Habitat for Humanity Cambodia began working in Battambang in May 2008, and its role is different to its role elsewhere. Here we are working in an urban area located about 2km south-east of Battambang’s city center. This government land was first Illegally settled in 1979. Further settlers moved in through the 1980s and 1990s and today there are some 350 resident families. About 40% of the population were born here, and another 40% have purchased their (non-legal) right to live here.
The project is a joint one involving all levels of government (National, Provincial, Municipal and Commune), the community and Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, with most funding provided by the World Bank. The aim of this innovative project is to provide each existing family with a legal plot of land on which it can relocate its existing temporary dwelling. Funds are available to build three community centers, some roads and drainage, to provide some housing loans and to help connect to to water and electricity supplies.
In addition, HFH Cambodia is providing or organizing skills training in simple construction, running community organizations (like savings groups) and livelihood development.
Some residents were able to start relocating their houses to new legal plots in March 2012 and HFH Cambodia has committed to stay in Battambang for the next five years and assist as houses are built on the over 600 new legal plots.
The closure of a Steung Meanchey dumpsite in 2009 left hundreds of families without homes and their source of income – as garbage pickers …
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