Diakonia - People change the world


In Cambodia, Diakonia supports a variety of local and national non-governmental organisations 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 which impede inclusive development; ineffective management of land and natural resources, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

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

How we support our partner organizations

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

Diakonia is working with local civil society organizations and directly with communities, training people to know and defend their rights. This includes work with para-legal 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 the accountability of elected officials 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.

Our achievements

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 our partner organizations, people affected by land grabbing have successfully defended their rights. Women are often the ones standing at the forefront of those struggles and they have increasingly gained leadership 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...
  • Cambodia

    In Cambodia Diakonia supports a variety of local and national NGOs, with a strong focus on human rights, democracy and land rights. Some are large and well-known national NGOs located in the capital Phnom Penh, while other are provincial NGOs geographically located in rural areas. Diakonia in Cambodia
  • Kry Suntha is dedicated to change the work environment

    At first Kry Suntha wasn’t interested in joining the union – that would only cause problems he thought. But he learned more and decided to start a union group. Now – after more than ten years of struggle - he...
  • Sambo’s struggle for land rights lives in her husband

    Chhit Sambo was dedicated to the fight for villagers’ land rights and gained many good results. Now she has passed away, and her husband is committed to her legacy and to let the struggle continue to live.
  • 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...
  • Knowledge is a weapon to change working conditions

    Massage workers at one of Siem Reap’s biggest massage centres were treated more or less as slaves. They were asked to work 12 hours or more a day, they had no annual leave and only received 55 dollars a month -...
  • Cambodian partner organizations discuss land grabbing and partnership with Diakonia

    In Cambodia, land grabbing is a growing problem for people in poverty, as their homes are taken away from them with limited compensation. Diakonia's partner organizations STT, CLEC and LICADHO are currently in Sweden to share the situation and what needs to change in Cambodia. More about the partners