A Micro-finance intern in Cambodia explains the importance of building savings.

Micro-finance Internship in Cambodia

Empower entrepreneurs from disadvantaged areas to build their businesses and earn a sustainable income

At a glance

  • Support entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities to promote economic development on a local level.
  • Work with our local staff to provide business training and interest-free loans to those wishing to expand their small businesses.
  • Live and work in the vibrant capital of Cambodia and experience all that Phnom Penh has to offer.

Start Dates: 

June to September

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


16 or over

Is a Micro-finance internship in Cambodia right for me?

This project is a great way for you to use your time and skills to help people in need achieve financial independence. It’s also a memorable and different way to gain practical work experience, and hone your skills in an international setting.


You’ll work mainly with entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities in Phnom Penh. You’ll mentor them in their independent business ventures. You’ll gain insight into the specifics of micro-finance, on an internship that will greatly enhance your CV or future job applications.


To join this project need intermediate English skills, and should be comfortable speaking the language.


This internship is available year-round, from a minimum of one week. 

Microfinance volunteer from Australia takes note on beneficiary revenues

What will I do at my Micro-finance placement in Cambodia?

There is a wide range of different activities you can get involved in on this internship, which gives you a well-rounded experience. These tasks include:

  • Interview and screen potential loan beneficiaries
  • Monitor and support current entrepreneurs with their business
  • Provide training for the current Micro-finance beneficiaries

Your work will focus on the following main areas:

Interview and screen potential loan beneficiaries

An important part of this project is spreading the word among entrepreneurs who can benefit from a small loan. You’ll introduce the Projects Abroad Micro-finance programme to potential beneficiaries. The next step is then to conduct interviews with prospects who are interested in participating, and review their business plans. You may also have the chance to sit in on meetings to help decide candidates for the loans.

Monitor and support current entrepreneurs with their business

You’ll spend a lot of your time on this internship monitoring our current beneficiaries, and supporting them in their business ventures.This may take the form of:

  • Conducting home and business visits to track their progress
  • Helping them with business plans
  • Providing personalised advice for improvements

The majority of our beneficiaries are food and drinks sellers, tailors, or salon owners.

Provide training for the current Micro-finance beneficiaries

You’ll also help organise regular training workshops.  This will equip the local entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully manage their business. These can cover different topics that are relevant for small businesses, such as:

  • Basic accounting practices
  • Customer service
  • Marketing
  • Project management

Our project partners in Cambodia

We have partnered with the Khemara NGO for several of our projects in Cambodia, including this Micro-finance placement.

Khemara, established in 1991, works directly with vulnerable groups of people and tackles a range of issues, from gender discrimination to poverty. Their focus is on holistic community-based programmes that support families. Together on this project, we provide zero-interest loans to entrepreneurs so they can become independent, successful small business owners.

Where in Cambodia will I work?

Phnom Penh

You will be based in the bright and busy Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. You’ll spend your working hours in the offices of our partner organisation, which are situated in the northern part of the city.

In your free time, there is plenty to keep you occupied. The city is full of incredible architecture, from national buildings to sacred temples. Don’t forget to sample some of the affordable yet delicious local cuisine while you wind your way through the bustling streets.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Cambodia Arrival Procedures page.

A typical day on the Micro-finance internship in Cambodia

After a hearty breakfast in your shared apartment, you’ll travel to work by tuk-tuk. On your first day, a Projects Abroad staff member will accompany you to show you the way.

A typical day on this internship runs from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. You’ll have your evenings and weekends free to socialise, relax, or travel.

On a daily basis you will be involved in a wide variety of tasks. These may include meeting with beneficiaries, planning and conducting training sessions, and managing loan accounts. You’ll gain great insight into how small businesses operate in Cambodia, and the challenges that they face. We typically work with food and drink stalls, as well as tailors and salon owners.

A fun aspect of this project is that you get to travel around the city to visit the beneficiaries at their home or work, so you’re not stuck in an office all day.

Once you’re done for the day, it’s time to soak in sights and sounds of Phnom Penh. You can join us on one of our regular socials, where you’ll get to know your fellow interns and volunteers and local Projects Abroad staff. Or explore the city, visiting tourist attractions such as the National Museum, the Royal Palace, or one of the many temples and local markets.

Interns gain micro-finance work experience in Cambodia during a business meeting

What are the aims and impact of this project?

There are two main aims to this project: to help members of disadvantaged communities earn a sustainable income and to provide you with an educational, practical internship in the field of Micro-finance.

Many of the interns who join us are looking for work experience in a different cultural setting. We provide you with the opportunity to learn from local professionals, while sharing your skills and training with others.

There is also an altruistic dimension to this internship. Because of low incomes, many people are unable to set aside savings that can be used to grow their business. By providing them with zero-interest loans, these entrepreneurs can expand or diversify their product offerings or services.

The majority of our beneficiaries are food and drinks sellers, tailors, or salon owners. They all have small businesses or jobs with low incomes that are insufficient to support their families. With these loans, they can buy more stock and equipment to run all-day businesses. They can then grow their income and even start to set aside savings.

In 2017, 124 beneficiaries received loans to expand their business and improve their earnings. Join us in Cambodia today, and help equip local entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills they need to manage their businesses.

Projects Abroad Microfinance coordinator sits down to discuss with new beneficiaries on Silk Island

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers and interns during your stay in Phnom Penh. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and interns, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your free time together.

The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Explore Cambodia and you will be amazed by the juxtaposition of vibrant cities, achingly beautiful scenery, and famous historical landmarks. This country has a lot to offer during your free time.

The world-famous gathering of temples near Siem Reap is a must for all visitors, especially the magnificent Angkor Wat. Climbing over huge tree roots to temple doorways shrouded by vines is guaranteed to bring out the Indiana Jones in you!

However, Cambodia offers far more than ancient temples. You can go trekking in the jungles or try snorkelling and dolphin-spotting in the seas surrounding Sihanoukville. For a more relaxed afternoon, you can spend time on one of the beautiful beaches.

What’s more, with a network of international volunteers in Cambodia with you, you can decide if you want to spend your free time exploring independently or in a group. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay 1195 AED, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 01273 007 230 to see if we can offer a discount.

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