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Results and lessons learned from the study tour in the Mekong Delta
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Results and lessons learned from the study tour in the Mekong Delta

1. Reasons

Since 2004, the organization ICCO - The Netherlands and Hue Center for Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) has partnered each other to develop poor and disadvantaged communities through support projects for settled fishing community in the Tam Giang lagoon. Because CSSH’s fields of activities are consistent with the mission of ICCO and CSSH has proven its capability and effectiveness of the project activities, the two sides have co-operated each other and is building plans for long-term cooperation process.

In early 2011, ICCO continued to support CSSH for the implementation of Phase 05 of the project “Strengthening the right to land and water use and management for fishermen in the Tam Giang lagoon, Phu Vang district, Thua Thien Hue". This is a practical project focused on important activities such as advocacy for land fund building for settled fishing community, the promotion of empowerment of fishing right and construction of fisheries protection zones in the Tam Giang Lagoon.

To improve the efficiency of project activities, from 19 – 23 October, 2013, CSSH organized the study tour for all staffs and communities in the provinces of the Mekong Delta (MRD).

2. The purposes

- Study of the successful model of fish raising into boat houses on the river and applied in the Tam Giang lagoon.

- Study of the successful model of water surface management and water surface management experience.

- To acquire the experience from the implementation of strategies of adaptation, mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the Mekong Delta.

- Build relationships and cooperation between CSSH with partners in the Mekong Delta.

3. Participants

CSSH’s Board of Directors and staffs, the target communities of the project, including local authorities, head of fisheries associations, Women’s union and members of the beneficiary communities. The total of participants is 15 members.

4. The main results from the study tour

- In Can Tho: The group heard the sharing of the research results as well as the operation of projects from the representative of Research Institute of Climate Change (DRAGON), Can Tho University and Research Network of plains and global observation by Mr. Le Anh Tuan. The two sides shared, discussed and exchanged the important issues about the main trend of climate change (CC) in the Mekong Delta and the current context as well as the trend of climate change, impacts and solutions of adaptation and mitigation through the application model for the Mekong Delta (adapted seed of rice, the mangrove trees, straw mushroom, biogas.... ). Ending of the meeting, CSSH and DRAGON raised the fields for cooperation each other in the future and given souvenirs between the two organizations.

- In An Giang: The group visited the village of fish raising into boat houses (Chau Doc). Here the group was shared experiences of fish raising into boat house on the river. With favorable natural conditions, people here have taken advantage with an efficient way to create livelihoods, find and increase their income, especially the model of fish raising into boat house on the Hau River. Currently, there are over 200 household with over 1000 boat houses, each boat house is 20m long, 10m wide, 10m deep and local people live on their boat house. The main species of fish are catfish, heng fish and carp fish. Fish are harvested and sold after 6 months and sold to factories and enterprises of seafood processing plants in the nearest areas. According to local people, fish raising into boat house is not always favorable year by year, if there is disease, they will have a huge failure, the households must link to banks to take capital for taking care of fish and paid back after the sale.

The management of fish raising into boat houses and water surface with the form of self-management and river habitat, all people are aware of the important role of preserving and protecting the environment in the river basin.

- In Ben Tre: The group visited community-based eco-tourism area with effective livelihood models and the economic value, such as honey bees as livestock, services for tourists as the real embroidery textile, handicrafts of Champa culture, art and cultural forms of "don ca tai tu" , river cruises, coconut candy production ...

Beside main destinations, the group also visited the cultural areas of the South as the Floating Market, how to deal with flooding season of local people through the building, making the boat, production and life...

5. The method used in the process of study tour

Study tour was used with the primary method of observation, personal interviews, interview, recording... The group assigned the task to members and has obtained very useful information. These are valuable experiences for CSSH as well as key community groups. This information will be shared and applied selectively at the communities in the Tam Giang lagoon where the project is implemented by CSSH.

6. The lessons learned from the study tour

- Determine the right purpose and suitable place to visit with the initial request for project activities to learn and absorb more information and achieve the expected results and apply into the selective project models.

- The construction and development of the livelihood models, tourist destinations and services for community tourism development... need to study and understand local knowledge, customs, culture and be consistent with the geographical environment in order to enhance economic efficiency, promote ecological ​​and humanistic values.

- The organizations of the state and project implementation units need to create the "open mechanism" to promote the role of the Centers, research institutes, NGOs, researchers in attracting resources of development and investment for projects, especially in the field of agricultural applications, aquaculture ...

- Mobilizing the participation of stakeholders in order to maximize the role and effectiveness of resources and integrate into key programs, which is important for the output of farm products. (For example, banks, businesses, political organizations, associations, buying plants...).

- The models as fish raising into boat house, beekeeping and other agricultural activities are unstable due to: being extorted season, failure crop without borrowing, environmental change, climate change, disease ... Thus, the state, policies enacted by the state, associations protecting the products of local people need more practical and to promote the role to protect the rights for farmers.

- To learn the enhancement of community activities to promote regional project areas to promote additional services, community based ecotourism, sightseeing locations. However, they must fit the customs and culture, especially adapted to the geographical, climate and weather of the region.

- Need to connect with the centers, the project implementation organizations to be shared more about the activities and experiences, especially extended study tour to learn more geographical areas and other issues.

- Organizing to share, summarize, reporting assignments, writing after the study tour to improve the efficiency of project activities, especially target locations of the project in particular and the central region in general.

CSSH and community