phnom Penh. The migrants faced the risk
of eviction from rental housing, and struggled to find employment
and could not afford to provide their children with basic education.
Unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions also affect health. One
in five people in Phnom Penh lives in an informal settlement or a
slum and lacks access to basic services and secure tenure. The urban
poor would settle in every conceivable empty space, from courtyards
to rooftops, by the side of railway tracks, and near riverbanks and
How Habitat addresses the need in Cambodia
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia takes a holistic approach to housing that includes securing land tenure and developing thriving
communities with access to clean and affordable water and electricity. Working in six major provinces, Habitat and its partners train families in financial literacy and livelihood development, help vulnerable groups living with HIV/AIDS, and enable informal settlers in Battambang province to have secure land tenure. HFH Cambodia also provides micro loans and construction technical assistance to enable families to build wells and latrines, among others. Habitat programs feature the use of environmentally friendly soil blocks, solar-powered lights and rainwater catchment systems.
Housing and resettlement
In Phnom Penh, HFH Cambodia works with relocated families to build core houses or repair or rehabilitate their houses and toilet facilities. Small loans enable families to gain access to clean water and electricity connection. Through partnerships with local non-government organizations focused on people living with HIV/AIDS, HFH Cambodia provides adequate housing solutions while partners assist with health and livelihood aspects.
Water and sanitation
HFH Cambodia began working in Siem Reap province in 2007 with the support of Australia-based donor The Charitable Foundation. The three-year housing and community development project paved the way for Habitat to expand its program to improve families’ access to clean water and safe sanitation. Taking a community-led total sanitation approach, Habitat encourages behavioral changes through local leadership while providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) training, and water and sanitation facilities.
Land rights and housing advocacy
The Battambang project is unique in making centrally located, urban land available for housing the poor. Through this project, Habitat supports families and local authorities in applying for the government’s social land concession scheme. The work involves converting state-owned land in urban areas in Battambang into privately owned plots with secure tenure granted to families who were informal settlers. Habitat also works with partner MFIs to provide affordable loans to families to build decent homes.
Since its housing finance program began in 2012, HFH Cambodia has formed partnerships with major microfinance
institutions such as CBIRD, Theneaka Phum, and Hattha Kakseakar Limited. Institutional loans are provided to the
MFIs, which are then disbursed to families for housing and home improvement loans. HFH Cambodia also gives loans to build sanitation facilities in rural areas through its partner Vision Fund Cambodia. In addition, MFIs are provided with grants that were initially funded through the Swiss Capacity Development Fund to build their capacity and develop their
Capital: Phnom Penh
Population: 15.5 million (July 2014 est.)
Urbanization: 20 percent live in cities (2011)
Life expectancy: 64 years (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate: 3.4 percent (2008)
Population living below poverty line:
20 percent (2012 est.)
Access to improved water sources:
71.3 percent (2012 est.)
Access to improved sanitation facilities: 36.8 percent (2012 est.)
Sources: World Factbook