Vietnam has made remarkable strides in development in recent decades. But the fight isn’t over yet. Poverty remains a stark reality for over 12 million people in Vietnam. Another 10 million hover just above the poverty line.

Action on Poverty has worked in Vietnam since 1989, and opened a representative office in Hanoi in 1996. As the first Australian NGO to register in Vietnam, we have developed close relationships with the communities we work with, as well as with our partners in government and civil society.

In Vietnam, we focus on helping people to secure sustainable incomes, with an emphasis on women’s economic empowerment. We also work in the areas of climate change, public health, and governance. We work directly with local communities in open dialogue to understand their needs and how we can best help.

Follow the links below to find out more about Action on Poverty in Vietnam.


Climate Change


Public Health

Read stories from Vietnam


In Cambodia, the impact of civil war and genocide is still widespread, and many people survive on less than $2 a day. According to the Asian Development Bank, almost three million Cambodians are still classified as poor, and another 8.1 million as near-poor, representing 75 per cent of the total population.

Action on Poverty has worked in Cambodia for nearly 20 years. During this time, we have collaborated with local partners on projects in agriculture, health, water and sanitation, food security, education, disaster prevention, climate change adaptation, and governance.

Today, rural communities struggle to earn a reliable income, especially in the face of climate change and natural disaster, which means they have little to spend on health care or education. Many children drop out of school early to earn money for their families, further reducing their chances of escaping poverty. Meanwhile, women and girls are at high risk of encountering domestic violence, or falling victim to human trafficking or unsafe migration.

In Cambodia, we:

  • deliver climate change workshops that help vulnerable communities and local governments identify climate risks and develop response plans

  • empower women to start their own business and join savings groups

  • help children from remote villages access early childhood education and increase their chances of finishing school

  • protect women and children who have escaped abuse and violence, and help them to establish new lives.

Read stories from Cambodia


Like many other countries in southern and south-east Asia, economic development has helped lift millions of people in Bangladesh out of extreme poverty. According to the World Bank, Bangladesh’s poverty rate fell from 82 per cent in 1972 to 13.8 per cent in 2016. However, according to the World Bank, a quarter of the population still lives in poverty.

Accessing affordable health care is a priority for many communities still living at or below the poverty line. Poor populations tend to live in rural areas with limited access to clinics and hospitals.

Many children who are born with congenital conditions such as clubfoot do not receive treatment, which severely limits their ability to earn an income and can lead to a lifetime of disability and stigma. In Bangladesh, 3,500 children are born with clubfoot every year. Access to treatment for poor families, lack of awareness in the community, and lack of training for medical professionals are all barriers that prevent many from seeking treatment.

We work with Walk for Life in Bangladesh to:

  • offer free treatment for children with clubfoot using non-surgical techniques (Ponseti method)

  • educate doctors, nurses and physiotherapists

  • improve awareness of clubfoot and its treatment

  • reduce the stigma around clubfoot.

Read stories from Bangladesh


With its recent history of conflict and fight for independence, Timor-Leste still has many hurdles to overcome. According to UNICEF, over 58 per cent of children have stunted growth. Lack of access to water, low crop diversity, and limited agronomic knowledge are major drivers behind the high rates of malnutrition in Timor-Leste.

Timorese women face additional challenges, with the Asia Foundation reporting that almost 60 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have experienced domestic violence or abuse.

We support some of the most vulnerable groups in the population – women, children, and others in need of psycho-social support. With our local partners, we:

  • provide accommodation, counselling and other vital services for women and children who have survived domestic abuse

  • help abuse survivors to becoming financially independent by offering training in book-keeping and small business, and teaching livelihoods such as raising livestock, growing crops, and running kiosks

  • counsel male and female prisoners and providing psycho-social support

  • run literacy, English, and recreational classes for prisoners, and holding sewing classes for female prisoners so they have job skills when they are released

  • teach farmers agriculture skills so they can grow and sell more produce

  • upgrade and repair irrigation systems and water points to ensure water for both farming and household use.

Read stories from Timor-Leste

Stories from the field

Read stories from Asia