International Build Feb. 12, 2019

Creating safe and empowered communities in Cambodia

In 1992, Pho and his family purchased a piece of land in the city of Battambang and prepared to build a simple house. He was dumbfounded when the local authorities told him that the land was actually state­owned and he could not build there.

“I was not ready to give up on hope,” says Pho.

He rallied together local organizations to address land rights issues in his community and inspired others to participate. Pho’s fight took 21 years before he received an official certificate for his land.

Building Awareness and Promoting Land Rights

Habitat Cambodia is working to ensure that access to land is a reality for other families like Pho’s in the city of Battambang by supporting families and local authorities in applying for the government’s Social Land Concession initiative. The Habitat Cambodia SECURE (Safe and Empowered Communities for Urban Reintegration) Project is unique in making centrally located, urban land available for housing for people living in poverty.

No systematic land registration has been carried out to date in several regions of Cambodia, meaning that many people do not have any formal land certificates for the land they live on. The process of granting small pieces of land through Social Land Concessions has been very slow. Habitat Cambodia is working to remove the barriers to these land grants, so the families can have access to secure land and stable housing.

Providing Housing Solutions and Support Services

In addition to building awareness about land rights and helping informal settlers secure land, Habitat Cambodia is also providing technical housing support services to 300 of these informal settlement families, sharing basic construction techniques, providing advice on quality construction materials and home maintenance. These training sessions empower participants to maintain their home and check the quality of construction materials as they build their own affordable house.

With our support, Habitat Cambodia is also working with local partners to provide 40 new Habitat homes with water and sanitation support for low income families in Battambang. This will provide families in Battambang with improved living and health conditions and 120 children better conditions for living and studying.