Kampot is an underdeveloped Cambodian town that requires assistance in its efforts to conserve the delicate mangrove trees that are local to the area. As well as this role in conservation, volunteers on this project will also help the villagers with their English-language education and get involved in community projects.
The province of Kampot is developing rapidly and fast becoming one of Cambodia’s most popular tourist spots, with both domestic and international travellers favouring the location. Located in the south-eastern part of the country, the province boasts various natural attractions, as well relics of the ancient Khmer, and landmarks that echo the French legacy.
The Kampot Mangrove Conservation project is vital for environmental conservation within Cambodia; since more than 80% local population are dependant on the fishing community, management and repair of the mangrove plantations is not just optional, it’s essential.
In recent years a number of mangrove plantations have been removed from riverbanks to be replaced with salt plantations; this is because the salt plantations offer a much higher opportunity for short-term profit. Unfortunately this profit has not been beneficial to the locals who rely on fishing, and has led to a steep increase in illegal angling as well as having a negative impact on the mangrove population that is vital to this sensitive ecosystem.
During this experience you will be working alongside local organisations to repair mangroves and plant new ones; you will also spend time educating locals about the ecosystem that surrounds them to try and ensure that they remember the importance of the mangroves and protect them even after you have gone.
The Kampot Mangrove Conservation program is scheduled comprehensively. Find an easy break down of this schedule below.
As the Kampot Mangrove Conservation involves a lot of work with the local community, you will not be surprised to find that your first Monday will begin with an orientation session where you will be introduced to the town, as well as to some of the cultural highlights. You will go with our English-speaking coordinator – who will be on hand all week to provide support – who will show you around. The coordinator will show you where important things like the ATMs, shops and other important areas are located. What follows is a presentation where you will find out a little about the town’s history, as well as about the current environmental situation; this presentation is followed by a visit to mangrove plantation where you will see first-hand what state the trees are in, and what kind of work they will need. Your day will end with a walk through the village, where you will have the chance to meet with students that you will be responsible for during the week of teaching.
Tuesday will be the first real day of work where you will find out exactly how you are going to be fitting into the program. Today you will begin to play your part in the mangrove plantation conservation. You will be taken on a river cruise with your coordinator and with the other volunteers; the boat will take you to a local, fully-operational mangrove nursery where you will spend some time fixing and repairing your mangroves. Since this is a fairly arduous task, you will then spend some time relaxing. Once you feel up to it, you will head into the village where you will teaching some students English.
Wednesday is a day to make history. You and the other volunteers will be taken to a fresh plot of land which has been conditioned and prepared for you to plant some mangrove seedlings. You will be assisting in the activity; there is much more to planting than just putting some seeds in the ground, so you be sure that you will learn a valuable skill here. Once the seeds are plants, you will meet with a local fisherman who will teach you a little bit about environmentally-friendly fishing techniques. They may teach you a little about the less ethical methods – like blast-fishing – but this will only be to demonstrate why ethical fishing is the preferred choice.In the afternoon you will take part in more school work with the local children – however, you can choose between either playing sports with them, helping them with an activity, or continuing English lessons from the day before.
Thursday has more an educational spin and you will spend it discovering the full extent of the local, natural resources. You and the local staff will go on a countryside tour that will take you alongside several locations of value to the Cambodian people. These trip will include a visit to the pepper plantations; the harvest of these is considered to be one of Cambodia’s finest resources, and the pepper is integral to a number of the country’s most popular cuisines. In the evening, you will return to your mangrove plantation for a BBQ. Absorb the beautiful landscape from our specially designed riverside huts.
On Friday morning you will be taken to see the village’s many organic farms, where you will be encouraged to learn and participate in their lifestyle, and take part in their unique techniques. Some of the methods will seem strange, but they have been proved to work!
After this visit you will spend the afternoon with some of the poorer families in the local area – during this time you will learn a bit about their lives and culture, and you will also spend some time helping with projects.
While weekends are usually free for volunteers to explore and relax, we do also offer an optional itinerary.