Geography and people

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia, bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the Gulf of Thailand. One of Asia’s longest rivers, the Mekong, runs through the heart of the country.

It has a hot and humid tropical climate with little temperature variation throughout the year. The rainy season is typically between May and November, and the dry season is from December to April. Natural resources include oil, gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, phosphates and hydropower.

The Khmer people make up most of Cambodia’s population. Other ethnic groups include Chinese, Vietnamese and Laotians. Most Cambodians speak Khmer, the official language, along with French and English.

Over three-quarters of the population live in rural areas in traditional stilt houses that protect them from floodwaters in the wet season and keep the house cool in the dry season.



Life expectancy

Life expectancy

Literacy rate

Literacy rate

Access to safe water

Access to safe water

Average annual income

Average annual income

School enrollment

School enrollment

Fast facts


More than 20 percent of Cambodians live below the poverty line (UNICEF, 2012).


Hunger is a problem in Cambodia. The World Food Programme (2010) estimates that almost 40 percent of children are malnourished.


Cambodia is a key transit and destination point in the global commercial sex trade. Each year, thousands of women and children are trafficked from Vietnam and China to work in the brothels in Phnom Penh and other urban areas.

Our focus in Cambodia

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Cambodia to improve their lives today and to help deliver sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families and communities. Our child sponsorship programme plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United Kingdom sponsoring over 4,919 girls and boys (as of April 2014) across four community projects. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programmes that benefit communities in Cambodia.

Highlights of our work include:

Improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices, reducing the risk of disease and infection.

Encouraging children to enroll in education by ensuring schools are child friendly and provide positive learning experiences.

Working with 82,100 people living in communities who suffered severe flooding after cyclones in October 2013. We have partnered with Plan Cambodia and a local organisation called Farmer Livelihood Development to provide immediate emergency supplies to affected communities in nine Provinces. We are now focusing on cleaning up water supplies and restoring people's livelihoods. This project is 88% funded by the European Union through the EC's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), with the remaining funding from World Vision supporters and Plan UK supporters.

Improving the quality of and access to healthcare, especially for mothers and children.

Protecting children through community programmes that target all forms of child abuse, including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking.

Our Achievements in Cambodia

World Vision’s work began in Cambodia in the early 1970s, but was forcibly abandoned when the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975. We returned in 1977 and since then some of our major accomplishments include:

Community Development

Assisting Cambodia’s recovery after the defeat of the Khmer Rouge by restoring social services and helping farmers recover and return to crop production in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


Working to improve the health of children suffering from malnutrition, infectious diseases and parasite infections during the 1980s.


Improving hospital services during Cambodia’s recovery from civil war in the 1990s.

Eco Development

Eco Development

Focusing on HIV and AIDS prevention, microenterprise development, at-risk youth education and food production since 2000.

Food security

Providing relief supplies to people affected by Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.


 Pray for our work in Cambodia »