International Cooperation Cambodia

The rural poor and the church in Cambodia are struggling, but ICC have a vision and a plan.
They want to see a growing church reaching into poor communities, bringing life and hope wherever it goes.

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funding target £14980 of £20000

Why we're working there

Cambodia has a troubled past. The ripple effects from half a century of civil war have held the country back and hampered its growth. It’s now been 40 years since that civil war ended, and Cambodia is beginning to show signs of change. We can praise God that poverty has reduced from 50% to just under 20%, but the cities are racing forward and leaving the rural areas behind.

There are thousands of people living in material and spiritual poverty in the rural areas, but there is also a young and growing church that is facing tough challenges. Many of the church leaders are uneducated or lack theological training. Most have to support themselves by farming, a tough way of life that leaves them with little time for pastoral work. Many pastors are also desperately poor themselves, with over 1 in 10 saying they do not have enough food to eat.

Ke Pich - Pastor and Umoja Facilitator inspecting a garden in Tonle Batie

The church in Cambodia is ideally placed to bring hope to the most vulnerable in their communities, but it lacks resources and training. The need is so great that many pastors do not know where to start. ICC want to see these small churches plant a seed of hope in rural communities.

The aims of the project

ICC have been working with communities in Cambodia on an initiative often called ‘Umoja’. Umoja is a Swahili word meaning ‘togetherness’ or ‘unity’. In the Khmer language of Cambodia it is called ‘Chet Tai Muay’ which could be translated as ‘being of one mind'.

The whole idea behind this project is to help churches and communities become ‘one-minded'; to see themselves as a body, with each part being necessary to the other. At the first stage of Chet Tai Muay, local people and church leaders are trained as facilitators through a series of Bible studies, all about God’s heart for the poor.

They are also taught about the resources that God has already given them, and encouraged to value those, as well as valuing the people around them. The facilitators then go out into their communities and begin teaching others what they have learnt. The change in attitude leads to a complete transformation in those involved in Chet Tai Muay. They are encouraged to begin savings and credit groups, where each member gives a small amount every week into a pot, which can then be taken as a loan by group members so they can start a small business.

Mr Sophal sharing his story
Mr Sophal sharing his experiences of Chet Tai Muay

Mr. Sophal is one non-Christian who has become very involved in the project. He was very suspicious of the church and Chet Tai Muay at first. He thought the facilitator in his area was only there to try and persuade him to become a Christian, so he decided to just observe what the group were doing in his village. They had started a savings and credit group, which he found interesting.

He noticed that the church group valued and respected the local people. Their attitude inspired Mr. Sophal to get involved with the group. After a while he was trained to be a Local Coordinator. One and a half years have now passed and he can see the changes that have happened. Each member of the group is committed to saving money! He believes that soon even more people will join in.

Project impact

ICC want to reach 1695 people directly with Chet Tai Muay, including 600 children. Children in Cambodia are often extremely vulnerable to abuse and insecurity, but this project will make sure they stay safely with their families.

A child reading in Tonle Batie

They also want to grow the use of Chet Tai Muay across Cambodia, so they will be meeting with local and national networks, spreading the message of this initiative and telling stories of hope and transformation.

  • £1760 will pay for training for 357 church leaders, facilitators and local coordinators; equipping them to go back to their communities with the skills they need to bring change.
  • £350 will pay for revisions of the Chet Tai Muay manual, to make sure it speaks perfectly into the struggles of the Cambodian church.
  • £20 enables church leaders and Chet Tai Muay facilitators to gather together for prayer meetings, to share encouragements and pray for one another.

Join us

Overall, 8475 people will benefit from this project, so it will cost ICC just £10.90 per person to transform lives through the local church in Cambodia.

7787 Lives Changed
5 Connected Churches
23 People Praying