Since 1999, Osmose has developed ecotourism (ET) activities in the floating village of Prek Toal with its ornithological reserve. This component of the project aims to promote the conservation of the reserve while offering maximum economic benefits to the families involved. The tours allow small groups to discover the exceptional human and natural environment of the Tonle Sap Lake with a certified Osmose guide. They generate direct income for villagers through all on-site services (restaurant, boatmen, crafts, accommodation). In addition, the benefits of ET contribute to the financing of the other components of the project. Through its experience, the quality of its visits and its involvement in lakeside villages, Osmose is the first tourist and development actor in the Prek Toal area.
To know more about our Eco tours, click here.
The environmental education (EE) program launched in 2000 is a pioneer in the Tonle Sap region. Osmose thus had to create and develop didactic teaching dedicated to the Tonle Sap Lake context. The aim is to make the children of the floating villages aware of the preservation of their environment through the acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills adapted to ecological issues. The component includes classes at the Osmose platform and nature outings, and is provided by local educators.
Since 2015, the program has been integrated into the public school curriculum, offering courses and environmental education activities to more than 1000 children in the villages of Prek Toal and Peck Kantiel, south of the ornithological reserve.
Osmose’s approach is to target the most disadvantaged families and enable them to participate in socio-economic interventions aimed at improving their living conditions. Floating gardens, water filters, schooling, medical support are all facets of this component. In parallel, income-generating activities have gradually been implemented in connection with the ecotourism component. They include water hyacinth crafts (Saray), catering services, boatman and homestay accommodation. Currently, 70 families are involved in the project, including former poachers and many female heads of households. Thanks to Osmose, they receive additional or even alternative income for fishing.
Nathalie and I were already living in Cambodia for a few years when, at the end of 1997, we moved to Siem Reap. Thanks to a boatman in love with the lake, Mr Bo, we discovered the flooded forest of Prek Toal, its incredible spectacle of birds and aquatic life, lakeside villages with a floating lifestyle which was perfectly adapted to the hydrological cycle of the lake. From this wonder but also from the awareness of the threats weighing on this unique place germed the idea of the project:
to share our crush, sensitize and associate the villagers with the protection of their natural resources. So that the inhabitants of the lake stay in … balance with their environment!
We tried some visits in 1999 and Nathalie prepared the first classes of environmental education the following year. As a young ornithologist (reincarnated pharmacist), in 2001 I was in charge of the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary Conservation Program for Osmose’s historic Wildlife Conservation Society. I immersed myself (literally) in the fascinating ecosystem of the flooded forest and set up the team of rangers, including converted poachers and colony protectors. In the meantime, Nathalie developd the Ecotourism and Education sections of Osmose and trained a motivated Cambodian team. In 2004, I fully invested in Osmose to build the Village Development component. This time it was an immersion in the harsh realities of human poverty and precariousness, and to find solutions not to save the birds, but to help men to live more worthily. A challenge that is far more complex and time consuming!!
Our passion and commitment formed the approach, the actions and the Osmose team for six years. In 2005, we left Cambodia and left the reindeers of the project to a coordinator VSI. From my Corsican exile, I keep a role of technical support, advice and follow-up through the French association and missions in the Khmer country. In parallel, I immerse myself in writing a synthesis of knowledge on birds of Cambodia, which will last six years!
As deep as my affection for Cambodia, its people, its language, its birds, it is my ever renewed fascination for the natural and human world of the Tonle Sap Lake which connects me to Osmose and, unfailingly, binds me to those who continue to implement it.
A villager community associated with ecotourism and children aware of the issues of their lake environment.
Mr. CHHUN Teav
My name is Teav and I am one of the two Environmental Education (EE) teachers in Preak Kantiel. I have been working for Osmose EE program for 6 years, since we receive the 1st fund of IUCN/CEPF in 2014.
My daily task is working for two main curriculums such as indoor classes and outdoor classes.
– Indoor classes, I teach 4 times/month at Peak Kantiel primary school. I also teach 4 times/month at the Osmose platform with the outstanding students.
– Outdoor classes are conducted 2 times/month. It depends of the season. During the bird breeding time, I organize more bird watching. During the bird migration, I organize more waste collection.
Besides that, I and two other colleagues also conduct a weekly meeting in order to schedule our teaching time.
We also do a monthly meeting when the EE manager, Mr Sovann, come to visit us.
I really like my job because teaching about environment it is what I care about. I want the children to get a better understanding of their environment and help to take care and preserve the Tonle Sap natural resources.
Finally, this job is great because it helps me to support my family.
My name is KI Chantha, I am 51 years old and I am single. I have a brother and three sisters. I have worked in the organization of Osmose since 2009, until now (duration 10 years).
Before, I was a housekeeper. Sometimes I went to the shopkeeper’s shop to work (cutting fish heads to make fermented fish). I earned a little bit of money to help my family. Then, the Osmose organization announced to choose the cookers; I had a chance to apply for this job with Osmose. After, I worked with Osmose, my life has changed. I like working in the organization of Osmose because it makes me happy to know so many people, to see the beautiful foreigners and I can earn money to help my family. The most special: I can cook Cambodian food for my visitors. They can taste and eat traditional Cambodian meals and also I can let us know and learn traditional cooking.
Finally, million thank you to Osmose who created this organization to help us in the floating village and give us the job.
And also, many thanks to our customers who came here. I wish you good luck and good health.
Thank you so much!
Hi ! I’m daughter of a second generation here in Prek Toal, my great grandparents first moved here from KrouSart. I was born and grew up here. I’ve been cooking since I was 13, today I’m 35! I mastered my techniques when I was 16, we’re used to cooking “chaa” (pan fried things) here in Cambodia, whether we’re having vegetables, eating meat or even crocodile eggs and it’s my favorite technique.
When Osmose opened, I was happy to find a job that suited me, because apart from a stay at home mom or a fisherman, I didn’t quite know what to do.
Further on, I’d like to open my own little business of selling soups and rice!
My husband is a fisherman, but I’d like my 2 year old boy to become a doctor when he grows up.
I have quite a sweet tooth so fruits and cakes are my favorites.
I like it here because I get to cook with my friends every time I come. It’s not too stressful because you get used to rush hours and it becomes great fun, a nice challenge.
I was born in Battambang and came indefinitely to Prek Toal when I was 14 years old. I decided to move here because I came so often I got used to the village and lifestyle, it became more my home than anywhere else.
I’ve lived through rough times when I was younger, juggling from one boat to another to fish what I could. It doesn’t seem like it, but fishing here can be scary. I remember how strong the winds were, our boats are light and we could get into dangerous situations.
That’s over, now I’ve found my happiness here.
I have three children, they’re eight, five and three years old, all born here in Prek Toal.
When I started in 2010 I remember how panicked I was when we’d have 30 clients for lunch, thinking we hadn’t bought enough or couldn’t cook in time. It was scary to walk between tables of foreigners eating your food. It was intimidating and overwhelming.
My house is the one right behind the restaurant! We saved money with my husband and got to move in 3 years ago. Although, my dream house is in Thailand.
We’ve been working together for so long at the restaurant we grew to know, love and care for each other, they really became my sisters in a way! We’re as worried for the team member who’s having a baby, the one that’s sick… our very own family.
My best moments here are souvenirs of festivities we’ve organized on this very same platform if they were for staff parties, the New Year or public holidays.
Lang Routha and Son Srey Peuw
“I was born here and now I am 44. I am the proud mother of 3 beautiful girls. They’ve all chosen to do something different!
With what I do here, my girls get to study their dream: the first one wants to be a shop-owner, the one in the middle is studying becoming a hairdresser and the youngest one is right here with me, for now!”
“Hi! My name Is Son Srey Peuw. I started here a year ago, and I’m quite happy. I like designing the most. I start by drawing, dad builds up the structure of the bag and mom is the best at sewing it! It’s great team work.“
“She likes creating new designs very much, she finds new shapes and color assimilations easily and she’s not scared of testing them out. She learned very fast, I remember that when I first came, I spent most of my days observing what the other ladies were doing. But she understood immediately. I’m happy she’s here although I know she’s not staying for long because her wish is to study to become a pastry chef!
It’s nice to create something and see that someone buys it. It makes you proud of what you do, you know you’re not working hard for nothing.“
Tha Chen Thon
Hi! I’m Tha! I’m in charge of taking the tourists around on my beautiful paddle boat. There is much to see and I love the faces of the guests when they’re riding with me, they’re always very happy to discover our village and that’s nice to see. It doesn’t look like Paris city for sure, but we’ve got our own treasure. When my guests get out of the paddle boat, I’m always scared of them falling! They always act like they know what they’re doing, but it’s not the case! It’s given me the possibility of contributing to the family’s revenue, through something I know how to do.
The best place during the tour is stopping at the floating gardens. It’s the most beautiful as it’s plentiful of different colors from the flowers.
When Osmose calls us to reserve a night, the kids all gather to listen around the phone and are excited like ants when they find food. I’ve got 6 of them. We’ve loved meeting people from different parts of the world, we get to learn about their habits and they get to experience an unusual/ special night on a floating house.
The OSMOSE Team
M. KE Sovann
Coordinator Education for the Environment and Local Development / former guide and Ecotourism Manager
Based in Siem Reap
He has been working with Osmose since 2011
Mme BUN Chenda
Accountant and administration officer
Based in Siem Reap
She has been working with Osmose since 2018
She’s from the village of Prek Toal and has been helped by Sourire d’Angkor, one of our main partners.
Mme SOURNG Heang
Ecotourism reservations manager.
She speaks French and English
Based in Siem Reap
She has been working with Osmose since 2018
M. CHUL Vitchet
Coordinator of the Community Tourism Programme
Based in Prek Toal, Tonle Sap lake
He has been workig with Osmose since 2005
Mme AMBRE PLANCHE
Based in Siem Reap
She arrived in January 2020 to support the team in project management
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