Volunteer to help protect the land rights of vulnerable communities

  • Volunteer in Cambodia to help the protect land rights of the poorest in society
  • Volunteers who are lawyers, with research and report writing skills required to make a difference
  • Lead, advise and support advocacy work on key human rights issues
  • Experience working and living in Cambodia over a longer term placement

Project summary

This is a Cambodian NGO that uses human rights lawyers to address issues of social justice. Since 2003 child protection policies have been established. Through a community-based development initiative food security has been improved, as has the health and well-being of over 5,000 poor and vulnerable Cambodians. In 2015 the focus is on community empowerment and legal awareness, with particular focus on securing land tenure and housing rights.

Cambodia is developing as a country and land within Phnom Penh and other towns is soaring in value. 44 shanty town communities have been identified that live on land with valuable development potential. Whole communities are in danger of being evicted with minimal or no compensation.

Through policy research, advocacy at the national and international level, coalition building and community organization, the project is raising the issue of forced evictions and land-grabbing in Cambodia, making the international community and the national authorities more responsive to this pervasive human rights problem.

The project needs career break volunteers with a background in law, advocacy, research and report writing.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

As a lawyer you would be a legal adviser to the community empowerment and legal awareness team. You would help local staff in the development, testing and creation of the community legal training manuals. These are published, distributed and implemented with partner communities and organizations. You would be asked to help with the training and education of vulnerable people within the communities and finally with the monitoring of the programme. The project needs funding and you would be asked to send reports to donors and assist and guide the programme manager with funding proposals.

Having identified 44 communities, volunteers are needed to carry out field research, desk research and fact finding missions into their needs. This includes education and health and the issues surrounding land rights and land-grabbing.

Writing skills are needed to produce documents for legal briefings, web articles, press statements and research or policy papers. All external communications are written in English and the Khmer staff need support with this. Some of this work would be used for PR purposes to raise awareness of the programme, update the website and produce publicity material about potential human right abuses.

Legal skills are not essential for this research role. We do however need volunteers who understand the spirit of human rights law and who have public relations, research and report writing skills.

How you can make a difference

The local staff have qualifications in law but are not qualified lawyers. By building their capacity we hope that they will take on more responsibilities and over time become more sustainable.

You would be addressing the needs of the most vulnerable communities who are having their land ‘stolen’ by corrupt government officials. As they fall deeper into the poverty trap, their human rights that include education and healthcare are increasingly denied.

What is distinctive about this project:

This is a rare opportunity for volunteers to apply their career skills in support of an NGO doing significant work in Cambodia. There are few volunteer opportunities that support these vulnerable communities and raise awareness of human rights issues.

Blue Tiger Features:

The project demands volunteers with the professional skills to augment the local resource. Volunteers need to recognise that they will be working in a very different cultural environment, however, that does not replicate the same levels of support or hierarchies that you may be accustomed to in your own professional workplace.


This project operates all year around, except for the local holiday festivals


English is widely spoken by the staff in the project although knowing a level of Khmer is always respectful and fun.

Experience required:

Volunteers should have those skills that are difficult to obtain locally; lawyers, people with good written English report writing skills and research skills are in particular demand.

Good to know:

This project requires a 3 month commitment from volunteers in order that you can make a real difference. Volunteers live in the Outreach International volunteer house, which is approximately 20 minutes away, where you can make new friends as you plan adventures around Cambodia.

Price table

12 weeks16 weeks20 weeks6 months

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, airport transfer, in-country support, welcome meal. 8 hours private tuition in Khmer.
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations. Cambodia fees DO NOT include meals or the local transport costs of travelling to your project. Volunteers either cook in the Outreach apartment, or eat in the numerous street stalls, cafes and restaurants. Budget from £5 a day for food. Budget from £5 per day for transport, depending on your preferred mode and destination.

Things to see and do

  • Angkor Wat
  • Toul Sleng Museum
  • Sihanoukville – Beach Resort
  • Street food
Ung Veasnanimol  (Nimol)

Country co-ordinator

Ung Veasnanimol (Nimol)

Nimol has enjoyed looking after volunteers at one of our orphanage projects in Phnom Penh since 2004. In 2013 we were delighted when she accepted the position of Cambodia coordinator for volunteers on all of our projects. She is a foster mother to 6 children, retains an administrative position at the orphanage and is also studying a Bachelors Degree in International Relations.

About Cambodia