The Angkor Community Heritage & Economic Advancement (ACHA) project is a multi-year project funded by the New Zealand government to establish sustainable management of Angkor Park that protects the historical heritage of the religious monuments while providing economic prosperity and food security for the people who live within the park.
Activities focus on:
- Improved income and food security in participating communities
- Increased yields and production from agriculture
- Enhanced protection of Angkor Park and sustainable practices in participating communities and targeted areas
- Community inclusive park management in participating communities
The project works with the 112 villages in the Angkor World Heritage site, but also strategically works across villages in the water catchment, including Phnom Kulen and Chau Srey Vibol.
Thirteen demonstration farms have been established promoting better farming systems and new crops, which has increased yields and production. Farmers are now wanting to try the new techniques. Allowing farmers to see first-hand demonstrations was essential in motivating Additional agricultural activities established include raising chickens, fish farming, mushroom growing, and bee-keeping. Community-based tourism activities, such as ox-carts, boat rides, a proposed Heritage Bike Trail and cooking classes are providing additional income, and encourage better resource management. Brochures, billboards and community groups have been formed to promote new sustainable tourism ventures.
Water Structures have been developed for specific irrigation and general flood reduction. These structures will support income and food security improvements and increase yields. These water structures are already protecting the monuments of Angkor Park, and have been developed inclusively with community education and engagement, which has enhanced community participation of water management through water use and tree planting, created new opportunities for communication and coordination and have contributed toward better water, forest and natural resource use. Water infrastructure is not only important for farmers, but essential to the safely and stability of the temples, to secure ground water for wells, mitigate flooding, and for ecological maintenance of the local Kulen watershed. This water management system is contributing toward reduced food and drought impacts in the region. This work positively impacts most of the people of Siem Reap town and the catchments of Siem Reap (estimated at over 200,000 people). The volume of water available for storage is currently at 2.2 million cubic metres.
Buddhism for Development is the service provider supporting the Council of Monks in Angkor Park Pagoda Affairs committee. Part of the role of the council is to facilitate and encourage community participation in heritage management, through capacity building to monks, provision of documentation and books, study trips, and other methods of dissemination. Through support from the project the Council of Monks is working across 35 Pagodas and is a major step toward more community inclusive park management, and also enhances wider protection of the monuments.