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Vassar College

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

Viet Nam: Ecology and Sustainability in the Mekong Delta


Abstract This study assesses how women in the floating village of Prek Toal in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, participate and benefit from the ecotourism activities in their area. The study also investigates women’s perspective on ecotourism within their community, how it affects their lives, and if they have expectations of current and future benefits or changes resulting from ecotourism. This study is conducted in the context of current studies on livelihoods in the Tonle Sap region, including the recent technical report, “Influence of Built Structures on Local Livelihoods: Case Studies of Road Development, Irrigation, and Fishing Lots,”(ADB, 2007a) identifying ecotourism as one of the recommended livelihood options for villagers in fishing villages of the Tonle Sap. The study findings indicate that while fishing remains the main source of income, an overall decline in fish catch per household makes the people of these fishing communities particularly vulnerable. Promoting rural development that enables new livelihood alternatives is seen as a means to improve people’s livelihoods while reducing competition and pressure on the natural resource base, such as fisheries. Focusing on women’s experience with ecotourism, this study is sensitive to the local context of a riparian community in the Tonle Sap region, and specifically in a fishing village, where women traditionally exercise diverging roles and appreciate different responsibilities from men. (FAO, 2003) Studies in the Tonle Sap region such as “Gender Roles in Natural Resource Management in the Tonle Sap Region”(1998) identify that current gender dynamics, which frame the control of resources and benefits can undermine women’s involvement in development activities. This study considers the influence of current ecotourism activities upon women living in Prek Toal floating village located within the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. Research for this report was conducted in three locations, Phnom Pen, Siem Reap and Prek Toal village, Cambodia. Literature review and key informant interviews and discussions were conducted in Phnom Penh and fieldwork using participatory assessment tools was conducted in Prek Toal village.


Growth and Development | Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources and Conservation


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