Cambodia Aquaponics Project Trip
Join this to move forward these UN Sustainable Development Goals

Cambodia is a developing and charming country recovering from a tragic past. Many children currently live in orphanages operated by various NGOs from all over the globe but operating orphanages is not an easy task, as they mostly rely on donations to support their daily expenses.

While visiting the Wat Opot Children’s Community to install solar panels in June 2017 we also took the opportunity to consider other ideas for providing the community with sustainable support. Several ponds and an abandoned pigsty were identified as a potential site for an aquaponics system – growing plants and fish in the same enclosed ecosystem; using the waste products of fish to nourish plants while the plants clean the water for the fish.

Since then, a team of students at HKUST have been using Wat Opot as an aquaponics case study with plans to build a prototype on campus and a number of faculty have adopted aspects of aquaponics as part of their courses. The aim of this trip is to build a prototype system on location in Cambodia. The benefits to the community could include home grown fish and vegetables and maybe even the opportunity to sell surplus at a local market. If successful there is potential to scale up in the future. If we are unable to complete a working prototype in the time available we will still conduct research into the local conditions and resources available so that we can return in the future better prepared.

As a service learning trip, equal attention will be given to developing students’ skills and knowledge and to serving the local Wat Opot community. Participants of the trip will:

  • Gain hands-on teamwork experience developing a meaningful sustainable technology.
  • Gain first-hand experience of sustainable development and the inherent problem solving when aiming to benefit a local community in a developing country.
  • Learn and grow through embracing cultural diversity while investigating different aspects of the Cambodian community.

  • Date 6 - 12 June 2018 (subject to flight schedule)
    Location Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    Program Highlights 1. Learning about sustainable food sources and farming (aquaponics)
    2. Learning about the local environment and community in Wat Opot Community
    3. Cultural Exploration in Phnom Penh
    Note: Some orphans in the Wat Opot Community are HIV positive.
    Program Schedule
    Pre-trip workshops 28 March (Wed) 6:30 - 9pm
    12 April (Thu) 6:30 - 9pm
    9 May (Wed) 6:30 - 9pm
    1 June (Fri) 10:00 - 1pm
    Group preparation tasks March to June
    Additional sub-team consultation meeting As needed, subject to availability
    Cambodia Service Learning Trip 6 - 12 June
    Post-trip sharing session 15 June (Fri) 6:30 - 9:00pm
    Program Fee HK$5,700 (subject to final airfare available)
    • Participants may be able to reimburse up to HK$2,100 upon satisfactory completion of the whole service program., including attendance and active participation in group preparation tasks, workshops and submission of reflection report. (OSLG recipients who received subsidy HK$2,100 or over will not be grant the above mentioned subsidy.)

    • Student may apply for Connect Overseas Service Learning Grant (OSLG) to receive subsidy to cover part of the program fee. Additional consideration will be given to those with financial need. More details.

    • For Tertiary Student Finance Scheme (TSFS) government grant & loan recipients:
      Student should apply for "Subsidy on Exchange to "Belt and Road" Regions for Post-secondary Students (SSEBR)" from government. Successful applicant will be able to get subsidy of HK$5,700 x % of TSFS grant received. SSEBR application details.
      Example: if you receive 50% government grant, you will receive HK$2,850 subsidy via SSEBR. 
      In order to lessen the financial burden on government grant & loan recipients paying the full program fee up front, subject to presentation of TSFS notification of result during interview, grant recipients will get pre-approval of OSLG. Upon being awarded the SSEBR subsidy, student receiving pre-approved OSLG shall return the OSLG/SSEBR subsidy, whichever is lower, to HKUST Connect .
        Amount of government grant awarded Program fee payable
      Fee schedule for grant & loan recipients Over 75% of grant HK$1,425
      50-75% of grant HK$2,850
      25-50% of grant HK$4,275

    Program fee includes:
    • Round-trip flights to Phnom Penh, local transportation, accommodation (shared room), meals during program activities, entry fee for visits included in the official program, and travel insurance
    • Program fee does NOT include:
    • Personal expenses and expenses out of the official program, travel document/visa application, additional travel and medical insurance
    Requirement Students with relevant majors and/or experience will be preferred. Students from any discipline who are interested in sustainable development in underprivileged communities are also welcome to apply.
    Application Please complete the online registration form
    Application Deadline 18 March 2018 (Sun)
    Interview Interviews will be held on 20 to 21 March 2018. Shortlisted applicants will be notified via email.
    Note To ensure the quality of the service activities and a positive team experience, the organizer reserves the right to terminate the participation for any student who fail to attend 100% of the required pre-trip activities, and the program fee will not be refunded.
    Enquiries Robert Garrett (


    Last update: 8 Mar 2018