Tonlé Sap Lowlands Rural Development Project

Tonlé Sap Lowlands are an area of international conservation significance around the Tonlé Sap great lake, a unique aquatic ecosystem connected to the Mekong river.

Tonlé Sap Lowlands Rural Development Project, CAMBODIA 

The Tonlé Sap Lowlands Rural Development Project, funded by the Asian Development Bank, included extensive improvements to irrigation infrastructure, rural roads, community administration, health centre and school buildings, and training in livelihood skills for communities that use the infrastructure.

The project was sited on the periphery of the Tonlé Sap Biosphere reserve – an area of international conservation significance around the Tonlé Sap great lake, a unique aquatic ecosystem connected to the Mekong river. People living near the reserve need improved agriculture based livelihoods to reduce dependency on resources within the reserve. Fraser Thomas were selected to provide project management services for the project.

The services, overseeing subproject selection, detailed design, procurement, supervision and financial management, covered the full six year project implementation period. In all 274 subprojects were completed. Of these, 56 were for the rehabilitation of selected lengths of the rural road network (203km in total), 57 for improved irrigation canals and water management structures (improving 307 structures in total), and a further 161 small scale projects, selected and managed by commune councils with assistance of the project team as a capacity development endeavour. Numerous training programmes were held for upskilling agriculture, horticulture, poultry raising and marketing.

A challenge for the project was a very complex management structure (involving four ministries of the Cambodian government) and the project design had not envisaged the enormity of the procurement process for so many subprojects, and also the capacities of provincial government departments had been heavily over-estimated. The FT team was able to help and provide guidance to both the ADB and Government understand the problems and allocate sufficient resources to overcome them.

Surveys of households in the project area at the beginning and after the closure of the project showed a significant drop in poverty, and improved food security. The Asian Development Bank has evaluated and recorded the project as successful and the project completion report is published on their website.

Services Provided:

  • Project Management
  • Procurement
  • Environmental Assessment and Management Planning
  • Social Safeguard Assessment and Management Planning
  • Establishment and implementation of Quality Assurance measures
  • In addition, the company provided advisory services for:
    • Identification of viable business opportunities and implementation assistance for potential entrepreneurs
    • Advice  on planning and implementing measures to promote community driven.


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