Communities we serve
CRDT works throughout Cambodia, with diverse communities. CRDT focuses on working with the rural poor, especially in environmentally sensitive areas. We work with small scale farmers in villages. More than 20% of our projects involve Indigenous people, such as the Phnong in Mondulkiri or the Koy in Kratie and Stung Treng.
Indigenous groups in CRDT's priority areas
Indigenous groups are even more reliant on natural resources than Khmers. They are often economically marginalized, and politically and socially disempowered. Many Indigenous people are illiterate, speak minority languages, practice communal ownership and have distinct cultural values: the natural environment is often even more important to these groups.
Map of CRDT field offices with Indigenous People Areas.
Indigenous Phnong collecting non-timber forest products.
With weak connections to the government that is supposed to serve them, Indigenous people and other marginalized groups like the extreme poor have no voice in the decisions which rule their lives. The community-based organizations (CBOs) that CRDT establishes 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, economic concessions or land right violations. Subsistence 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 Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary covers 298,000 hectares and is home to the Phnong ethnic group who are subsistence rice farmers.
Upland rice harvests are extremely insecure, and yield is lower than wetland rice crops: only 800-1000 kg / hectare, compared to 1-3 tons per hectare in lowland areas. Upland rice provides only 4-6 months’ security in average years, and as little as 2 months in lean years.
This leads to the communities being heavily dependent upon the forest and surrounding habitat for their livelihoods. They collect Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) such as resin, or trap wildlife. Local populations are therefore extremely vulnerable to natural resource availability and natural disaster.
Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctary.
Chicks in a smallholder farm in Mondulkiri.
CRDT promotes alternative livelihood development in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary to relieve the human burden on the environment. We complement Wildlife Conservation Society programs on land use planning and conservation activities.