The Humanitarian

Research Project

In the Cambodia Project we aim to show that small businesses can be a force for good in their communities, beyond just offering a product and service. 

Our Research Topic

Gender Equality

To best help the Cambodian people, we’ve closely evaluated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and determined that SDG Goal #5, Gender Equality, has not been focused on in Cambodia as much as others and has the most potential to lift the wonderful people of Cambodia.

Specifically, to address the problem of domestic violence that plagues much of Cambodia we aim to help husbands and wives appreciate, love, and respect each other more fully. We will do this with the help of small businesses, where they will be anti-abuse advocates, communicate respect in marriage to their patrons, and run workshops for husbands and wives to attend.


Workshop 1 - The Clock

Couples take turns discussing their daily tasks, and are then taught to value the contributions of each other, increasing respect in their marriage.

Workshop 2 - The Meal

A dramatization of a meal is shown, where the eldest males take most of the food and leaves little for the others. Respect in dining time is encouraged.

Workshop 3 - Person vs Thing

A reciprocal role exchange occurs between couples, where each partner takes turns bossing a doll around, where they make the doll feel like a “thing.”

Making it all work

What we’ve already completed

Isaac St.Clair, our first Research Assistant who now works for the State Department, spent time in Cambodia training some of our partners on the ground there (Cambodia Jobs Foundation) on how to do in-depth qualitative interviews with businesses. They then went out and completed around 120 in-depth business interviews and 140 face to face surveys with consumers. The purpose? To increase our understanding of the norms that currently exist around domestic abuse and how we can go about working through those problems.

Summer 2023

We read. A lot. And talked. A lot.

There is so much great field work that has already been done in emerging markets, and we didn’t want to unnecessarily re-invent the wheel. So, we spent countless hours reading expertise loaded books, such as The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. We also talked with NGOs and philanthropies in Cambodia, such as the Women’s Crisis Center. Finally, to help us organize our thoughts and disseminate what we’ve been learning, we started a podcast, called Inside The Cambodia Project.

Fall 2023

All of our reading, talking and learning led to the planning stage. We focused on building robust humanitarian research, such as selection of businesses and communities to participate in this humanitarian research project. We thought through problems that would emerge, such as how to get businesses to track revenue. We designed interventions SMBs will participate in to decrease domestic violence. Ben Beck also traveled to Cambodia to meet with partners, do some trainings, and establish a program for revenue accountability.

Spring 2024

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