Wildlife Alliance is a conservation NGO based in Washington D.C. Wildlife Alliance’s mission is to protect and preserve forest and wildlife for future generations. We work directly with communities and governments to improve forest management and institute good governance to comprehensively address the devastation of ecosystems and combat the illegal wildlife trade.
Chi Phat Commune consists of 555 households from the four villages of Chi Phat, Chamsla, Kamlot, and Teuk Laok. Located in the heart of the Southern Cardamoms Protected Forest, Chi Phat has been severely affected by warfare, commercial logging, and hunting. The Cardamom Mountain Range is the second-largest intact rainforest in mainland Southeast Asia and one of the last seven remaining elephant corridors and large predator ranges in the region.
Approximately 10,000 people living in the Southern Cardamoms depend either directly or indirectly on the biodiversity of the area for food security and other needs. In Chi Phat alone, over 60% of villagers earn less than $1.50 per day and almost 30% are entirely dependent on non-timber forest products (NTFP) collection, logging, or hunting. Providing the villagers with sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternative means of income is a priority.
Chi Phat Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) was established in 2007 with technical and financial support from Wildlife Alliance in order to provide alternative livelihoods to local people through tourism activities, reduce the threat to local natural resources, and conserve a region of exceptional natural and cultural significance. CBET provides villagers with economically and ecologically sustainable income opportunities from tourism and help them protect the biodiversity and natural resources of their region against illegal logging, wildlife poaching, and land encroachment, while providing tourists with a unique green adventure in some rarely visited rural villages in the Southern Cardamoms.
Since officially opening for business in 2008, CBET Chi Phat has become one of the country’s highest-earning CBET projects. It hosts one visitor center where tourists can check in, find information, book activities, and dine, a small community center, and 12 guesthouses. A large range of ecotourism activities are developed together with the community and marketing linkages with local and international tour operators have been established. CBET Chi Phat has been featured in international travel shows, magazines, including airl ine in-flight magazines, and the most popular and widely-used guidebooks, attracting more than 3,100 visitors to date and bringing more than $110,000 directly to the community.
Wildlife Alliance follows the APPA methodology from the Mountain Institute for the implementation and development of the CBET Project. APPA stands for Appreciative Participatory Planning Action. It is a guide book on community project development. A 7 years program divided in 4 major steps called: Discovery, Dream, Design and Delivery.
Finally, encouraged by the success of Chi Phat, Wildlife Alliance decided to join with the community of Trapeang Rung in the Southern Cardamoms to develop a second CBET project in 2008.