Improving Resilience to Hunger in Cambodia

Action Against Hunger launches new program to empower communities to fight undernutrition
In Cambodia's Preah Vihear Province, 44 percent of children suffer from stunted growth due to undernutrition. Photo: ACF-Cambodia, J. Lapegue

Action Against Hunger closed out 2015 with some very good news—on December 22nd, we officially launched a new pilot program in Cambodia that has potential to improve the resilience of communities to hunger. Our new program aims to deliver sustainable solutions that put communities in the driver's seat, equipping them with vital skills, partnerships, and tools to fight undernutrition, which causes stunted growth in as many as 44 percent of children in parts of Cambodia. Our approach involves analyzing both the immediate and the underlying factors causing undernutrition in areas where children are most affected, and building strong partnerships and holistic, multisectoral programs to drive long-term change. The launch is an exciting element of our partnership with Google, who is generously funding the project.

Our efforts will focus on the province of Preah Vihear, one of the most vulnerable areas in Cambodia. During the official launch ceremony for the program, Action Against Hunger Country Director Jean-Luc Lambert welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with government and local leaders to accelerate progress in the fight against hunger.  He highlighted the program's potential to reduce undernutrition, especially among women and children under the age of five in Preah Vihear province. Activities are already underway, and initial priorities include in-depth assessments of the nutrition status of targeted communities as well as analysis of their resilience and vulnerability. This critical data will help our experts identify the most urgent needs among target communities. Understanding those needs will guide us to empower communities through programs that prioritize nutrition and improve livelihoods and food security; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and educate caregivers about care and feeding practices for infants and young children.

Undernutrition remains the single greatest threat to child survival worldwide. In Cambodia, nearly 10 percent of children are undernourished and 32 percent suffer from stunted growth. In some provinces, particularly in Preah Vihear, the situation is even worse, with nearly 13.8 percent of children undernourished and 44.3 percent suffering from stunted growth. These indicators led Action Against Hunger to launch its new program in Preah Vihear, working in partnership with Provincial Departments and local leaders to strengthen systems and empower communities to improve their resilience.

How will this work? Over the course of three years, the program will prioritize:

  • Strengthening the capacity of local leaders and community members to carry out sustainable interventions to improve resilience to hunger and reduce undernutrition 
  • Improving hygiene and sanitation practices and access to clean water 
  • Strengthening the power of women in decision making and in managing household resources
  • Educating communities to improve care and practices for family nutrition
  • Implementing farming and "agro-ecological" practices that are resilient to climate change, which will in turn strengthen food security.

We are working closely with national and local partners in Cambodia. These include the Office of the Provincial Governor, the Provincial Health Department, the Provincial Department of Rural Development, and the Provincial Department of Agriculture. Representatives of the provincial government and local and international NGOs attended the program launch ceremony. The Municipal Governor, who presided over the launch, highlighted the importance of improving nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene, and food security in Preah Vihear, one of the most vulnerable areas in Cambodia.

We’re excited to begin 2016 working alongside the people of Cambodia to build nutritional resilience and ensure healthier futures. Stay tuned to the blog this year to learn more about the program as it evolves.

Action Against Hunger's Country Director in Cambodia, Jean-Luc Lambert, at the launch for our new
"Nutritional Resilience" program. Photo: ACF-Cambodia

His Excellency, the Municipal Governor of Preah Vihear, at launch of Action Against Hunger's new nutrition program in Cambodia. Photo: ACF-Cambodia

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Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger. We save the lives of malnourished children. We ensure families can access clean water, food, training, and health care. We enable entire communities to be free from hunger.