Diakonia - People change the world


In Cambodia, Diakonia supports a variety of local and national non-governmental organizations working on human rights, democracy, gender equality, good governance, and social and economic justice.

Cambodia faces a number of development challenges, including weak public service delivery, ineffective management of land and natural resources, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

But the country also continues to enjoy robust growth, albeit at a slightly lower pace. The garment sector, together with construction and services, are the main drivers of the economy. Poverty continues to fall in Cambodia, although the pace has declined significantly.

Cambodia’s development has been accompanied by widespread land grabbing perpetrated against poor farmers and communities, as well as in urban areas. Land has been converted to accommodate large plantations of sugar and rubber, along with other industrial products mainly for export. Approximately half of the country’s arable land has been appropriated by agribusinesses and mining companies. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evicted from their land in recent years.

How we work

Diakonia is an accompanying partner with a local presence and we engage with our implementing partners through dialogue, funding and capacity building.

Diakonia works with local civil society organizations and directly with communities, training people to become aware of and defend their rights. This includes paralegal support and work to achieve justice for victims of violations such as land grabbing. 

A vital component of democratic governance, beyond the challenge of ensuring free and fair elections, concerns holding elected officials accountable and safeguarding an independent judiciary. Diakonia supports partners working to secure good governance across all levels of government and public institutions in Cambodia. We also support independent media so that people have access to independent information and can exercise freedom of expression.

Diakonia’s work makes a difference

Through the work of Diakonia and our partner organizations, hundreds of thousands of people have become aware of their human rights. By encouraging people to organise themselves, a successful contribution to the general development of the community has been made. 

As a result of the support from partner organizations, people affected by land grabbing have successfully defended their rights. Women are often the ones taking the lead in these struggles and they have increasingly achieved leadership positions in their communities.

Read more about our work in Cambodia

  • His betrayal was her salvation

    Her husband controlled everything in their home, forced Sakan Soung to stop working and even decided when she could buy new underwear. “When he said his control was normal, I believed him.” In the end Sakan...
  • Our land is our life

    Manak Soun and Simorn Y had lived in the same place for more than 20 years. In 2005 they discovered that the land they were living on was not included in the government’s land registration system, which meant...
  • Unusual leader heads urban squatter community

    “I will help my community to be more closely protected from forced eviction,” resolves Tuch Pao. She is a 60 year old woman from the squatter community of Rolus Choeung Ek in Phnom Penh who has been trained by...
  • Fighting for beer workers' rights

    Mara Priem is one of many beer workers in Cambodia, working under lousy conditions, the salary isn't fixed, nor are the working hours. She’s often forced to drink together with the bar’s customers and sexual...

Download documents

Country leaflet Cambodia 291 KB PDF