A group of American University students took part in a Thua Thien Hue province study tour organised by the Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD).
The students, from many different universities in the USA, were part of the SIT Study Abroad, School for International Training. They visited several CSRD projects learning about hydropower, aquaculture, mangroves, composting and the environmental and social issues facing Vietnam.
Ms Lam Thi Thu Suu,CSRD Director and Ms Pham Thi Dieu My, Vice Director Technical, who have many years of experience in the fields of Social Development, Environment and Climate Change, gave the students an overview of the history and issues faced on a variety of local projects. This was followed by a visit to the project sites which included: Tam Giang Lagoon, Quang Dien district, the mangrove regeneration project in Con Te, Huong Phong Commune, Huong Tra town, the model of social composting in La Chu, Huong Chu commune, Huong Trà townand the Binh Dien hydropower dam, Huong Tra town. These tour sites helped participants see more clearly issues such as the practice of responding to climate change, the difficulties that displaced communities are facing with resettlement and fishery resources that are in decline in Tam Giang lagoon due to environmental impacts.
The students provided excellent feedback to CSRD following their tour. The study tours provide some financial benefit to the project sites and also help CSRD fund on-going work. CSRD plans to expand its programme of study tours to showcase and raise awareness of some of the issues faced in Vietnam as well as some of the activities that are bing introduced to combat social, environmental and cultural changes due to industrialisation, urban development and climate change.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding the Study Tour Programme or CSRD projects.
The Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) is a Hue-based, local non-government organisation (NGO) working to seek justice for vulnerable communities threatened by external change. We help to create community resilience to threats resulting from climate change, hydropower construction, agri-business and industry expansion. We do this through four key activities:
1. We research the real issues at the grass roots level and maintain grass roots buy in at all stages of project implementation.
2. We act as change agents and raise awareness by training and advocacy.
3. We empower the disadvantaged, particularly women, helping them realize their rights and how to make their voices heard.
4. We lead pilot projects such as mangrove planting, composting and child education to demonstrate change options.
‘We work to make a difference in people’s lives and to create communities that can adjust and succeed in moving towards a better future.’ Ms Lam Thi Thu Suu – Director CSRD.
Photovoices “Hydropower – Voices from Communities” is the reflection from the communities affected by the hydropower project in the SrePok river, the Vu Gia – Thu Bon river, Sekong river and Long Dai river in the Central Region – Highlands of Vietnam.
The Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) worked together with the communities to develop this collection of photovoices. These community voices feflect the impact on the environment and society of hydropower projects in the region.
To develop hydropower plants in area Central, Central Highland thousands of households were relocated for resettlement. Affected communities include: community in Ben Van (Phu Loc district), Duong Hoa commune (Huong Thuy town), A Luoi district in Thua Thien Hue province, Nuoc Lang village (Phuoc Xuan commune), Thon 2 (Phuoc Hoa commune), Dai Hong commune (Dai Loc district) in Quang Nam province, Ea Tung village and Buon Drai (Ea Na commune) in Dak Lak province and Quang Binh province.
After many years of relocation, most of the households here have said that their new home life is more difficult than in the old place, in particular the issue of livelihod and the environment.
“Since the hydropower dams, valuable fish species such as Chinh output fell 90 percent, Lau decreased 90 percent, Sao decreased 90 percent and somespecies disappeared such as Bin, Bop.” Ms Phan Thi Qua – Research group for indigenous knowledge (RGIK) in Ben Van (Thua Thien Hue province).
Since the relocation to new resettlement areas stock breeding activities are reduced more than before. The number of cows, herd are reduced by lack of land, settlement houses are “hot in the summer and wet in the winter”, some of the civil equiment is still not guaranted to meet the daily needs of the people, people are helpess to protect their property due to lack of information about the dam’s storage and water discharge,…
The impact hydropower dam bring for communities people are constantly calling for the support of the authorities to address their difficulties. However, these requests for help have not been satisfactorily resolved. Instead of investing in hydropower, Vietnam should focus on the energysources such as wind power, solar power,…to minimize the impact on people’s lives.
Another challenge CSRD is facing is funding. Some of our traditional donors have left Hue and others are refocusing away from Vietnam. To continue our work, we need to find new sources of income and this year we have launched a social enterprise initiative.
Our SuSuXahn ‘green’ shop will provide the people of Hue with safe,chemical-free fruit and vegetables. We are working with farmers who produce vegetables naturally and we hope to influence other farmers to use less pesticides and chemical fertilisers. The shop has started well, and we hope the success continues! We will assess our next steps in the course of the year.