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Speeches Shim

Cambodian refugees receive USAID-provided food assistance in the early 1990s.
USAID provided food and other assistance to Cambodian refugees living along the Thai border prior to their repatriation in the early 1990s.

The current USAID program in Cambodia traces its roots to humanitarian assistance and road and bridge building activities in the 1960s.  U.S. assistance to Cambodia accelerated sharply after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1991, which, in turn, led to the re-opening of the USAID mission in 1992. With the establishment of a full-scale mission, USAID shifted to a more strategic, long-term approach to reflect the development needs of Cambodia. While the initial focus was on meeting basic human needs, USAID also developed programs to support the UN-sponsored move to establish a freely elected government. Improving health and education services also emerged as key concerns. From the outset, USAID funding was delivered primarily through contracts and grants to private voluntary organizations or international organizations, a pattern that continues to this day. In order to ensure sustainability, USAID increasingly partnered with Cambodian-run organizations, many of which are leading local NGOs in the country today.

USAID’s current program reaches all 24 provinces in Cambodia, although select provinces are the focus of different projects. The mission has a staff of 77, two-thirds of whom are Cambodian. USAID’s current health programs promote improved services in areas such as HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, and maternal and child health and nutrition. We also support Cambodia’s efforts to increase food security and to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. We promote human rights and support civil society, especially youth, in finding ways to engage proactively in their future. Our education activities focus on improving the quality, relevance and accessibility of basic education. USAID continues to work to reduce trafficking in persons through prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships with Cambodian organizations and officials.