Volunteering in Cambodia

Cambodia is a country of extremes — of ancient temples, colourful markets, excellent food, and a turbulent political history.

More than 16 million people live in Cambodia, which is divided into 24 provinces plus the municipality of Phnom Penh, and shares borders with Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.

Buddhism is the official religion, practised by 95 per cent of the population.

Having regained stability following the trauma and genocide of the twentieth century, Cambodia has begun to rebound with strong growth (estimated at seven per cent in 2017), on the back of four key sectors: garments, tourism, agribusiness, and construction.

But there is plenty of work still to do: the UNDP rank Cambodia’s human development as 'low', and the country’s GDP per capita ranks 155th in the world.

As one of Cambodia’s largest donors, Australia’s aid priorities are underpinned by a focus on inclusive development, women’s empowerment, child protection and good governance.

The Australian Volunteers Program is guided by the Australian Government’s Aid Investment Plan for Cambodia as well as retaining the flexibility to respond to emerging priorities. Volunteer assignments focus on a range of development issues, including:

  • health
  • education
  • agriculture and rural development
  • infrastructure
  • economic growth and trade
  • private sector partnerships and enabling
  • disability
  • gender empowerment
  • child protection
  • environment
  • governance

Volunteer assignments are concentrated in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang and new opportunities are being explored in other provinces including Kampot, Kamphong Cham and Stung Treng.

Leanne Cambodia
Australian volunteer strategic development mentor Leanne Carlon with farmer Mith Sophorn from Koh Dach, Phonm Penh.
Cambodia incense
Making incense offerings at a Sunday ceremony, Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
William Cambodia
Australian volunteer IT officer William McLean with colleague Channeng Toeb at the Asean Regional Mine Action Centre, Phnom Penh.
Cambodia boats
Floating village, Tonle Sap river, Kompong Chhnang, Cambodia.
Brett Cambodia
Australian volunteer Brett Ambrose with colleagues at the AusCam Freedom Project in Phonm Penh.
Cambodia palms
Palm sugar harvest at dawn, Andong Russey village, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia.