South-South Cooperation Boosts Cambodian Household Enterprises
Written by Manjunatha and Delia Paul Friday, 06 December 2013 16:25
Collaboration between Wetlands Alliance partners has boosted over 200 household enterprises in Northeast Cambodia by providing access to finance, skill development and job creation in the space of less than two years. The new jobs have provided incomes for fishing communities along the Mekong, whose livelihoods have been impacted by recent conservation efforts.
WWF, with the Government of Cambodia, has been working on conservation of the Irrawaddy dolphin, the giant Mekong catfish and the giant freshwater stingray for many years. As conservation efforts began to have impact, local communities in Kratie and Stung Treng requested assistance in establishing alternative livelihoods. The answer came through collaboration with Hand in Hand, India.
Hand in Hand organizes self-help groups in poor communities. These groups manage their own saving schemes that can provide financing for people to open their own businesses, generating additional household income. With Alliance partners the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT), Hand in Hand’s model has been successfully adapted to the Cambodian context.
The key to building sustainable and resilient rural communities is their ability to engage in and expand income-generating activities. However, more often than not, the communities in which the Alliance engages are too poor to make the investments needed that will allow them to expand and diversify their livelihoods and increase their incomes. CRDT, with Hand in Hand, are taking this approach to the next level, laying the foundation to create a thousand microenterprises.
Conserving Biodiversity Through Ecotourism
Written by Kelly Franklin and Delia Paul Friday, 29 November 2013 12:52
“What I really liked about this homestay was the fact that the money was spread out throughout the village so that many people benefited - our party stayed in two separate homestays on Koh Pdao so that two families profited and the food was cooked by another family so that they benefited too.”
- A guest on the Trip Advisor website, commenting on her visit to Koh Pdao, Kratie province with CRD Tours
Biological surveys of the Mekong River in Kratie and Stung Treng Provinces in 2006 ad 2007 found that a particular 55-km stretch between the two provincial capitals was one of the richest areas for biodiversity in the Mekong River Basin, and was a migration corridor for many species of fish, birds and turtles.
Yet, people in the area recall the steady decline of biodiversity in their lifetimes, as fishing, hunting and deforestation activities have all taken a toll.
Wetlands Alliance partners began establishing community-based ecotourism in the area in 2008. Today, tours are offered through a local partner, the Cambodian Rural Development Team, while other partners, WWF, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Sustainable Smiles, provide technical and research support. Visitors can choose from a range of activities that include cycling, trekking, boating and overnight stays in villages where they take part in daily activities.
Wetlands Alliance research shows that local people are eager to engage in activities that will help protect the environment, and have requested technical support, training and advice. School students have emphasized the importance of education and environmental conservation for their communities, and dream of pursuing careers as doctors, teachers, environmental managers and tourist guides. Community-based ecotourism is an important tool for bringing in the finances and job opportunities to launch these young people of the Mekong on their chosen paths.
Community-based Wetlands Tourism in Vietnam
Written by Diep Tham Ngoc and Delia Paul Monday, 25 November 2013 15:05
Wetland communities share many common features. Daily life is organized around the seasonal rise and fall of the river, birds and aquatic life are abundant, and local craft traditions draw on the natural materials around.
While promoting tourism to such locations is an obvious choice for improving livelihoods, the challenge for Wetlands Alliance partners has been to encourage community-based tourism that benefits as many households as possible.
The peaceful village of Tra Nhieu, on the southern central coast of Vietnam close to the tourist centre of Hội An, was one of the first to benefit from Alliance partners’ efforts.
The Wetlands Alliance began partnering with local agencies here in 2008. The Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism (CSTD) of Quang Nam province is the lead actor, while regional partner WWF plays an advisory role.
Since Alliance partners began supporting community-based tourism in the area, local people have trained in new hospitality skills, including tour guiding, cooking, account-keeping, and English language. The district authorities have allocated budget for upgrading the access road and improving rubbish disposal, and bamboo walkways have been constructed so that visitors can take a walk through the tall stands of nypa palm.
Since 2012, the production and marketing of sedge craft items have enabled more people in Tra Nhieu to enjoy the benefits of tourism, and there is scope to do more.
One important lesson, according to WWF, is that while government plays an important role in setting policy incentives for tourism development, the private sector is key to marketing tourism products.
You can contact the project through the WWF Greater Mekong office. Read more about the project in their forthcoming report, "Sustainable Wetlands Management in Quang Nam Province."
Capacity building – the PRAM approach in Laos
Written by Delia Paul Friday, 15 November 2013 00:03
“Government staff in the province want to get a higher certificate without leaving their job – we would like to do training in the PRAM approach!” – Fisheries administration official, Phnom Penh
Capacity building and cross-regional learning are key aims of the Wetlands Alliance, and the PRAM initiative on Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Management is one of its best examples.
Developed with Alliance partners in Lao PDR, the PRAM initiative is a professional development program offering government staff posted to remote areas the chance to earn their bachelor’s degree while acquiring the skills and motivation for reducing poverty. Educational institutions in the region support the programme, which builds up the knowledge and competencies needed for managing natural resources sustainably, promoting food security, and improving rural people’s health and quality of life. Teaching and learning takes place through textbooks, the Internet, practical experience on farms and in communities, and site visits around Lao PDR and Thailand. To complete the degree, each student works with local communities to complete four projects that will make a demonstrable difference in reducing poverty.
PRAM works in cooperation with an innovative provincial government agency in Thailand, UDICAD, which stands for "Udon Thani International Cooperation and Development." UDICAD coordinates government institutions in Udon Thani Province that have a role in PRAM, including Rajabhat University and several agricultural colleges.
A strong core of volunteers support PRAM, and Alliance partners have warmly received the initiative. The quote at the top of this post came from a senior fisheries official in Cambodia, during partner interviews carried out in January 2013. She appreciated the ways in which the project has made use of existing resources and channels, and she hoped that government officers in her country too would soon be able to combine formal study with the practical application of concepts learned.
You can learn more about the PRAM initiative and contact the project here: http://www.pramlaos.org
Page 1 of 7«StartPrev1234567NextEnd»