Located in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is bordered by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. To the south, the 443 kilometers of coastal line overlook the Gulf of Thailand. About 75% of the country is located on the Tonlé Sap, the combined lake and river system situated in the heart of Cambodia and supplied by the massive Mekong River, main watercourse of the country.
In 1993, Cambodia ended its 20-year civil war; the country began its reconstruction and reorganization. Twenty years later, the nation has succeeded in significantly reducing the percentage of people living below the poverty line, from 50% in 1992 to 20% today. Economically, it has had one of the best records among developing countries. 65% of the Cambodian population is under 30 years of age, representing a strength for the future. However many economic sectors remail informal and infrastructure is enevenly developed. Access to energy is neither encouraged nor regulated by the authorities.
Today, over 71% of Cambodia’s energy mix still comes from the biomass: mainly wood, charcoal and agricultural waste. 80% of Cambodian families live in rural areas and use wood fuel (wood and charcoal) for daily cooking (easily accessible and/or cheaper). The need of biomass energy is growing and needs regulation to maintain sustainability
GERES in Cambodia
Strengthening sustainable access to biomass energy
In Cambodia since 1994, GERES has focused on facilitating access to sustainable biomass energy. While massive deforestation is striking in the area, the challenge is to maintain enough forest resources to supply the population. The biomass energy program was designed to impact all along the value chain, from supply to demand:
Sustainable biomass sourcing: in forested areas, GERES works with communities to implement sustainable management plans and train them on proper harvesting practices. In farming areas, the teams provide agroforestry trainings and supports independent tree nurseries.
Efficient charcoal: in Cambodia, charcoal production is an informal sector and participates to forest degradation. Working with the traditional charcoal producers, GERES introduces new production techniques, to produce better quality fuel, using less firewood and with a business model allowing the charcoal producers to improve their livelihood.
Improved cookstoves: to reduce the energy needs and costs for households, GERES develops improved cooking devices, following the traditional cooking practices but less fuel consuming. To produce and disseminate the products, GERES empowers the traditional pottery producers & distributors.
Support micro-entrepreneurs and manufacturing sector: historically focused on domestic cooking and community-level energy solutions, GERES is tailoring its interventions to the region’s rapid economic growth. Indeed, the rapid industrialization process comes with rising productive energy needs. GERES therefore develop efficient and upscaling solutions for industries and micro-entrepreneurs.
Contact in Cambodia