Cambodia Eco Tourism: back to grass (and) roots
Cambodia Eco Tourism cannot be bettered, than volunteering in an eco sanctuary. Let us explain
Volunteering does not get much better than when it is hands on with nature. Become an eco-volunteer and really make a difference. Help a local community by working on projects that protect endangered wildlife or focus on repairing and managing an overexploited environment. Help locals put skills and money where they are needed and not to those who don’t need them.
Eco-volunteers are involved in a variety of work from protecting wildlife to developing the local habitat to helping farmers and villagers improve food production and quality of life while protecting the environment. Creating awareness about the benefits of local conservation work and wildlife protection is always an objective.
While many of these projects are at a community level and involve work that develops that environment, there are other projects that develop sustainable ecotourism. Successful conservation work, wildlife protection and community-based ecotourism have proven they work well together.
Helping Locals Help Themselves
Work on projects that are finding ways for local people to better protect and manage the environment while providing opportunities for tourists to visit and experience unique places. Train local people to take care of tourists, teach local residents English, and how to be a good guide. Help them understand what tourists are looking for.
Volunteers can not only improve tourist services and activities and offer trekking advice but also help build trails and show survival tricks in the jungle, like extracting water from a vine and how to spot wildlife.
Teaching English is important. Village guides and host families who speak some English are more successful. A guided tour in English adds more value to the trek.
By helping locals, you will make them less dependent on exploitative businesses such as tour operators and big business who reap the profits of tourism to these places but little or no money goes to the people let alone for developing the community and protecting the environment. Some tour operators who claim to offer genuine eco-tourism only provide fake villages with hired locals, like a zoo. In fact, to develop fake projects these operators destroy the environment by clearing the jungle to build roads and make fake villages and other projects.
Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia
You could volunteer to work with elephants, then an elephant sanctuary in Cambodia could be for you. For this type of project, you observe elephants interacting and foraging in the forest. Take regular walks with the elephants through the jungle and help reforest the area by collecting seeds and planting saplings.
You also take care of injured and orphaned animals until their release back into the wild. The work can also involve taking care of domestic animals at a sanctuary. At most of these types of projects, there is also the need to teach English to locals and develop educational programs. In the daily operations of this type of program, English is very important.
Eco-volunteers work to help local villagers and farmers earn extra income while they develop their community and protect the environment. Community based eco-tourism is the best way to create local awareness about the benefits of conservation work and wildlife protection.
The goal of most projects is to help villagers by providing them with education and resources which enable them to develop their communities themselves, in a way that is sustainable. Volunteers generally help with the organisation, monitoring and evaluation of projects. Particularly if volunteers have experience in development work or in any of the project areas. They may be able to implement new ideas and have a greater involvement in project planning. However, the Khmer people do most of the work within the communities, as a key objective of all projects is to empower the village residents.
Cambodia Eco Tourism Project Types
Projects typically involve well digging, which provide resources to villagers to allow them to dig and maintain water-wells in their communities. There is also water distribution for irrigation that involves pump building and canal construction. Providing biosand filters so that drinking water is safe is another activity. Improving health care through health education and helping to provide nutritious food, a healthy environment and care for the sick is a major focus. Other projects include microloans to help families set up small business and generate income; animal pass-on projects, which involve passing on breeding animals among villages for food and income generation; and gardening and fish-pond projects so that villagers can provide their own sources of food. Finally, there is bee and honey production, which generates money through the sale of honey. Fair trade projects or selling clothing and crafts to local and overseas markets is also important.
Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuaries
An eco-volunteer could also work at one of the many wildlife sanctuaries where you work with locals to manage many endangered species including tigers, elephants, banteng, Eld’s deer, sarus crane, crocodile, and several turtle species. Many of these areas were once densely forested and rich in biodiversity. However, these areas have been significantly impacted by illegal logging and poaching. Projects are focused on protecting and restoring tens of thousands of hectares of jungle.
Volunteers work alongside locals, helping to reforest areas by keeping records of identified species, collecting seeds, and planting saplings. You also have the chance to care for injured and orphaned animals who have been rescued so that they can be rehabilitated and returned to their jungle home. Lending a hand with the sustainable farming of vegetables and fruit is also available. The ongoing support of volunteers is vital to ensuring a project’s continued success in protecting and regenerating important natural habitat so that it can sustain a diverse range of wildlife for generations to come.
Become an eco-volunteer and make a difference.
Want to try your hand at some environmentally friendly projects then take a look at these projects.
Asian Elephant Projects
Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary
Sea Turtle Conservancy
Osoam Cardamom Community Centre