Cambodian Rural Development Team, Krong Kratie, Cambodia

Founded in 2001 as a voluntary university student initiative, CRDT has grown into an organization working to deliver community and rural development projects to 4,961 families in support of conservation of the critically endangered Mekong River Irrawaddy Dolphins in Kratie and Stung Treng, and the protection of tropical forest biodiversity in Mondulkiri.

CRDT is a non-political, non-profit organisation that hopes to see a Cambodia where the rural poor are free from poverty and environmental degradation in order to preserve the beautiful landscape of Cambodia. To do this they intend to work around developing food security programmes, income generation projects and improve the standard of living that the rural communities have become accustomed to. Their projects are all governed by a set of principles that rely on accountability, transparency, co-operation, social inclusion and conservation in order to empower the poor.

The founders of CRDT saw the issue as an unsustainable means of living, with many rural communities not producing enough to survive on, and as such resorting to hunting, fishing and deforestation for food and money. Excessive reliance on these methods has led to a destructive way of life that threatens to destroy not just the natural environment in which these communities live, but also the communities themselves. This is why CRDT aim to promote sustainable development and introduce vegetable farming as a means of food security that can go on indefinitely. This involves developing the skills and providing the necessary tools and expertise in order to maximise the effectiveness of these methods.

CRDT has deep technical expertise and extensive experience in environmentally appropriate agricultural development, increasing food security, supporting market linkages and income generation, natural resource management, non-timber forest products, water and sanitation, renewable energy technologies, eco-tourism and community empowerment. Currently the organisation has around 40 staff members living close to and working with the local communities in three of Cambodia’s North Eastern provinces. All project communities are selected in conjunction with conservation partners WWF and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to be areas of particular interest for conservation where biodiversity is threatened by livelihood activities and exploitation of natural resources.

Their work is making an incredible impact on the lives of these communities, to find out more visit their website.

 AfID volunteer with CRDT Cambodia