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Program commenced: 1984
Total number of placements: 318 (as of 3 August, 2011)
Number of current placements: 21 (as of 3 August, 2011)
AVI Programs: Volunteer Program, Macquarie University Partnership, Cambodia/Phillipines/Indonesia Liver Fluke in Cattle Project, Cambodian Australian Interpreters for UNHCR Program of Repatriation, Capacity Building for Mine Action Planning, English Language Training for Senior Cambodian Officials, Mainstreaming Natural Resource and Environmental Management in the Seila Process, Midwifery Education in Cambodia, Prevention of All Forms of Trafficking in Women and Children in Cambodia, Rebuilding of Local Communities in Battambang Province, Return and Reintegration of Trafficked and Vulnerable Women and Children, Technical Assistance Personnel Project, United Nations Volunteer Program, Volunteer Graduate Program
The Kingdom of Cambodia, formerly under French protection, became fully independent in 1953. Cambodia is still recovering from the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot, during which 1.5 million Cambodians were killed. Bordering Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodians are mostly Khmers, descents of the Angkor Empire. Poverty and hardship stemming from years of devastating conflict are some of the development challenges facing Cambodia.
Contact our Cambodia and Thailand country office
While Cambodia's socio-economic position is not exceptional, it has at least maintained growth. In fact over the last 15 years, only seven other countries have experienced greater growth (real GDP was estimated to have grown at over 13 per cent in 2005). However, despite such growth Cambodia lags behind much of the world in terms of human development (as measured by the Human Development Index).
Poverty is widespread in Cambodia with almost 36 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. In fact, over 34 per cent of the population live on less than $1 a day and over 77 per cent of the population live on less than $2 a day (2004).
For up-to-date information and statistics on socio-economic development issues in Cambodia, please refer to the following sources:
UNDP Human Development Reports Website - Cambodia Country Sheet
The relatively high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia is an additional challenge to the current human development situation. Although the HIV prevalence rate in Cambodia has been falling over the last few years the estimated national adult (aged 15-49) HIV prevalence rate remains at 1.6 per cent.
The spectre of HIV/AIDS impacts on the healthcare system often already run down by economic crises and inadequate resource allocation. For a country like Cambodia, where there is only one doctor for every 6250 people (2000) and one nurse for every 1639, this is especially true. Further, HIV/AIDS, along with increased poverty and food insecurity, adds to the high workload of available health workers. Unsurprisingly, brain drain from the public sector is also an aggravating factor with about a quarter of the doctors in private practice, inaccessible to the most vulnerable.
For up-to-date information and statistics on HIV/AIDS in Cambodia and in general, please refer to the following sites:
UNAIDS page on Cambodia
WHO Cambodia country profile (general health information on Cambodia)
Sustainable environmental practices are crucial for Cambodia's long term development (as they are for all countries). Two of the more major environmental problems relate to Cambodia's two most important natural resources; its fish and forests.
Deforestation is the most serious threat to Cambodia's environment. There have been many causes of deforestation in Cambodia: bombings and defoliants during the Vietnam War, harmful agricultural practices under the Khmer Rouge, and timber exports in the period since. Such deforestation has resulted in alternate flooding and drought of the rivers, threatening the existence of the many endangered animals that live there (such as the Bengal tiger, Java rhinoceros, bears, and elephants) and significant hardship for much of the population who rely on their surrounding environment.
Overfishing and illegal fishing have also resulted in a decline in the fish stocks in Cambodia (along with deforestation and drought). Given that fish forms one of the main staples of the majority of Cambodian diets (along with rice) this is especially serious.
For further information, please refer to the following resources:
World Bank's page on Cambodia's environment
Cambodian Government's page on land and resources