Cambodia map

Fast facts

Population: 15.14 million
Life expectancy: 63.78 years
Under 5 mortality: 39 deaths for every 1,000 live births*
Maternal mortality rate: 250 for every 100,000 live births 
Adult literacy rate: 77%
Access to improved drinking water: 93.9% (urban), 65.6% (rural)

(Source: CIA World Factbook, *UNICEF)


CARE in Cambodia

Since emerging from war and internal conflict, Cambodia has experienced high levels of growth over the last two decades. It has abundant natural resources and enormous potential; however, one in four people live in extreme poverty.

Many people living in rural areas don’t have access to safe drinking water and only 54 per cent of women give birth in health facilities.

CARE began working in Cambodia in 1973. Since then, our focus has shifted from short-term relief operations, to longer-term projects.

Stories from CARE's work in Cambodia

CARE's bilingual education program helps break down barriers for hundreds of indigenous children.
Read more

Soun Dyna, 21, started her own business after attending CARE's literacy, finance and life skills courses.
Read more

CARE’s programs start by focusing on a particular group of vulnerable people and working to make sustained improvements in their lives over 10-15 years. The two main groups we work with in Cambodia are:


Marginalised ethnic minorities

  • Mortality rates of children are twice the national average.
  • School enrolment rates for girls are significantly lower than other groups in Cambodia.

Cambodia is home to a range of ethnic minorities, who are among the poorest and most marginalised people in the country. They experience discrimination, isolation and inequality, leaving them with limited access to health, education and other services.

How is CARE helping?

CARE has been working with indigenous communities in the northeast of the country for over a decade. Our programs focus on improving education, access to nutritious food, helping people earn an income and improving their resilience to natural disasters. 

Hundreds of children in Ratanakiri province who previously had limited access to education have now graduated from primary school, thanks to CARE’s Highland Community Education Program, which begins schooling for remote ethnic groups in their local language. The program has been so successful that the Cambodian Government recently adopted a bilingual education policy and a model based on CARE's.


Thousands of students like these now learn in their local languages along with Khmer, Cambodia’s national language, which many of them did not used to speak or understand.
Read more. © Laura Hill/CARE


Poor and vulnerable women

  • Maternal mortality is amongst the highest in the South-east Asia.
  • Across Cambodia there remains a high acceptance of gender-based violence and many women do not have access to or do not seek support.
  • Poverty remains the single most important driver of human trafficking.

Cambodia ranks poorly in international measures of gender equality, including key areas like school enrolment, maternal mortality and gender-based violence.

How is CARE helping?

In rural areas, CARE is helping people earn an income so they can provide food, water and shelter for their families, and save for the future. In urban areas, CARE is working with women to ensure safe and fair working conditions, access to health services and access to savings and loans.


Seab eats and sells the fish from her fish pond that CARE helped her set up. She can now afford to keep her children in school and save some money for the future.
Read more on CARE’s blog. © Josh Estey/CARE


Lessons and impact

We analyse and evaluate our projects to monitor results and learn how we can improve programs. Below is a selection of recent reports on CARE's work in Cambodia.

More CARE evaluation reports from Cambodia and other countries are available at CARE's Electronic Evaluation Library.


Other resources and highlights


    Marginalised Urban Women in South-East Asia   

CARE Cambodia Program Statement 2013 Download

CARE Cambodia Brochure 2014 Download Marginalised Urban Women in South-East Asia. Download Mr Sen has been instrumental in bringing bilingual education to his hometown. Read more
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