Many Cambodians rely on the forest and fisheries of Cambodia for their livelihoods, but oftentimes their activities are harmful to the environment. The Cambodia Rural Development team (CRDT) is one of a number of organisations trying to halt deforestation and the destruction of natural resources. What makes CRDT different from other groups is that it was created by four university graduates from different provinces and backgrounds who share the same concerns about environmental problems.
CRDT was established in 2001 by Or Channy, Hean Pheap, Hang Vong and Sun Mao, who were seniors in the rural development department at Maharashi Vedic University. CRDT’s first project was launched in Kampong Cham province, where they built five water pumps and 15 biodigesters.
Hean Pheap said the idea of establishing this organisation came during a visit to Or Channy’s house in Kampong Cham when they saw that villagers were having problems finding firewood to cook and water to drink. “People in Channy’s village had to go 30 kilometers from their homes to find firewood for cooking and clean water to use in thier daily lives,” said Hean Pheap. “I knew how to make biogas cookers and water pumps. We talked together and decided to solve water and firewood shortage problem for the villagers,” he proudly explained.
CRDT’s vision is for “a Cambodia free of poverty and environmental degradation,” and to achieve this vision its mission is “to improve food security, incomes and living standards of subsistence rural communities while supporting environmental conservation throughout Cambodia.
Written by: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 21, June 2, 2010