Background of Phnom Tobcheang Community
The Phnom Tobcheang community is locate along upstream of Kamong Som River and valley of Phnom Tobcheang locate in Dang Peng commune of Sre Ambel district, Koh Kong province.
It was established under supported from various local and International NGO, and government program. From its commencement, in 2001, there are a full range of services have been provided to this community, including small scale infrastructure, agriculture extension services, rice bank, animal bank, credit schemes, hygiene and sanitation, and NRM program. From these supports, there are 281 local villagers of Preah Angkeo and Bak Angrut villages benefit from these activities.
The community has received official recognition from Koh Kong provincial governor in 2003. In year 2010, the community signed a 15 years agreement with MAFF over management responsibility on the implement Community Management Plan cover 364 hectares of forestry protected area.
The population in this community consists of both residents of very old upland and newer residents who have been coming from other provinces. The living conditions of the people in the area depend significantly on the ecological integrity of the natural environment. Traditionally, local villagers have traditionally depended on forest resources to meet approximately a third of their livelihood needs. This includes hunting, logging, charcoal making and the collection of non-timber forest products (NTFP) to sale for household consumption. Agriculture in these areas is sporadic and basic. Traditionally, the majority of villagers have come to possess their upland farms by clearing and cultivating the land.
To comply with the MAFF’s agreement and community management plan, the community-based ecotourism (CBET) has been explored and has become an agenda for actions that has been integrated into commune development plan.
CBET project will focus its work on promoting and strengthening interest groups in service provider and organize them into CBET service network at the commune, and connect to other communes and district nearby. The primary target group will be the potential villagers (women and men) heard of household who willing to be part of Interest Groups in different CBET service providers and leaders of committee who involve in CBET management. Within this category, CBET project will have a special focus on encouraging young graduated people who are potential in implement CBET activities. The CBET project will give particular support to women, men and young people, who show strong commitment, motivation and interest in CBET service provider group. The project will give opportunities for the category of young people to obtain skills and knowledge in leading and managing CBET activities. It was observed that certain young people are very strong in their desire to implement CBET project and willing to take part as member of CBET managing committee. Most of them are more active and dynamic than old people in the context of ecotourism. These young people mostly are facing with jobless in the community and often migrate to find employment in Phnom Penh City or Thailand, e.g. garment workers and labor work, which spent much time away from their family and home duties.
Besides this, the CBET project will continue to approach other potential villager families outside the commune or districts nearby within the region. The project will provide opportunities for them to organize CBET services, such as home stay, food supplies, and local guide. The project will also conduct awareness raising on the importance of organizing CBET activities.