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Danmission has had a presence in Cambodia since 1993, working with Christian churches on religious dialogue and strengthening people's abilities to become self-sufficient and to have increased access to basic public services.

Why does Danmission work in Cambodia?

The social and political history of Cambodia is characterised by violent confrontations and genocide, and this has led to a deep mistrust across society as a whole. Cambodia’s national and local government institutions are weak and lack both technical capacity and a clear mandate to govern. After the national elections in July 2013, Cambodia saw what can best be described as a “Cambodian Spring”, with large popular protests demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s departure. The revolt was forcibly overcome at the beginning of 2014, with several protesters dead and wounded, and this was followed by a period of several months in which activists and opposition politicians were arrested, and assemblies and demonstrations banned. This repression forced the opposition to agree to a political settlement, leading to a period of reconciliation with the ruling party. According to many, the opposition paid a high price for the agreement and now risks being politically pacified, leaving Cambodia without any real opposition able to articulate the widespread popular discontent on matters of importance such as the widespread destruction of natural resources, rampant poverty, corruption and violation of basic human rights in the country.

Nearly a third of the Cambodian population now lives below the poverty line and, for many families, it is a daily struggle even to get food. Climate change is periodically resulting in floods. In addition, Cambodia’s poorest farmers, who have traditionally cultivated the land as a means of survival, are seeing their land taken over by Cambodia’s powerful elite.