Photo: WFP/Arete/Cesar Lopez

Cambodia

10%

of Cambodian children are severely hungry

8th

most vulnerable country to natural disasters

79%

of the population lives in rural areas

The Situation

Cambodia has achieved sustainable economic growth over the last two decades, and the poverty rate has decreased from 47.8% in 2007 to 13.5% in 2014. The government is committed to achieving upper middle-income status by 2030. However, a significant portion of the population remains “near poor” as they are still at high risk of falling back into poverty at the slightest shock.

Undernutrition is estimated to cost Cambodia approximately 1.7% of its annual GDP and is a major contributor to mortality and decreased health and productivity. 32% of children under 5 years of age are stunted (meaning they are short for their age), while 10% suffer from severe hunger. This is due to a combination of factors: the food children are eating is not enough food and it does not contain the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Dietary deficiencies in zinc, iodine and B-vitamins also widely affect women of reproductive age and children.

Cambodia is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, with regular monsoon flooding in the Mekong and Tonle Sap basin and localised droughts in the plains. Limited access for the poor to education and health services and low levels of investment in public infrastructure further perpetuate hunger and undernutrition.

WFP's Work

Since 1979, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has supported Cambodian families to meet their emergency needs and enhance the long-term food and nutrition security of households and communities.

WFP’s work is focused on ensuring that Cambodian families have access to nutritious, safe and diverse foods, with a shift away from direct program implementation and towards strengthening national capacities to improve food security, and effectively mitigate and respond to environmental shocks.

  • School Meals: WFP works with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the National Social Protection Council to promote access to quality education, nutritious diets and social assistance for schoolchildren. The school feeding program will transition to a nationally owned school meals model that sources ingredients from local farmers, incorporates food quality and safety, encourages community ownership and supports local economies.
  • Sustainable Food Systems: WFP works closely with the government to develop and implement climate-smart plans that will boost communities’ resilience to climate shocks.
  • Emergency Response: WFP is working closely with partners to improve the country’s preparedness for extreme weather events and provides emergency assistance to households affected by natural disasters.
  • Supply Chain Services: WFP works with partners to identify supply chain gaps and develop strategies for filling these. WFP maintains warehouse spaces, services and transport capacities to be ready for any emergency response.