Sekong, Sesan and Srépok (3S) are the 3 major and important rivers of the Mekong river. The flow of the 3S impact over 17,000 inhabitants residing along them. The modernization and urbanization processes of Vietnam have accelerated the energy demand of the country.
In the Central Highlands, in the recent years, a massive number of hydropower projects have been planned and ratified with a hope to generate sufficient energy for the region’s development. This region is amongst the ones that have the highest number of hydropower projects at the moment. As statistics show, only on the 3S, there have been nearly small and medium sized 80 hydropower projects recognized, while 50 of them are operating. In A Luoi (Thua Thien Hue), Cu Jut (Dak Nong) and Buon Don (Dak Lak) districts, the hydropower plants of all sizes have divided the rivers into pieces, which have been impacting negatively in many ways and long-term manners to the sustainable and stable development of hundred of households living along them. Amongst these households, the most vulnerable and impacted are those who were resettled by the hydropower projects. The journey to voice and gain their rights and benefits, in parallel with the struggles to survive and rise up in the new places have shown significant challenges, growing unrest, and serious consequences.
From September 2015 to June 2017, CSRD under the sponsorship by Oxfam implemented the project “Piloting Gender Impact Assessment with A Luoi and Srépok 3 dam along 3 S area in the Central and Central Highland Vietnam” (GIA1) with an overall goal is to support the dam companies and related government agencies to be able to take stronger consideration of gender in hydropower development along the 3S river area in the Central and Central Highland Vietnam. In order to achieve the goal, the project tries to gain the three specific objectives:
- To better understand the gender impact of the A Luoi and Srépok 3 dam on the local livelihood
- To enable government agencies, dam companies to put the gender issues and women’s interest in the center of decision making.
- To strengthen capacity of a gender focal point within VRN, Local Women Union and GENCO 1 and GENCO 3 of EVN
Shortly after GIA1 ended, since the need to maintain the promote the initiated changes by the project, especially with a focus of impact on women groups was mutually agreed amongst stakeholders, a follow-up project titled “Enhancing Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in dam affected communities along 3S area in the Central and Central Highland Vietnam” (GIA2) were implemented with the following objectives:
- To enhance the enabling environment for women’s economic activities by promoting women’s social networks and increasing the access to financial assets for women affected by the dams of A Luoi and Srépok 3.
- To advocate for full and adequate SIA and GIA in the EIA process of the hydropower dams in Vietnam
- To strengthen capacity and networking of indigenous people- especially indigenous women along the 3 S rivers and across the border to raise voice on dam impacts
On this basis, GIA2 project is designed to reach these specific outcomes:
- Shared responsibility among EVN, CHP, Provincial Women Union
- Local livelihood initiatives and women leadership in economic activities are recognized as sustainable and adaptive models in context of the new gender roles in the affected areas of A Luoi, Cu Jut and Buon Don
- Wider audience such as INGOs, VNGOs, GOs, private sectors, development partners and individuals, communities will have opportunity to learn about GIA, SIA and get interested in GIA, SIA
- Networked women across the border to raise voice on gender impact and social impact by the dams draws public attention and support
– Policy brief: Gender impact assessment of hydropower project on Srepok river – 2017: Detail
– Photovoice: Where the river flows backwards: Water, gender and development 2017: Detail