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Changing lives in Cambodia

9 February 2022

Lorn Cambodia

You've changed lives in Cambodia!

Thanks to you and your support of our WEE BOX, BIG CHANGE UK Aid Match appeal in 2018, the lives of more than 46,838 people have been transformed in some of the poorest parts of rural Cambodia.

The appeal ran during Lent 2018 and raised more than £3.1m, including £1.5m of match funding from the UK government. The matched funds were used to run a three-year project in Cambodia, which came to a close at the end of 2021.

Today, the families we worked with have more money, more food, more water and more dignity. Lives have been changed and the future is bright.

Follow our picture story below to find out more about how you have helped change lives.

Chhy Sokhoeun age 32, Cambodia
Your support has changed our lives.

Chhy Sokhoeun

Challenges in Cambodia

The vast majority of people in Cambodia live in poverty, with nearly 75% earning less than $3 per day. In Stung Treng and Kampong Thom, some of the poorest provinces in the country, many families do not have enough food to eat, or clean water to drink.

In these rural areas, most people farm to survive. Those who have their own land grow rice, cassava, and vegetables. Those without land rely on communal areas for cattle-rearing, chickens, gathering products from forests, and fishing the rivers of the Mekong Delta.


Over the course of the project we worked directly with more than 8,516 people, of which 57% were women, and provided a hand-up to more than 38,322 family and community members.

Today, families in the project areas are able to access clean toilets, and schools have received new handwashing facilities and classes on good hygiene. In addition, local people no longer need to boil groundwater for drinking – instead, they can purchase affordable 20-litre bottles of clean, safe water from new community-owned water stations which were installed as part of the programme.

Protecting natural resources

One of the key successes of our work here was helping to legally protect over 5,000 hectares of community land, and enabling local people to develop plans for the continued conservation of the environment with the support of local authorities. Communities carry out patrols to prevent illegal hunting, fishing, and deforestation. In a world impacted by climate change, this represents one of the best ways to make the future safer for local people.

To increase the production of staples such as rice and cassava, as well as vegetable crops, we also offered the gift of animals and helped create small vegetable gardens near to people’s homes. Improved fish catches were supported through specialist training and by helping families purchase better equipment.

Chhean Chean, 30 Cambodia 2
In 2019 SCIAF and DPA came to teach me new techniques to plant Cassava. In 2020 I made enough money to buy a tractor.

Chhean Chean

We also encouraged the development of community farmer groups and co-operatives, which allow families to pool their harvests and sell collectively. This enables families to set up contracts with local and national buyers, and negotiate improved prices for their crops.

As a result, families saw their income increase by the equivalent of between £750 to £1,500 a year or, on average by 480%.

Chhy Sokhoeun age 32, Cambodia
When we sell collectively it’s easier, because they buy from us all the time.

Chhy Sokhoeun

Empowering Women

In rural parts of Cambodia, women are often marginalised and unable to access the same opportunities as men – they have little influence on how their community is run, and remain burdened with the toughest workloads.

Throughout the course of the project, we organised and promoted hundreds of meetings in the community focusing on women’s rights and equality, so that issues such as domestic abuse and gender law could be discussed in safe, secure and informed settings. 2,638 women told SCIAF that they felt empowered by this initiative.

Cambodia 2018
Chhean Chean, 30 Cambodia 3
Chhy Sokhoeun & son Chhen Cambodia

Lorn and Sat’s Story

Before 2018, the impact of increased flooding and then droughts had destroyed Lorn and Sat’s livelihood – 90% of their rice crop was gone. The family didn’t have enough to eat and often went hungry. Climate change was ripping apart their lives.

Their family’s health suffered and they got sick, but they couldn’t afford to buy medicines. Life was extremely difficult.

Lorn Cambodia
My health is better than before, the training helped me to take care of our house and keep the mosquitos away from us.

Lorn Vean

Sat Choeun, 57,  Cambodia
Before, our family did not have enough to eat. But, after receiving training from SCIAF and DPA, we are not only able to feed ourselves, but can sell the rest and make a profit.

Sat Choeun

Today, thanks to specialist training on how to grow crops in extreme weather, Lorn and Sat harvest more rice and vegetables, and even some fruit. They have enough to eat, and sell the rest. They also raise chickens, pigs and cows to sell and earn a profit.

Thank you for your support!

Changing lives in Cambodia

A better future

Though this UK government Aid Match funded project has now come to a close, SCIAF remains committed to changing lives in Cambodia and building on the progress made to date.

Today, thanks to the generosity of people in Scotland, and with the support of the UK government, families in some of the poorest parts of Cambodia have more money, more food, more water and more dignity. Lives have been changed and the future is bright!

Aid match and wee box logo