Ocean Stewardship Program

Song Saa Foundation
April 17, 2019
Koh Rong, Cambodia
Closing date


The Ocean Stewardship Program is the largest island-based marine conservation initiative in Cambodia. The program is located in southwest Cambodia and centres its efforts on assisting coastal communities in the Koh Rong archipelago.

Resting in a well-managed conservation area, with enormous conservation potential, this is the ideal place to learn to dive and engage in pioneering marine conservation.

Our early efforts included establishing the first recognised marine reserve in Cambodia, setting up an artificial reef programme, delivering a youth environment education initiative and creating the first solid waste management system in the Archipelago.

By taking part in the Ocean Stewardship Program you have the unique opportunity to work with seasoned professionals, contributing to a lasting legacy for marine and community conservation in Cambodia. Data collected on the project will serve to assist in the management of Cambodia’s first Marine Fisheries Management Area (an internationally recognised marine reserve) and you will be among the only people collecting on-going marine survey data for this protected area. Your involvement in the project will promote the conservation and preservation of one of the most pristine marine environments in the lower Mekong region.

Location: Koh Rong, Cambodia
Duration: Minimum 4 weeks participation
Start dates: First Monday of every month
Costs: from $1750 USD

• Gain personal hands-on experience in groundbreaking marine conservation initiatives.
• Work alongside experienced and passionate conservation professionals and scientists.
• Live and work in a traditional Cambodian fishing village community.
• Ideal for those studying marine biology and environmental conservation, or those with a keen interest in marine ecology and ecological conservation.
• Keywords: marine conservation, marine biology, field research, sustainable development, environmental, serious internship.

Daily Life

The first week of the programme is dedicated to the completion of the PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications, as qualified instructors take you through all the necessary steps to becoming a scuba diver. For those who are already certified, week one can be spent collaborating on community projects, including education workshops in the local community, healthcare outreach or beach clean-ups. These projects are also a great way to familiarise yourself with your new surroundings!

Once in possession of your shiny new certificate, the following two weeks will be given over to an engaging Coral Reef Ecology course, during which you will attend lectures, workshops and take part in practical in-water training sessions. In addition to the scuba training and reef ecology course, the expedition fee also includes a unique ‘Career Catalyst’ course, which will engage you with fundamental career development tools, to help propel you into a professional conservation career.

As week 4 rolls around you will be ready to start collecting marine survey data, which is the climax of the expedition. On average, you will complete two dives per day, however this is dependent on weather conditions and base logistics, thus there may be days when this is not possible. During these days, there are ample opportunities to get involved with other aspects and initiatives of the Foundation, such as engaging in community projects (e.g. running an art class with local children, or leading a group of local students to a rainforest waterfall).

A typical survey dive will take one hour, during which time you will collect population and species richness data for corals, fish and invertebrates, assess substrate type and gather ancillary data. At the end of each dive day, all data will be entered into a collective database for analysis.

During the evenings there will be opportunities to relax in a beach bar, try your hand at pool or darts, and read in our comfortable cabana – to name just a few ideas!


• Minimum age - 18 years
• Minimum 4-week commitment.
• Interest in marine conservation and sustainable development
• Healthy level of general fitness and stamina
• Ability to swim 200 m unaided
• PADI Advanced Open Water certified (we can teach you this course on-site!)
• Travel & medical insurance (to include unlimited diving up to 30 m depth)
• Necessary vaccinations as advised by your local travel nurse or GP
• Valid passport (minimum 6 months until expiry from date of entry in Cambodia)
• N.B. Visas for Cambodia are very easy to get, and are obtained at the airport on arrival
• N.B. You will need to provide your own scuba mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit (3-5 mm recommended) and booties. All other dive equipment will be provided for you on-site.

• First 4 weeks = US$1750 (flat rate)
• Additional 1-week blocks (after the initial 4 weeks) = US$250 per week
• PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses (as required) = US$500 per course (includes completion certificate, all manuals, learning materials and activities - no hidden costs!)

To Apply or for more information about the Ocean Stewardship Programme visit the Song Saa Foundation expedition page or contact Ben at ben@songsaafoundation.org

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