HEKS in Kambodscha
Christian Bobst

Food security and autonomy

Cambodia Country Programme

In Cambodia, HEKS/EPER supports rural community development projects being run by local partner organizations. HEKS/EPER promotes the building of water canals, the training of smallholders in organic farming, the development of local seeds and action to enhance the autonomy of rural dwellers.


The HEKS/EPER Country Programme in Cambodia supports projects by local partner organizations in six provinces. The aim is to ensure food security for the rural population and strengthen their empowerment with the objective to promote sustainable rural development.  The rural exodus is a major problem in Cambodia. Unable to find paid employment in the countryside, ever more young people migrate to urban centres. Villages therefore lack essential labour force. HEKS/EPER’s projects aim to create employment opportunities and new income sources in rural areas. The building of irrigation canals in remote villages is one example.

Cambodia has a very young population. Basic and continuing training is therefore a key component of HEKS/EPER’s projects.

Objectives and priorities

The HEKS/EPER Country Programme aims to guarantee the right to food in all project areas. This implies a quantitative as well as qualitative increase of agricultural yields. Due to the fact that irrigation facilities are still sparse in remote Cambodia, most smallholder farmers depend on rainwater.  Over the past years smallholder farmers increasingly faced extreme climatic conditions such as extreme droughts and floods.

Ernährungssicherung und Entwicklung ländlicher Gemeinschaften
HEKS/Maya Doetzkies


HEKS/EPER therefore supports the construction of irrigation and drainage canals so that farmers can harvest rice twice per year. HEKS/EPER also promotes the training of local farmers in sustainable agriculture and integrated organic farming. At a small agricultural centre in Prey Veng farmers for example learn how to achieve good harvests without using chemicals. HEKS/EPER also supports a local agricultural research centre in developing resilient and context-adapted vegetable and rice seeds.

Politically, Cambodia is at an advanced stage of decentralization. Political participation mechanisms exist but are hardly being used by the local population owing to ignorance or lack of trust. HEKS/EPER encourages and facilitates a trustful dialogue between the duty bearers and rightholders so that in future the latter can take more ownership of their own development and hold the duty-bearers accountable.

More information...

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