Cambodia’s climate is entirely tropical, with a low-lying central plain ringed by gentle hills and squat mountain ranges. The Tonle Sap (or “Great Lake”) lies near the center of the country, nourishing Cambodia’s heartland, where rural farmers grow rice, the country’s main export. Currently, 90% of Cambodians living below the poverty line live in rural areas.
In the last few decades, Cambodia has experienced enormous economic growth, reducing inequality and increasing household income, but the country’s rural poor remain vulnerable to unexpected circumstances, and have few resources on which they can rely in the long-term.
A complex political legacy discouraged Cambodians from expressing independence or self-reliance for decades, leading to a pervasive attitude of mistrust amongst neighbors and communities.