The construction of the Ta Trach Reservoir, in 2004, forced nearly 4,000 people (mostly from the Van Kieu and Kinh ethnic minority groups) to be re-settled in other areas of the Phu Loc District in Central Vietnam. In the new location these people struggled to re-build their lives.
The areas they were re-settled in are harsh, one site is a hillside with 20-40 percent incline.
Agreements that each household would be given at least one hectare of land for homes and agriculture, as well as some forested land, have not been met.[Why Hydropower dams cause social and environmental problems]
The women in these resettled communities have a weak voice and effectiveness. They have diminished decision-making power and find themselves dependent on men, Before re-settlement the men and women worked jointly to grow rice and vegetables, to fish and were able to meet their daily living needs.
The project consisted of running a series of workshops in five hamlets of re-settled communities to educate women – and the men in the community of their rights.[Why is Gender an issue in Vietnam]
In the new areas they have poor access to water, rocky, infertile and unproductive land and the family members are forced to find seasonal work with large farms, plantation owners or factories in Ho Chi Minh City. Men often have to migrate leaving the women to cope alone.
Results were positive. Women understood their rights and their ability to take the initiative. They asked a representative from the Department of Justice about their lack of productive land in the resettled area. There is now a working relationship between the community women and the Department of Justice. These communities also joined a new network of Central Region communities who are impacted by Hydropower plant operations and have learnt how to monitor and collect data to record the impact of hydropower on their lives.
Donor: Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD)
Project Date: 2012 – 2013
Location: Phu Loc District, Thua Thien Hue