CRDT estimates that to reverse the current unsustainable trends of natural resource exploitation through sustainable agriculture takes 6 years of intensive activity before it can responsibly withdraw from a community. CRDT’s field staff live and works in the target communities as mentors and role models.
First, communities are organized into self-sustaining support structures — community based organizations (CBOs), then, they are involved in the project implementation for the 6 year implementation strategy. Click the image to see a short slideshow showing the stages of project implementation.
CRDT works with many indigenous groups, such as the Phnong in Mondulkiri or the Koy in Kratie and Stung Treng. Indigenous groups are even more reliant on natural resources than Khmers, economically marginalised and politically and socially disempowered. Many indigenous people are illiterate, speak minority languages, practice communal ownership and have different cultural values: the natural environment is often even more important to these groups.
With no connection to the government that is supposed to serve them, indigenous people and other marginalised groups like the extreme poor have no voice in the decisions which rule their lives. The CBOs that CRDT establish have an economic incentive but the results are much more wide-ranging. Groups learn how to engage with the government, have input into local planning processes, apply for government funding and open channels of discussion over controversial issues such as dams or economic concessions or land right violations. Single farmers have few tools and little power to oppose these threats – legally-registered CBOs are a legitimate channel and a force to be reckoned with at local government level.
The implementation strategyis intentionally designed to support the vision and mission of CRDT “A Cambodia free from poverty and environmental degradation” and to “improve food security, incomes, and living standards of subsistence rural communities, in support of environmental conservation throughout Cambodia”.
The implementation strategy is a 6 year plan to work with subsistence communities and, is divided into two phases: the first phase focuses on improving food security and the second phase focuses on increasing income generation. The first phase mainly revolves around forming CBOs and empowerment, capacity building, fund mobilization through saving activity, agriculture and livelihood training and support and extension workers. The second phase builds on the first phase by using the existing saving funds, livelihood skills to build capacity on market development, market feasibility and identification, intervention strategy and linking it to social enterprises.
The supported programs including environment education, infrastructures in agriculture, water and sanitation, renewable energy, empowerment and other supplementary programs are considered as cross-cutting programs and are integrated throughout the two phases depending on fund availability. Our Implementation Strategy manual is available at CRDT head office. All staff have been trained properly on how to use the manual and make use of it as their work guidance all the time.