The northeastern part of Cambodia (along the Mekong River and in Cambodia’s Protected Forest).
CRDT’s mission is to sustainably improve food security, incomes, and living standards of subsistence rural communities in support of environmental conservation throughout Cambodia. We do this by providing sustainable livelihood development through community organization, business growth and environmental protection.
A Cambodia free from poverty and environmental degradation
Belonging to the first educated generation after the Khmer Rouge period, the 5 founders of the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) were disadvantaged rural children. Access to education was an uphill struggle. Hard work and extraordinary circumstances saw our founders meeting at university, and being in the minority coming from underprivileged backgrounds, they banded together as a team.
They developed a shared vision for the future of Cambodia – ‘one free from environmental degradation and poverty’ as they found that in Cambodia few rural people survive entirely on what they produce from their own land. They supplement their livelihoods by hunting, fishing or gathering forest products. But overfishing and deforestation are threatening both this way of living and ecosystems. The Mekong River Dolphin and many other critically endangered species are on the verge of extinction due to destructive natural resource usage.
In the highly‐naturally resource dependent Mekong subsistence farmer communities in the northeastern part of Cambodia , CRDT supports the conservation of dolphins, soft-shell turtles and giant stingrays by reducing the amount of time people spend fishing and hunting wildlife and helping them to be more productive in their alternative livelihoods in agriculture and income generation.
Since 2004, CRDT has delivered community and rural development to over 7,000 families in support of conservation of the biodiversity and critically endangered Mekong River Irrawaddy Dolphins in Kratie and Stung Treng, and the protection of tropical forest biodiversity in Mondulkiri.
The target communities of CRDT projects used to be able to live well by sustainably harvesting products from the forest. However, heavy deforestation has changed their way of life by reducing their access to forest resources. The communities were often employed by illegal wood traders to be tree loggers.
To reduce deforestation, we encouraged the community to consider alternative profitable occupations. We provided skills training to farmers. This training improved their technical capacities and gave them confidence to invest in their activities.
A supply chain study conducted by CRDT indicated that local demand for chickens was high and if good techniques are adopted by chicken raisers, the return on investment was also high. CRDT concluded, after discussing their findings with communities, that chicken raising would provide income and discourage continued deforestation by poor villagers.
Mr. Kok Kon, a model farmer in Kampong Damrey Village, Sambour district of Kratie Province, a buffer zone of the Prey Lang Forest Landscape volunteered for training last year and said, “Many community members had the bad habit of cutting trees. They resisted chicken raising because they didn’t have skills and some had lost money raising chickens before. After I became a model farmer and started making more money than they earned cutting trees, they were willing to learn how to raise chickens and supply local markets. I provided training to anyone who wanted it. Raising chickens is easier than cutting trees, and the loggers are always at risk of fines and arrest.” In the past nine months he has earned more than $500. With this income, he has bought a home solar-energy system, a television, and all the materials needed to expand his chicken enterprise.
PO Box 2539 Phnom Penh 3 CAMBODIA.
#696, Street 2, Trapeang Pring village