An Australian university-run project has seen teams of young engineers design and build houses for rural Cambodian communities.

Students in UNSW's Sustainable Energy for Developing Countries course are working with professional engineers and architects to build houses for just $2,000.

While that amount might barely cover a shipping container or family tent in Australia, in Cambodia it is being used to create homes that can withstand monsoon conditions, using corrugated iron instead of bamboo and palm-leaf roofing, creating shading and featuring a well-ventilated interior.

The design and labour comes courtesy of the students, who are backed by professionals from engineering consultancy firm Cundall, and the non-profit RAW Impact, a sustainable project charity.

The Sustainable Energy for Developing Countries course brings both postgraduate and undergraduate students together from the schools of engineering, renewable energy, architecture, and built environment studies.

The non-profit RAW Impact groups is seeking to help families lift themselves out of poverty through positive work, including building sustainable housing in the Collaborative Future Cambodia - Build Against the Traffick campaign.

The campaign is aimed at fighting poverty as a leading cause of human trafficking in Cambodia, especially in remote areas.

A spokesperson for global engineering giant Cundall said projects such as this can restore some humanity to faceless corporations.

“In business, we often get trained to leave our morals at the door,” Cundall spokesperson Alistair Coulstock told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Trips like this help us to take into account other people's perspectives, and not make decisions purely on a financial basis. It's essential for people to understand how the other 99 per cent live.”