Australian Embassy

Development cooperation

Development cooperation 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australian Aid administers Australia’s overseas aid program. The objective of the aid program is to assist developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia’s national interest.

The Cambodia country program focuses on agriculture, health, law and justice, and infrastructure.  

On 17 September the Governments of Cambodia and Australia held the 10th biennial consultations on Australia’s development cooperation program to Cambodia. The consultations were hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia at the Palais du Gouvernement in Phnom Penh. The official summary of discussion is available here.

Publications and reports can be found here.

Cambodian Agriculture in Transition: Opportunities and Risks

As part of the Cambodia Smallholder Agriculture and Social Protection Program, the Australian Government supported the World Bank to undertake a series of studies that culminated in the report, Cambodian Agriculture in Transition: Opportunities and Risks.

The report found that, despite a period of significant structural transformation, growth in the agricultural sector over the last decade was high. Much of this growth can be described as ‘pro-poor’, with the poverty headcount dropping from 50 per cent to 21 per cent over only five years. Yields have increased for most crops, and crop diversification has started in earnest. Competitive farm gate prices are seen as contributing to the increases in agricultural exports.

Nevertheless, much of this growth has been driven by farmland expansion rather than improvements in productivity. While many people technically escaped poverty, they have only just escaped, and remain vulnerable to economic shocks; this is particularly true for those on small farms.

With overall declining global food prices and diminishing land frontiers, Cambodian agricultural growth and overall economic growth are at risk of decline. What has worked in the past cannot continue to provide high returns. Four sets of policy settings are recommended: maintaining private-sector-friendly policies; strengthening environmental sustainability; improving the quality of, and allocations to, agricultural public programs; and assisting the development of the agribusiness and agroprocessing industry.

To address these issues, Australia has had a long history of providing aid to support agricultural development in Cambodia. Currently, support is primarily provided through the Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain program (CAVAC), a six-year (2010 2015) program valued at nearly AU$60 million. CAVAC’s objective is, ‘accelerated growth in the value of agricultural production and smallholder income in the rice based farming systems of targeted provinces’. CAVAC is the first ‘market development’ program funded by the Australian aid program, an approach that is quite different to what was previously used in Cambodia. This approach has proven successful. By the time it concludes, CAVAC is likely to have helped improve the productivity of over 264,000 poor farming households. A six-year second phase of support over 2016-2021 is currently under development.

Australian Scholarships

Australia’s scholarship programs aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and our neighbours. Recipients return home with new ideas and knowledge, and the ability to make a significant contribution to their home countries as leaders in their field.

Cambodians are eligible to apply for Australia Awards Scholarships and Endeavour Scholarships.

Australia Awards Scholarships

Australia Awards Scholarships are long term development awards administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They aim to contribute to the long term development needs of Australia's partner countries in line with bilateral and regional agreements.

The Awards provide opportunities for people from developing countries to undertake full time postgraduate study at participating Australian universities.

The Awards also demonstrate Australia's commitment to providing education opportunities to improve living standards and stimulate economic growth in developing countries. In 2013, the Australian Government invested over $346 million in Australia Awards, enabling approximately 5000 recipients from more than 145 countries to undertake study, research and professional development.

Applications for Australia Awards Scholarships for the 2016 intake will open on 1 February and close on 30 April 2015. Details on how to apply are available here

Endeavour Scholarships

Endeavour Scholarships are internationally competitive, merit-based scholarships administered by the Department of Education. They are open to citizens of Cambodia to undertake study, research and professional development programs in Australia.

Applications for Endeavour Scholarships for the 2016 intake will open in April 2015. Details are available here.

Australia Awards Scholarship Alumni

Helping girls achieve their potential  

So Phina completed a Masters of Social Work at RMIT University in 2012 and is now a researcher at the Cambodian Development Research Institute. You can read her story here.

Planning for Cambodia’s higher education

Mak Ngoy completed a Masters of Education Administration at the University of New England in 1997. He is now the Director of General Higher Education Department at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. You can read his story here 

Improving rural health services

Chreay Pom completed a Masters of Public Administration in 2009 and returned to the Ministry of Rural Development in Phnom Penh. He is now the Director of the Rural Health Care Department in that Ministry. You can read his story here 

Australia Awards supporting mental health

Chhim Sotheara completed a PhD in Psychological Medicine at Monash University in 2014 and a Masters of Psychological Medicine at the University of New South Wales in 2000. He is now the Executive Director of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation of Cambodia. You can read his story here.


Assisting Cambodia’s young readers

Tum Sisopheareth completed a Masters of Education at Flinders University in 2008. She is now the Provincial Manager for “Room to Read”, an international NGO working on improving literacy of girls and boys in Cambodia, and a part-time lecturer at the Regional Teacher Training Centre in Kampong Cham. You can read her story here.

We encourage all Cambodians who have studied in Australia to join the Australian Alumni Association of Cambodia (AAAC).

The Human Rights Grants Scheme 2012-14

The Human Rights Grants Scheme 2012–2014 round is now closed.

The Human Rights Grants Scheme provides short-term funding to support non-government organisations and human rights institutions to implement projects that help to enhance human rights.

Grants are awarded to projects that achieve one or more of the following objectives:

     •    prevent or end gross human rights violations
     •    promote positive change in policies or actions of government or relevant non-state actors in the area of human rights
     •    monitor, seek redress for and/or report on human rights violations, including supporting victims of human rights abuses 
     •    educate and/or train human rights victims, workers or defenders
     •    promote observance and implementation of international human rights standards
     •    promote and strengthen national or regional human rights institutions or mechanisms.

Interested organisations are encouraged to monitor this website for important dates in future rounds. In 2012, the Human Rights Grants Scheme opened for expressions of interest on 17 July 2012 and closed on 17 August 2012.

The Community Development Fund (CDF)

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australian Aid section administers the Community Development Fund (CDF) from its Phnom Penh office. CDF targets the most vulnerable communities, focusing on activities that reduce poverty through direct, tangible and sustainable development, with maximum beneficiaries. Submissions will only be considered in the sectors of Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Disability, Law and Justice, Governance, and Gender mainstreaming.

The Direct Aid Program (DAP)

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra allocates funding annually to the Australian Embassies to support the Direct Aid Program (DAP). The purpose of the DAP is to assist developing countries to reduce poverty and assist in sustainable development.

DAP projects should be aimed primarily at achieving practical and tangible outcomes, contributing to poverty alleviation, including activities related to community health, disabilities, schools/education, small-scale infrastructure, rural development, youth, gender equity, human rights, the environment and ad hoc humanitarian relief.

Any international or local non-government organisation or institution legally registered in Cambodia is welcome to apply. Organisations applying for funding for the first time should provide proof of their recognition by the Cambodian authorities.

In 2015, the DAP opened for expressions of interest on 12 August 2015 and closed on 20 August 2015.

Interested organisations are encouraged to monitor this website or our Twitter page @AusEmbPP for important dates in future rounds.