Following decades of war under the Khmer rouge, Cambodia has seen its level of poverty decline but huge inequalities persist. The food and economic crises in 2008 and 2009 led to an exodus, mostly fleeing rural poverty for the cities. This has resulted in concentrated poverty in both rural and urban areas. Urban poverty in Cambodia worsened and people started settling in every conceivable empty space, from courtyards to rooftops, by the side of railway tracks and near riverbanks and swamps.
The Battambang project is unique in making centrally located, urban land available for housing the poor. This allows us to support families and local authorities in applying for the government’s social land concession (SLC) scheme.
The work involves building homes made from compressed earth blocks, and converting state-owned land in urban areas in Battambang into privately owned plots. With the conversion of state-ownedland comes secure tenure that will be granted to families who were informal settlers. We work to promote responsive and effective community-based participation building safer homes in the urban area located about 2km south-east of Battambang city centre.