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Volunteer overseas on worthwhile and sustainable programmesVolunteer Overseas

Conservation in Cambodia

Project Overview

We are not running this project in 2018, but we are still running great Diving & Marine Conservation projects in Thailand, Fiji and Belize. Have a Look!

  • Placement location: Koh Sdach
  • Role: To conduct marine wildlife surveys and beach clean-ups
  • Main Research Focus: Protection of endangered seahorses
  • Local Environment: Marine
  • Accommodation: Shared volunteer bungalows
  • Price: From Loading...
  • What's included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support, dive equipment, PADI diving course
  • What's not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
  • Length of placement: From 1 week
  • Start dates: Flexible

The project is based on the beautiful and peaceful island of Koh Sdach. The project involves researching local marine wildlife, including the endangered seahorses. You can get involved in research dives and beach clean-ups. This will all take place under the guidance and supervision of our experienced local staff.

Group photo of Projects Abroad conservation volunteers after collecting rubbish from paradise beach in Cambodia

Volunteers focus on data collection and community work throughout the project. There are several threats to the marine environment, including a lack of regulation and education in the fishing industry, which causes overfishing and destructive fishing practices. Projects Abroad volunteers living on Koh Sdach form part of the community on the island and work closely with the fishing community to give them ideas for more sustainable fishing practices, according to the data collected on the dives. 

Located on the tropical Gulf of Thailand, this project is ideal for anyone interested in marine conservation and diving. You will get the chance to work in an incredible environment and perform important work. You do not need previous experience to take part in this project, although of course anyone with a marine biology background will be very welcome.

Volunteers can join us at any time throughout the year on a gap year, a career break, for university research, or as part of a summer holiday.

Here you will find answers to the following questions:

What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?

What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?

Where will I live on this project?

What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?

Projects Abroad Marine Conservation volunteers in Cambodia measure a Hawksbill Sea Turtle that was caught in a fishing net

Volunteers on this project may take part in activities such as:

  • Marine diving surveys, including fish size and abundance (to measure the impact of overfishing), composition and health of the coral reef, invertebrate abundance (indicator species) seahorse identification and behavior, and habitat and mapping surveys.
  • Salvage diving in order to collect debris from the ocean.
  • Beach clean-ups.
  • Monitoring catches of local fishermen and helping to run training programs on sustainable fishing and the importance of preserving the coral reef.
  • Teaching classes about the environment at the local school two afternoons a week. Some of our volunteers also take the time to teach English.

A work schedule is established each week so you know what is happening and when. The schedule varies, depending on the time of year, the weather and the number of volunteers on the project. Volunteers normally work five days a week and some diving usually takes place each work day. You will have two days off to relax, travel back to the mainland or get involved in some of the many other activities the area offers. The most rain usually falls in July and August, and during these months and any other rainy or windy periods the diving work can be disrupted.

Dive Courses

One of the first things that you'll be doing is learning how to scuba dive. We will train you up to PADI Open Water standards, helping you to learn the fundamental theoretical and practical aspects of diving. As a PADI certified diver you can participate fully in the underwater conservation work.

Volunteers with an existing dive certification equivalent to the PADI Open Water qualification receive the PADI Advanced course. Volunteers joining us for at least 4 weeks from July 1st 2015 will also receive the Projects Abroad Survey Diver certification card. This is a PADI authorised specialty course which includes full training in underwater survey and research techniques.

Volunteers who are unable to scuba dive or who are not interested in the dive-related work can still get involved. You can take part in snorkelling or focus on the land based conservation work. There is plenty to be done and all efforts go towards the protection of this beautiful and developing country.


All volunteers taking part in the Conservation Project in Cambodia for at least 12 weeks, and are 18 years or older, have the opportunity to train as a Divemaster during their time on the project. Read more about our Divemaster Add-On Course here.

What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?

TView of the dirty beach that the Projects Abroad conservation volunteers cleaning up

The main reason why this project began in the first place was to help with the protection of seahorses in Cambodia. This is still a key aim of the project as we campaign and educate against illegal fishing. We hope to see a rise in the seahorse population in the future as we continue research into their habitats and behaviour.

The data we collect is given to local authorities with the hope that they will declare it a protected area. In addition, the data is also shared with the fishermen, so that we can advise them on how they can improve their fishing methods.

Education is also one of the key aspects of the project. Twice a week, you will help teach classes at the local school, teaching students about important environmental issues. In the past, volunteers have done puppet shows about sharks, recycling initiatives, and more. We also hold workshops for the island’s fisherman and inform them about sustainable fishing and the coral reef.

What are the living conditions on this project?

Volunteers diving in a conservation project in Cambodia, Asia

The project’s accommodation is built on stilts over the water in the fishing village of Koh Sdach. You will sleep in same-sex dorm rooms. The accommodation has constant electricity. At the back of the accommodation are bathrooms, with western style toilet with a bucket and a scoop to flush it and a shower. Apart from the fishing village, the island has a few guest houses, and lots of forest.

All volunteers eat together in the large multi-functional communal area or on the deck overlooking the water. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to mingle with the local villagers, and to get immersed in Khmer culture.

You can join the Conservation & Environment project in Cambodia for one, two or three weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely on a variety of conservation activities please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period. Volunteers joining the Conservation & Environment project for just one week should arrive at a weekend.

*If you have an advanced scuba diving qualification already, you will be trained in the underwater survey work straight away and you can choose to gain the next qualification as a Rescue Diver or gain Speciality Dive certifications.

Additional Project Info Monthly Updates Management Plan, Data & Reports

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