about cambodia

Typical house in Pursat Province.

  • Population: 15.76 Million

  • 3M living in poverty

  • Cambodia’s subsistence rice farmers cannot escape debt and poverty because they face high costs of growing rice, and low profits caused by cheap rice imported from other countries.

  • Because they have no money, Cambodian farmers take on hard day labor, leave the family to work in factories, and force their children to drop out of school.

  • most subsistence farmers have plots that are too small to take advantage of machinery and other cost-cutting methods. 

  • As rural communities become poorer — even as urban areas become wealthier — the chances for farmers to escape this cycle of poverty becomes increasingly difficult. As international aid diminishes with each passing year, Cambodia’s farmers and their families are being left behind, without any means to rely on themselves to improve their quality of life.


Recent major studies rank Cambodia as the 13th most vulnerable nation to climate change. Besides weather fluctuations, contributing to this threat are high rates of deforestation, heavy reliance on one crop (rice), and unusually irregular water levels of Cambodia’s main water sources, the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake.

The vast majority of Cambodia’s rural poor still depend on rice cultivation, in spite of its expenses, climate-related challenges, and dominant competition from countries whose large-scale agriculture yields cheaper rice.

our work

In 2018 we partnered with local organization, Sustainable Cambodia (SC), to bring our Victory Garden Campaign to the Pursat Province. The Face-to-Face Project and SC have years of experience operating rural programs in Cambodia. From its organic garden activities in Siem Reap and Battambang, The Face-to-Face Project understands how to engage local villagers to become facilitators who will then become leaders in spreading victory gardens to fellow villagers. SC has developed strong ties to rural communities in Pursat Province where it carries out village savings, gardening, and knowledge sharing projects.

Trainees, working in small groups, prepare a presentation on the benefits of victory gardens.

Because permaculture and organic gardening knowledge is lacking in Cambodia, the Campaign’s priority is to develop a team of qualified victory garden facilitators. Strategies of The Face-to-Face Project’s successful Campaign in Malawi will be modified to address Cambodian culture and society, while Campaign organizers search for new strategies, perhaps uniquely Cambodian, that can be developed into effective catalysts for success with the Campaign. Although Cambodia does not have Malawi’s tribal chief structure — a societal structure that has proven to be an effective way to reach large numbers of people in a short time — we believe this Cambodian Campaign will reveal other resources that can be utilized to plan for a larger victory garden scale-up starting from 2021.

The Victory Garden Campaign in Cambodia breaks the cycle of hunger and extreme poverty by enabling people to save money and feed their families with high-yield home victory gardens. Besides averting hunger, people boost nutrition, reduce debt, save money, and discover new opportunities to earn income.

In 2019, the Campaign will select 20 villagers to become victory garden facilitators who can teach others how to create victory gardens using permaculture and organic practices. In a 2-year period the Campaign aims to impact at least 3,000 families who will ultimately benefit from these teachings significantly improving their quality of life.


GOAL: By reducing hunger and poverty rural villagers in Cambodia will have better food security, nutrition, and more disposable income.

MEASURE OF SUCCESS: A significant increase in villagers utilizing permaculture and organic practices in their victory gardens with 1 garden benefitting 3 people.

STRATEGY: Train local villagers to become garden facilitators who teach others how to create victory gardens.Trainees/Facilitators serve as important role models for their fellow villagers. They will be the driving agent to getting friends, families, neighbors, and others to think of farming in a different way — at the very least, that growing a greater diversity of plants using less space and no chemical inputs results in saving money and having yearlong access to good, nutritious food.

2019: YEAR 1

  • 26 villagers complete victory garden facilitator trainings.

  • 20 of them selected to create gardens as apprentice victory garden facilitators.

  • 1,000 gardens created.

2020: YEAR 2:

  • 1,900 additional gardens created.

  • Nearly 3,000 home victory gardens created in 2 years that feed approx. 9,000 people all under the guidance of the garden facilitator team.

OCTOBER 2018: Trainees and Campaign workers at newly created victory garden