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Osmose

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>...PREK TOAL, TONLE SAP LAKE, CAMBODIA

An integrated Environment and Development Project
in the Biosphere Reserve of the Tonle Sap Lake since 1999

In the unique environment of the Tonle Sap Great Lake, the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary hosts the last stronghold of large breeding waterbirds in South East Asia. In 1999 when Osmose was founded, many of these threatened birds faced a serious danger of extinction due to over-harvesting of their eggs and chicks. Osmose initiated a novel approach to environmental protection: advancing conservation objectives through environmental education, community support and alternative income generation from ecotourism.

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By 2005, bird poaching had stopped, the bird populations were recovering and the project had evolved and grown: the environmental education programme reached over 1000 children, Osmose remained the premier Ecotourism operator in Prek Toal and over a hundred poor families have benefited from Osmose’s medical, social, schooling and material support and assistance. The alternative income program has expanded to include Saray, a cooperative that creates woven products from the super-abundant water hyacinth on the lake, generating incomes for almost 40 women.

title= Osmose Ecotours to the Tonle Sap Lake offer visitors the opportunity to discover the waterbird colonies and flooded forest, visit the traditional floating village by wooden canoe and stay the night in specially adapted homestays, in the company of an Osmose-certified guide. At the same time, Ecotourism allows visitors to support the communities by taking part in income-generating activities and to fund community support projects.

After the departure of the founders (Nathalie and Frederic) in 2006, an international volunteer took over tion the project steering (Francoise and then Eric), with support from the Nicolas Hulot Foundation. The position evolved into one of a project advisor with the arrival of Samuel from the end of 2011 to mid-2013. During this time Osmose has undertaken a process of localisation, first obtaining the status of local NGO in Cambodia in 2007, forming a local Board in 2008, a partnership with Osmose France in 2009, and finally the nomination of a local director in April 2013.

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