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.
A message from the Team Leader
"An amazing team of Cisco volunteers (and friends) are going to Battambang to help those who need help, and to change the world one small step at a time. We help because we can. My company - Cisco - is supporting all of our giving back efforts with matching donations and free days. For me personally it will be a third build with Habitat. A great way to show to my sons that there’s always time to help others and important milestones in my personal fight with illness. It’s never been a better time to help others." Agnieszka Jank – Team Leader