Seeding the Ground: Promoting Community Empowerment in Cambodia


The history of donor-driven development and governance reform in Cambodia since the early 1990s can only be described as a disappointment, tempered, perhaps, by a few modest successes. In contrast, community mobilization efforts in Cambodia have been vibrant and often effective in changing realities on the ground.

This report, prepared between 2013 and 2015 by the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, seeks to highlight best practices that the international community should adopt in supporting these community empowerment efforts. Based on seven case studies of community mobilization efforts in Cambodia, the report identifies several factors that allow communities to empower themselves, as well as four core principles that donors should follow if they wish to support communities mobilizing in defense of their human rights and human dignity.

Download the White Paper

On June 1, 2015, the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic released this “white paper.” The final draft of the report will be published on this same website in late June, after a period of public commentary has passed. We encourage the readers of the white paper to send us comments and reactions in the (Comments tab) of this website. We will close commentary on June 20, 2015.

Download the white paper here.

Comments on the White Paper

Please leave us your feedback about the white paper here. While we always appreciate your feedback, we will endeavor to take any comments we receive prior to June 20, 2015 into account when producing a final draft of this report. Thank you!

Student Work

The Stanford IHRCRC first took up this project during the winter of 2013. A team of eleven students worked on the project, under direct supervision of IHRCRC Clinical Staff Attorneys and Faculty. Students and Faculty traveled to Cambodia on four separate occasions to meet over 150 community activists, NGO workers, donor representatives, analysts, diplomatic staff, and others. Students also helped conduct extensive secondary source research on the issues discussed in this report.