CWS Asia


Leslie Wilson, CWS Asia Regional Director and CWS Cambodia team at Kampong Thom closing event. Photo: CWS

CWS Cambodia Country Representative – Mao Sophal. Photo: CWS

Highlights/Key Accomplishments For The Year 2017

* In January, with 16 years’ experience as a program staff leader, Sophal Mao was named Country Representative, becoming the first Cambodian to hold the position.

* With Week of Compassion funding from the Teach WASH project, 336 new sanitary latrines were built, marking a 42% increase in latrines among the 799 households in the four villages; one of the four villages obtained Open Defecation Free status.

* Through Promoting Better Lives education and awareness-raising sessions, 71 % of participating families became food secure this year – a 32% increase over last year. And, the rate of severely underweight children significantly dropped from 4% in 2016 to 0.3% in 2017. Additionally, with successful behavior change activities like using soap and water for hand-washing, water-borne disease rates among these families dropped from 15.7% last year to 4% this year.

* In June, after 24 years partnering with families, communities and local government, CWS phased out of programming in Kampong Thom Province in north central Cambodia.


CWS work in Cambodia began in 1979 with emergency food and medical relief, and continues today as a comprehensive, integrated rural development program for some of the country’s poorest rural communities and families.  Rural development initiatives are done in partnership with communities and their leaders as well as Bread for the World and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission  as well as several Cambodian government ministries and departments.

Latest News

A Little Help from Our Friends

CWS Cambodia | February 18, 2018

Pann Srey Touch, 23, lives with her husband, Doeun Tith, 25, and their two-year-old daughter in Teuk Kraham village in northern Cambodia. They are farmers with a small land plot where they grow rice, cassava, eggplant, citronella and basil. They sell the cassava locally for about $450 per season, and the other crops they keep […]

Meeting Sokhean … Seven Years On

CWS Cambodia | February 17, 2018

CWS household partner, Veth Sokhean, is one of a surprisingly high 65% of women who run Cambodian businesses – many small and informal. She lives in Choam Ksant village in northern Cambodian with her husband Lum Loep, 33, and their three sons ages 13, 9 and 4. Loep is a wage laborer with low income […]

All in the Family

CWS Cambodia | December 19, 2017

In early 2017 the CWS team in Cambodia wrote about a girl named Chrang and her mother, Hong Khoeun who, with CWS support started a grocery shop back in 2012 when CWS was working with poor families in Kam Prak village in northern Cambodia to support them in reaching their social and economic goals as […]

Getting by Better with a Little Help from My Friends

CWS Cambodia | December 18, 2017

Charn Sour, 42, knows firsthand how socially isolating poverty can be. Sour and her husband, Chey Cham, 53, live in Ang Tboung village in western Cambodia. They have six children; her youngest sons attend primary school while her older sons work in two hours away from home. Sour’s two daughters are married with families of […]

An Enduring Legacy of CWS, Week of Compassion and Cambodian NGO Partnership

CWS Cambodia | November 19, 2017

In 2010-2011, the Disciples of Christ Week of Compassion funded Lending a Helping Hand – an initiative in Battambang, northwest Cambodia that was led by a Cambodian NGO, the Association for Development for Our Villagers’ Rights. There were many and varied accomplishments from the project, which supported basic health services, hand pump wells, community leader […]

Promoting Better Lives in Rural Cambodia: Stories of Success and Change Continue

CWS Cambodia | November 18, 2017

Eighty percent-plus of Cambodians live in rural areas, and more than 40% of these people have no access to improved water sources Poor sanitation is endemic with 50% of people defecating in the open (Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey, 2014). These circumstances, plus poor household hygiene leads to many preventable diseases and to a […]

Solidarity for Savings and Success

CWS Cambodia | October 18, 2017

In northern Cambodian, where CWS team members support our Promoting Better Lives project, a group of women have been meeting monthly for several years now to review and discuss their shared savings through Robonh Samaki, or Robonh (village) Solidarity, which is one of 49 similar groups that CWS supports. And, when families in the village […]

For Family and Community Together

CWS Cambodia | October 16, 2017

Ngin Chanrith, who is 50, lives with her husband Bun Heang in Anglong Thma village in central Cambodia near their two sons and two daughters, who have families of their own. Heang is the village Chief while Chanrith drives a motorcycle taxi to earn about $5 a day to supplement their income. To help her […]

Promoting Better Lives in Rural Cambodia: Dedicated Leadership Helps Everyone Succeed

CWS Cambodia | September 12, 2017

More than five years after CWS transitioned from active engagement win Ti Pou commune in central Cambodia, Chhay You, who is now 59 and the Commune Chief, is proud to continue helping his neighbors and friends as the work each day to secure better lives for themselves and their children. You was Commune Chief when, […]

Promoting Better Lives in Rural Cambodia One Family at a Time

CWS Cambodia | September 6, 2017

Mrs. Chab Heang, who is 61, lives in Ballangk Kroam village central Cambodia with her son Kriya, who is 30. Heang and her husband, who was the family’s main income earner, divorced some years ago so now Heang and her son work as wage laborers planting, and then harvesting, corn and potatoes on their neighbor’s […]

Partners for Life and Better Living

CWS Cambodia | August 18, 2017

Hong Khoeun, age 55, and her husband Sim Kheang, age 60, live in Kam Prak village in northern Cambodia. They have a daughter Chrang in Grade 7 at a secondary school in a village that is about 20 kilometers from them, where she lives in a dormitory during the school week. In 2012, CWS began […]

Enjoyment and Satisfaction in Being a Change Agent

CWS Cambodia | August 17, 2017

CWS first met Chantha in January 2017 when he became a Community WASH Focal Persons for his village, Rung Chrey, in northwest Cambodia. Through CWS partner, Rural Development Association, Chantha joined with CWS Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Training Resource Center trainers to learn the basics about WASH promotion, including working to develop the skills […]

Reflecting on Decades of Devotion to Cambodia’s Development

CWS Cambodia | July 29, 2017

By Mao Sophal As CWS prepares to end its engagement in Cambodia next year, I joined with my colleagues in Kampong Thom province to celebrate 24 years of partnering with families, communities and local government, as they work with us to improve their food security, health, education and access to clean water. CWS started working […]

I never expected this opportunity in my life … to have skills and … choices

CWS Cambodia | June 13, 2017

Choeun Seam and his wife Ra Aei are both thirty something, and their sons are 3- and 8-years old. Now the family lives in Rung village in central Cambodia but, before, when Choeun worked as a daily wage laborer they moved around to different communities to find work to earn a subsistence living. In addition […]

Promoting Better Lives in Rural Cambodia: Better Lives Indeed for Touch and His Family

CWS Cambodia | June 12, 2017

Touch Oeun, 41, lives with his wife Kun Pich, 37, and their 9-year-old son in Rung Chrey village in western Cambodia. Also staying with the family are the 3- and 7-year-old daughters of Touch’s niece because she has migrated to the Thai border for work. The two older children go to the local school. The […]

Progressing from Surviving to Thriving with CWS Support

CWS Cambodia | May 15, 2017

Mr. Khan Sokhem is 42 years old and lives with his wife, Khun Chnnim, who is 37, and their four daughters, in Choam Ksant village, northern Cambodia. Three of the girls, who are 15, 13 and 7 attend school, while their 2-year-old sister is at home. Before becoming involved with CWS, Sokhem and his family […]

One Boy’s ‘Internal Advocacy’ For His Family’s Wellbeing

CWS Cambodia | May 10, 2017

Chhaem Chhoeng, 11, lives with his parents, who are farmers, and his older brother Chhaem Poh, who is 14) in a small village in central Cambodia. Chhoeng attends primary school with around 200 other children and he recently joined his school’s WASH awareness raising activities where he was happy to lean about different water safety, […]

Confidence and Others’ Trust Put Tun In the Running

CWS Cambodia | April 10, 2017

Mrs. Loeng Tun, who is 32, lives with her husband Eam Ae, 37, who is a rice farmer and their 6-year-old daughter in Kampong Pon village in central Cambodia. Since 2014 Tun has joined in CWS community development activities, including a saving group, community health promotion activities and mushroom and vegetable growing; and she has […]

Doing Better, with CWS Support, the Second Time Around

CWS Cambodia | April 6, 2017

Loy Koemsat is 40 years old and lives with his wife, Yong Chem, and two daughters in Kouk Kduoch village in northwest Cambodia. Koemsat earns about $5 a day as a laborer and from selling insects, such crickets and grasshoppers, which he collects in the forest. Wanting to improve his family’s life, and to learn […]

Strength from Within: A Cambodian Village Story

CWS Cambodia | March 21, 2017

Home to just 315 people, Sok San is a tiny isolated community in northern Cambodia’s Battambang province that can only be reached from a small footpath from a main road through the area, which is mountainous and full of challenges. Malaria risk is high in Sok San, and there are uncounted numbers of landmines still […]

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