Sustainable Cambodia follows a comprehensive program of development. Rather than maintaining a narrow scope as many organizations do, we believe that in order to create a sustainable quality of life village families need clean water, various agricultural skills, organizational skills, and education.

The heart of the program is empowerment: Rather than approaching a village with a list of possible projects, our Cambodian staff works with the village families to help them establish Village Committees. The Committee members volunteer to help organize the village families, and the families then explore and brainstorm all the possibilities, choosing projects they believe will help the most. They often choose a village preschool, and wells, and biosand filters, and perhaps alternative agriculture or fish-farming or beekeeping. And they provide all the work to implement the projects.

Our programs are all based on the “best practices” concept. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we have tapped into the most successful development models from around the world, including the Grameen Bank microloan program from Bangladesh, the pass-on animal program developed by Heifer International and the participatory empowerment model of care.

Sustainable Cambodia utilizes a participatory development model: The village families create a Village Development Committee, which works with our staff to prioritize the projects that will have the most impact on the village. Nothing is “given” to the villagers. The villagers must commit their time and labor to make the projects happen, while Sustainable Cambodia typically provides the training and nearly all the early financing for the projects. The amount of assistance is slowly reduced after a three-year period, as the villagers become more and more self-reliant. It takes four to five years, but eventually the quality of life in the village is dramatically improved, and the villagers have the self-created resources to continue to improve it.  The projects which each Village Development Committee chooses to implement are unique to each village, but often they include water wells, community ponds, rainwater harvesting, irrigation, gardens, alternative agriculture, a village school, a pre-school, vocational training, micro-loans and micro-business, and village healthcare.

Among the Village Development and Education projects are the following programs:

Education & Training:

  • Sylvia Lasky Memorial School
    (300+ grade-school students)
  • Kravanh Bright Futures School
    (240+ grade-school students)
  • University Scholarships
    (for grade-school graduates)
  • Village Preschools
  • Adult Literacy
  • Mobile Libraries
  • Vocational Education
  • Health & Sanitation Education

Village Development:

  • Fresh Drinking Water Wells
  • Biosand Water Filters
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Community Ponds
  • Vegetable Gardens & Irrigation
  • Pass-On Farm Animal Program
  • Micro-Business & Crop Micro-loans
  • Rice Banks
  • Village Healthcare
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