We were among the first donors to establish contacts in Cambodia in the early 1990s, as the country moved toward peace. Since then, we’ve supported its rebuilding efforts in the wake of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and decades of regional conflict.
Connecting the nation
Post-war Cambodia faced many challenges — among them, isolation. In 1998 an IDRC grant helped establish Cambodia’s first Internet service provider. We have since funded Cambodian research to develop programs and web content in Khmer, the national language. This enables Cambodians to use computers, access the Internet, and generate content.
Local research teams for the projects included the Institute of Technology, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, and the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority.
The unsustainable exploitation of primary resources, particularly forests and coastal areas, also pose a serious threat. We have long supported a community-based approach that actively involves local people in research, to help improve the sustainable use of resources.
For example, researchers and communities in the Ratanakiri province mapped traditional territories and resource demand, tested more efficient farming techniques, and acquired skills to manage the Yak Loam Lake ecotourism area. The research helped people improve their livelihoods, set limits on resource use, and secure land ownership.
In Koh Kong province, government officials and researchers collaborated to help community members agree on rules for coastal resource use and create a federation of communes to reduce conflict among communities. They planted mangrove trees, worked at halting illegal fishing, and adopted small-scale aquaculture to improve their incomes.
As a result of these and other successes, the Government of Cambodia has incorporated community participation into its laws. A national non-governmental organization called The Learning Institute, created with IDRC funding, further promotes community participation in sustainably managing natural resources through research and training.
92 activities worth CA$26.5 million since 1994
Our support helps
build research capacity and a research culture in Cambodia
upgrade skills and improve working conditions for young, low-skilled workers — mainly women and ethnic minorities
improve nutrient-rich food, where over one-third of deaths under age 5 relate to under-nutrition
produce more fish — a traditional food rich in iron, vitamin A, protein, and essential fatty acids