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Economic Empowerment Program

Although Cambodia’s economy is growing rapidly, the general population remains one of the poorest in Southeast Asia. UNDP estimates that 46% of Cambodians live in multi-dimensional poverty. Many households are in debt to private moneylenders who charge high rates of interest that some are unable to repay. Seeking to expand low incomes from seasonal agriculture, it is common for households to pursue multiple sources of revenue, and household members may migrate to other areas in search of work. Generally, women face many challenges including lack of access to education, limited economic opportunities and lack of social support and protection. Barriers to economic growth are especially high for women, who often have low literacy and lack of skills, and cultural attitudes that have prevented them from realizing their full potential. Currently, women have lower participation in decision making from the grassroots to high ranking levels. Pact WORTH is a global women’s empowerment program that has been implemented in 12 countries since 1998 to address the issue of poverty: Cambodia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, DRC, Madagascar, Lesotho, Swaziland, Thailand, Viet Nam, Myanmar and Nepal. For more than 9 years, Pact Cambodia’s Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) has worked in a number of provinces in Cambodia to address poverty and low civic engagement by empowering poor Cambodian women and members of marginalized groups through village-based savings groups, non-formal education, micro-enterprise development and networking in order to help them to achieve literacy and improved income, and to evolve as social leaders.
Through WORTH, Pact trains and coaches women’s groups to manage funds and decisions with high levels of transparency and accountability. Members benefit from access to savings, loan funds and dividends, as well as literacy and numeracy skills, and development of women’s leadership.

Pact’s WORTH economic empowerment model is a platform that can be integrated and mainstreamed with other development programs addressing the issues of women’s economic empowerment, health, good governance, human trafficking and climate change adaptation and resilience. For example, over the past 9 years, Pact has used the WORTH model for different programs such as prevention of human trafficking of Cambodian women, to building security through computing in Cambodia, to improving the livelihoods and health condition of underprivileged fishing communities and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and to increasing women’s political participation and civic engagement by improving their livelihoods. Financial support for these programs has come from a range of donors including the Political and Economic Affairs Office of the United States of America, IOM, Microsoft, USAID and Chevron.

The Business & Market Empowerment training curriculum has helped the most motivated group participants make the best decisions to grow their businesses, while the groups provide a useful structure for coaching participants and encouraging them to learn from each other.

Business & Market Empowerment Brochure
WORTH in Cambodia Brochure

Recent success stories:

Pact appreciates the support of the current donor to our Economic Empowerment projects:

Address: Phnom Penh Centre Building A 3rd floor, Cnr. Sihanouk & Sothearos Blvd or PO Box 149, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone: (855)-23-217-855  Fax: (855)-23-217-856
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