CRS in Cambodia
Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to assist the poor and disadvantaged. From 1973 to 1975, CRS provided greatly needed assistance in health and nutrition to Cambodians struggling through the civil war. After the signing of the Paris Peace Accords In 1991, stability and peace was brought back to Cambodia and CRS reopened its offices in the country.
Since then, CRS has been a key actor working with national and sub-national government actors, the private sector, and local NGOs, to address critical challenges in Cambodia focusing specifically on areas where it can provide added value through its programming and operations, and technical expertise in the sectors of health and education. CRS supports government actors to strengthen systems and provide strong and inclusive public services to local communities, particularly to marginalized and vulnerable groups, and actively learns with government and partners to promote sustainable development. In the 2022 fiscal year, CRS’ interventions in Cambodia directly benefited almost 350,000 people and indirectly supported almost 1.5 million people in the country while also reaching over 8 million people online in Cambodia.
The CRS Cambodia office is in Phnom Penh. In addition to supporting country-level programming, CRS Cambodia serves as the hub for Southeast Asia’s programming, which includes Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
KEY PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
Cambodia Tuberculosis Project
Collaborating with the Government for Improved Testing and Treatment
Seeking TB testing, diagnosis and treatment services within their community contributes to timely treatment and efforts in reducing TB transmission.
Photo by Daneth Mao/CRS
CRS recently implements the Tuberculosis (TB) Project, supported by the Global Fund (2021-2023), which works to scale-up the Community-based Directly Observed Therapy (C-DOTS) Plus model to 10 provinces in Cambodia. The project scope covered 30 Operational Districts (OD), 26 Referral Hospitals (RH), 476 Health Centers (HC), 5,369 villages, and a total population of over 5,000,000 people.
Additionally, CRS collaborates with 75 Private Providers (PPs) in six ODs within three provinces. Despite challenges such as COVID-19 and flooding, CRS has been able to exceed its quarterly targets of identifying and treating TB cases and is also recognized and appreciated by the Natioal TB program (CENAT) as a partner who contributes significantly to expanding TB services in remote areas. With a strong commitment to support the national TB program in TB elimination by 2030, CRS continues to implement proven approaches within the COVID-19 context to fight TB in 30 ODs.
Regional Artemisinin Initiative 3 Elimination (RAI3E) Project
Collaborating with the Government to Accelerate Malaria Elimination
A village malaria worker gives preventive medicine to a forest worker as part of Targeted Drug Administration (TDA) activity in Beng Village.
Photo by Daneth Mao/CRS
The RAI3E project (2021-2023) is implemented in four provinces, namely Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear. Through this project, CRS works in close collaboration with the Cambodia National Malaria Control Programme (CNM), sub-national health structures and community networks, to implement strategic and targeted malaria activities including the Last Mile Initiative; to maximize malaria case detection and treatment among the most hard-to-reach populations. This action contributes to accelerate malaria Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) elimination by 2023 and to push for malaria elimination in Cambodia by 2025.
The project covers a population of nearly 900,000 (2021) and works through the four provincial health departments (PHDs), five ODs, four Provincial Hospitals (PHs), three RHs, 83 HCs, and 774 Village Malaria Workers/Mobile Malaria Workers (VMWs/MMWs).
The RAI3E project aims to support CNM in achieving elimination of P. vivax (Pv) malaria by 2025 and the elimination of drug resistant P. falciparum (Pf) malaria by 2023. CRS uses an evidence-based approach to strategize support needed, works closely with the PHD/OD team and HC staff to plan, implement, and track the project activities based on the RAI3E Workplan and Performance Framework (PF), coordinates with CNM on technical guidance and support, and collaborates with partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Malaria Consortium (MC).
Cambodia HIV Project
Moving to elimination of new HIV infections and end AIDS as a public health threat by 2025
A community action worker supported by CRS and Kandek Health Center staff conducts an in-home HIV follow up treatment to make sure the patient takes his medicine as prescribed and to help remove barriers that stop him from his treatment.
Photo by Daneth Mao/CRS
CRS has supported people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Cambodia for over 24 years, with a comprehensive approach that helps individuals and communities mitigate the effects of HIV. In support of Cambodia’s national strategy to achieve the 95-95-95 targets, CRS works with the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS), sub-national health structures, local communities, local NGO partners, and Directorate General of Prisons (GDP)/Ministry of Interior to identify people suspected of having HIV and to provide access to testing, treatment, and psychosocial support.
Additionally, CRS strengthens the national health system and competency of local NGO partners through capacity building and organizational support. The project works in all 24 provinces and Phnom Penh, in collaboration with sub-national health structures and four local organizations to support 69 out of 71 Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) sites, 28 closed settings, and 200 buddy systems to serve almost 60,000 PLHIV.
Cambodia Resilient Sustainable System for Health Project
Strengthening health system and capacity of health workers at different levels
Kang Bunkea is a 75-year-old chief of the Roloksor Commune and chief of the Health Center Management Committee in Pursat Province. She provides collaboration to the health center and CRS staff and advocates for funding for health activities.
Photo by Linna Khorn/CRS
Cambodia made significant strides in improving its health status over the past decade, largely due to the efforts of a network of village-level volunteers known as Village Health Support Groups (VHSG) and increasing local governmental resources (commune budget) for infrastructure and social services at the community level. However, resource shortages for health activities resulted in a lack of sustainable support for community level health initiatives.
CRS’ Resilient Sustainable System for Health (RSSH) project, funded by the Global Fund, is implemented in 9 provinces across Cambodia. The project covers a population of over 5,000,000 (2022) people, with 9 PHDs, 17 ODs, 206 HCs, 314 communes/Sangkats, 2,014 villages, and 13 ART sites. The project enhances the capacity of local authorities to plan, oversee and implement community health approaches, services, and activities, contributing to building a resilient, efficient health system capable of delivering preventative and curative HIV, TB and Malaria services in a sustainable manner.
Cambodia COVID-19 Response Project
Strengthening government response to COVID-19
In response to COVID-19, CRS supports response mechanisms through integrating COVID-19 topics, including prevention, vaccine, treatment and education.
Photo by Linna Khorn/CRS
The COVID-19 outbreak was a worldwide health crisis, classified as a pandemic by the WHO on 11 March 2020. The first case in Cambodia was confirmed on 27 January 2020. According to Global Health Security Index’s report in 2019, Cambodia ranked 9th out of 11 Southeast Asian countries in preparedness for an infectious disease outbreak.
CRS has extensive experience in infectious disease interventions and health system strengthening in Cambodia and globally. Through existing national health programming in Cambodia, CRS has been able to respond quickly to COVID-19, drawing on lessons learned through delivering direct support to health facilities and local communities, as well as supporting government health systems. Under the C-19 RM project funded by the Global Fund, CRS works closely with the National Center for Health Promotion to build capacity of sub-national government partners and the community network to operate community feedback and response systems. This effectively works to increase timely access to COVID-19 related information, precaution, treatment, and vaccination among targeted populations.
Moreover, CRS conducted social behavior change communication (SBCC) through Facebook campaigns in order to promote COVID-19 vaccinations, from July to November 2021 and July to November 2022. As a result of this action, we achieved exceptional results in terms of reach numbers, impressions, engagement, number of link-clicks, and sharing of posts. One of the most important points covered by the campaigns indicated a remarkable change in knowledge of the target audience, based on the Brand Lift Study (BLS).
Inclusive Education Program in Cambodia
Supporting learning and development for all children
Sotheary, a student in Angseymar Primary School in Takeo Province, received health support from CRS in 2019. She gets better grades and confidently rides her bicycle to school.
Photo by Daneth Mao/CRS
CRS has been supporting the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) to promote inclusive education at primary schools since 2010 and early childhood education since 2016. For over a decade, CRS works closely with the Special Education Department (SED) and Early Childhood Education Department (ECED), MoEYS to develop significant national inclusive education resources for teachers and caregivers of children with a range of disabilities, to facilitate play-based learning in school and at home. Those include a manual, suite of 35 videos (20 for teachers, and 15 for caregivers) and instructional flipbooks which were endorsed by the MoEYS and the videos were hosted on the MoEYS YouTube channel.
To continue promoting equal learning opportunities for children, especially children with disabilities, CRS currently implements two projects which are the Healthy Kids Project (2019 – 2024) and the Strengthening and Scaling Parents-Led Learning Support for Children with Disabilities Project (October 2021 – September 2022). These projects are implemented in Takeo and Kampot Provinces, working closely with the Provincial Office of Education (POE), District Office of Education (DOE), school management committees and teachers of seventeen target schools covering almost 9,000 students, and over 200 families of children with disabilities.
In 2023, CRS works with SED and ECED to roll-out the Toys and Games Prototypes manual and videos at a national level. This involves an orientation training led by CRS, SED and ECED to focal points from all POEs and support to POEs, to develop plans to cascade the materials to schools. Additionally, CRS and SED work with four POEs (Kratie, Kampong Thom, Kampong Speu and Prey Veng) to directly support in cascading the materials and training through POE structures, to the schools. CRS will conduct an assessment across the four provinces to learn what works best, is most efficient, and least expensive in cascading the materials and practice to the classroom. The plan will be to replicate this in 2024 in more provinces around Cambodia. CRS will further look for opportunities to measure impact of the play-based materials on learning outcomes.
|Malaria Prevention||Community Health||Resource Mobilization|
|Education||HIV Healthcare||TB Health Services|
People served: 6,053,961
Size: 69,900 sq mi; about the size of Missouri
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Country News and Stories
December 15, 2021
COVID-19 Challenges Cambodia School System
Children with disabilities faced barriers to education as virtual learning channels became the new way to deliver lessons.
February 25, 2021
CRS Capacity Overview Disability Inclusion
People with disabilities account for 15 percent of the world’s population — over a billion people. Many face social, economic and cultural barriers that limit their access to full and effective participation in society.
November 6, 2019
Cambodian Minister of Education Endorses Disability Screening Tool and Toys and Games Manual for Nationwide Use
Games can be adapated for children with difficulties seeing, hearing, fine and gross motor skills and more.