Quan Ba District in the most northern mountain province of Ha Giang is home to some of the poorest people in Vietnam, mainly belonging to ethnic minorities (Hmong, Dao, Giay and Tay). The main livelihood strategy is upland agriculture. Natural resources are partly severely degraded: There has been drastic deforestation, mainly due to an increased population pressure on natural resources and the need of the local population to maintain their livelihoods. As a consequence, Quan Ba District is suffering from land slides, soil erosion, floods during rainy season and drought spells during the dry season. Furthermore, a widespread lack of awareness towards environmental issues, leads to problems like water wasting, insufficient household hygiene and uncontrolled rubbish deposit and burning.
Starting in 2002, Caritas Switzerland together with local authorities, project partners and beneficiaries elaborated an Integrated Community Development Project in three communes of Quan Ba District. The project uses a holistic and integrated SLA approach (â€œsustainable livelihoods approachâ€). By making use of this approach, integrated community development can be achieved through a combined targeting of a set of different but related and linked needs. One of the defined needs is an increased environmental awareness towards sustainable use and maintenance of environment and natural resources. The environmental awareness component is the only component that has not yet started. The aim is to integrate this component into other project components and to enable the environmental awareness program to follow up on issues which have begun to arise within ongoing other components to gain mutual synergies and to achieve greater impact.
From mid 2007 until end of 2008, Caritas works with PanNature to implement environmental awareness raising activities geographically in three selected villages: Lang Tan (Thanh Van Commune), Khau Lan (Quyet Tien Commune), and Lung Tam Thap (Lung Tam Commune). This piloting program focuses mainly on primary school students and local households. The piloting activities can be extended to further locations and linked with other themes and activities within Quan Ba District in a later stage of the project.
Environmental Awareness Program Objectives
By end of 2008, within three selected villages:
- Households are aware of the importance of improved household hygiene and sanitation and show changed practices and attitudes towards related environmental issues;
- Children on Primary School level 4 and 5 understand the importance of environmental conservation and show increased commitment for their environment through:
- Actively participating environmental education lesson plans at schools
- Involving in clean-up and tree planting activities at schools and communities.
Main Program Activities
1. School Activities
- Training for primary teachers on environmental education skills and techniques
- Training for teachers on lesson plan development and teaching skills
- Development of extra-curriculum environmental activities for school
- Development of simple teaching aids and materials
- Support teachers carrying out environmental education lesson plans
2. Community Activities
- Training for village environmental awareness teams
- Implementation of a village program
- Training on simple environmental techniques
3. Joint Activities
- Environmental campaigns: regular village clean-up campaigns to keep main roads, gardens, and houses clean and tidy.
- Oriented learning tour
4. Awareness Materials
- Educational poster
- Provision of educational materials for schools