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Greenway Cambodia

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS, TRAVEL AND WORK IN CAMBODIA

Mangrove Protection

Kom Pot Community-Based Mangrove Conservation Project

pic_kampotKom Pot (the capital of the province) offers an abundance of natural attractions and is slowly emerging as a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists.

The French architectural legacy is still very prevalent in many parts of this sleepy town, and is often viewed as a place which truly reflects rural Cambodia. With its slow paced, relaxed but vibrant environment, intertwined with it’s beautiful landscape, it offers an excellent base for our mangrove conservation project.

Mangroves are trees and shrubs which grow in tidal, coastal swamps, also in estuaries and marine shorelines in tropical regions. Whilst there are a number of different species. all mangroves have stilt like roots and stems which forms a massive root system of dense thickets. This protects coastal areas from erosion, dissipating wave energy which is important during storms and a Tsunami.

pic_kampot_1This intricate mesh of roots also forms a unique ecosystem, and is important to the local community commercially as a sustainable resource for fish, oysters, shrimps and crabs, to name a few.

Unfortunately, mangrove forests are under threat worldwide and are disappearing at an alarming rate, which has worrying consequences both ecologically and to the local community. This is especially true in the sleepy, rural province of Kom Pot, situated in the south-east of the country, where we have decided to concentrate our work.

In recent years, numerous mangrove sites have been removed from the river banks as many locals favour salt plantations, which offer greater profits short term. The problem is that they are difficult to sustain long term, and when the farmers livelihood is threatened he will seek other means to support his family. This, and other factors, has contributed to a severe increase in illegal fishing within the province.

pic_kampot_3This specially designed project combines the two most important factors necessary, for the development and long term prosperity, of this under-developed region.

Firstly, the project focuses on better management of the mangrove plantations, a vital ingredient for not only conservation, but also the eco-system of today and the welfare of future generations.

Secondly, your own efforts will directly contribute towards the sustained development of the local community. This will be in the form of teaching English as well as several other community based projects.

Many of our volunteers have said that this is a truly unforgettable and life-changing experience, obtained through hard work and an authentic taste of Cambodian culture. This is "real Cambodia," very far from the tourist hot spots, and unlike the average tourist you can make a dramatic, positive difference to the lives of ordinary people.

pic_kampot_2But not only will they benefit by meeting you, there are many things you can learn from them. For instance, you will also learn old fashioned fishing techniques passed down through generations and much, much more.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this project is to conserve mangrove plantations. The objective is to reverse the trend, which has seen a rapid decrease during recent years. This can realistically only be achieved through education of younger generations, combined with continual physical work of planting new mangroves. 
 
What we expect
  • Basic conversational English 
  • A good level of physical fitness 
  • Enthusiasm and passion to make a change. 
  • A background in environmental-science or tourism would be advantageous but not necessary

 

To ease volunteers into the local culture, your morning will begin with an orientation of the town’s local amenities. This will be conducted via our carefully selected English-speaking local co-ordinator who will provide 24 hour support throughout your stay. You will be shown where to find ATM’s, shops and all that is available in the town.

This will be followed by a presentation given by your local guide who will cover the full history of the town, followed by the current environmental situation in which we find ourselves today.

You will then be taken directly to a mangrove plantation site to observe first-hand how they are grown and what our work involves.

The day will end with a walk around the local village, where you will also meet students whom you will be responsible for teaching throughout the week.

Your day will start with a river cruise, accompanied by your local coordinator and other volunteers, and your destination is a fully operational mangrove nursery.

And here your work truly begins on this project, fixing and repairing young mangroves, and at the end of a fairly tiring and exhausting day you will enjoy the journey home and a very well earned rest. But not for too long, as when energy levels are fully restored you will be off to the local village for an hours English teaching.

Today is the day you will create your own piece of history, planting mangrove seedlings, and to do this we visit a totally fresh piece of land. There is much more involved to planting than simply placing a seed into the ground, and you will be taken step by step through the process.

After this you will meet with local fisherman, who will teach you old-fashioned, environmentally conscious fishing techniques.

The afternoon will again involve school work, however on this day volunteers are encouraged to play sports, or an activity with the children. We do stress that this is optional and English teaching is still available if you so wish.

This is where you will discover the full extent of the towns natural resources. You and your fellow volunteers will be taken on a full country-side tour. The highlight of this is undoubtedly the pepper plantations, which are one of Cambodia’s finest and proudest resources and can be found in many of the dishes you will taste.

In the evening it is back to the mangrove site; however, this time you will not be working, but basking in the fruits of your labour with a scrumptious BBQ. Here you can rest awhile from your labours, sit back, relax and enjoy each other's company, whilst absorbing the beautiful scenery in our specially designed river-side huts.

Today will have a different flavour and focus to the rest of your week. In the morning you will be taken to see the villages organic farm and encouraged to participate and learn their unique techniques.

This will be followed by an afternoon spent with some of the poorest families in the town. Whilst you will no doubt find this quite a challenging experience, by now you should have gained enough experience of Cambodia in general and the local culture in particular, to handle the challenge with ease.

Your afternoon will not simply be interaction with the locals, but you will be asked to help on one their building projects; for example, building wooden homes could very well occupy part of your afternoon.

As your time with us is relatively short, we appreciate that many of our volunteers wish to make maximum use of their free time at weekends. If you have plans to explore this fascinating country two options are available.

Firstly, you can do it yourself, and our experienced staff will give you whatever advice and assistance you require in making arrangements. These obviously will be at your own expense.

Second alternative is that we offer an optional itinerary, at no extra cost, when we focus on the poorest members of the Kom Pot community. We are very proud of our work here, distributing second-hand clothes to the local community. We do provide these clothes, but if you have clothes you would otherwise throw away, please bring them.

You will be amazed at the joy your old clothes can bring, and will fully understand the saying “one persons rubbish is another’s treasure.” It is heart warming, and also very humbling, the smiles and happiness your old clothes can bring to others, and we encourage you to participate.

We guarantee it will be a lasting memory of your stay with us. If you still have enough energy we do still operate our teaching programme on Saturdays, but it will not be frowned upon if you choose either part or the whole of this day to rest.