Families served in 2016: 321
- Population: Over 15.9 million
- Urbanization: 20.7 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 64.5 years
- Unemployment rate: 0.3 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 17.7 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Cambodia
While poverty has decreased significantly, many Cambodian families are hovering just above the poverty line of US$1.25 a day. Nearly three quarters of the population still live on less than US$3 a day, based on World Bank’s data. Poverty is largely concentrated in the rural areas though urban poverty is on the rise. Habitat for Humanity Cambodia seeks to break the cycle of poverty through safe, durable, affordable housing solutions. Since 2003, Habitat Cambodia has enabled over 18,000 families to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.
Housing needs in Cambodia
The Government has estimated that at least 10 million Cambodians still lack access to decent housing. Throughout the country, about 2 million houses need critical improvement to meet minimum quality standards. Based on the Cambodia National Housing Policy, an additional 1.1 million houses will be needed by 2030 as a result of a population increase and rural urban migration. 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. Often the most vulnerable have to deal with corruption and suffer forced evictions due to a lack of secure land tenure.
How Habitat addresses the need in Cambodia
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia works with a diverse group of international and local non-governmental organizations, microfinance institutions, corporate partners, and local and national authorities. Its holistic approach to housing includes:
Unique knowledge as well as valuable data and research on the housing sector for the poorest segments of the population and low- income families;
Technical expertise in the provision of housing solutions for the most vulnerable individuals including safe and affordable house designs as well as water and sanitation interventions;
An innovative approach combining market development and experience in housing finance and housing support services; advocacy for secure land tenure; and pro-poor housing solutions in collaboration with other NGOs and community-based organizations.
Housing for the most vulnerable groups
In Cambodia, 2.8 million people or 17.7 percent of the population still live in extreme poverty without any social safety net. For the past decade, Habitat Cambodia has been working in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambong to provide holistic housing solutions and help secure land tenure for the homeless, informal settlers, those affected by HIV/AIDS, and street children and orphans. A community-led total sanitation program in Siem Reap, implemented over six years ago, saw water and sanitation facilities being built along with the promotion of behavioral change. In Battambang, Habitat Cambodia works with the local government to secure land tenure for informal settlers living on state land. After each family has received a land certificate, Habitat Cambodia assists with new home construction and infrastructure projects such as roads and drainage systems.
Advocacy and volunteer engagement
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, Habitat 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. Habitat Cambodia also rallies volunteers to raise awareness. International volunteers contribute on Global Village builds while local volunteers have been supporting the annual Habitat Young Leaders Build in advocacy, fund raising and construction since 2012.
Disaster risk reduction and response
Through collaborating with government agencies, Habitat Cambodia aims to promote disaster-resilient house construction among local communities and the building sector. The community-led Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness trains families to better prepare for disasters. Habitat Cambodia also responds to disasters through the distribution of emergency shelter kits and reconstruction through the “Build Back Better” approach.
Since 2012, more than 17,820 families have gained access to housing finance loans through Habitat Cambodia’s partnerships with major MFIs such as Kredit, LOLC (Cambodia) plc., First Finance, Sovannaphoum and Hattha Kaksekar Limited. Since 2014, Habitat 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.