*On March 6-7, 2018, the Forest Land Alliance and its member organizations welcomed a delegation of over 24 members from Oxfam’s international staff and partner organisations to Quang Binh province. The delegation included representatives from Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Indonesia, Cambodia and other developing countries around the world.
SEED and CIRD shared our experiences with models of effective management of land and forests of ethnic minority communities. With support from Oxfam and other international donors, results have been very positive in forest protection and development as well as land management for ethnic minority communities. Participants were interested to learn more about these projects and if and how they could apply these models in their own countries.
Over the years, CIRD and SEED have worked under the Forest Land Alliance (FORLAND) implementing projects to assist people in the protection and management of land and forests. Many of our projects work with ethnic minority communities in the mountainous western region of Quang Binh province, close to the Laos border. Many ethnic minority communities are very poor, living in isolated areas with few resources.
CIRD has been working with the Ma Lieng ethnic community for many years. The Ma Lieng are a small community of roughly 250 households/1528 people. They are part of the Chut ethnic group and live in Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces.
The overall objective of the projects are to preserve forest and forest resources in the watershed ecosystem by promoting awareness and knowledge. SEED and CIRD shared experiences with projects in three communes in Tuyen Hoa district (Truong Son, Quang Ninh, and Lam Hoa). Studying customary law and the culture of the Ma Lieng people has made the project more sustainable.
Visit to Ma Lieng village
After learning about the work of CIRD and the projects in Tuyen Hoa district, the delegates visited Ke village to learn about the model of community forest management and land management. Mr Dung, Ke village elder, and Ms Lam, community leader from nearby Cao village, welcomed the delegates to the community meeting room and shared their experiences and insights.
Mr Dung explained that in the past Ma Lieng people lived in the forest and practiced shifting agriculture. However, when the government banned this practice it created many difficulties for the Ma Lieng people. They did not have enough food and were illiterate. However, over the years quality of life has improved due to a number of projects and the community now have enough food and can afford other goods such as motorbikes. The children attend school and can read and speak Vietnamese, while also speaking their own Ma Lieng language.
Mr Dung and Ms Lam and a representative from the local authorities also responded to questions from delegates regarding forest management, problems and future plans.
Ms Lam explained that members of nearby Cao village complained to the government because they did not officially have access to land. However, they have since reclaimed more than 200 hectares from the state forestry company and this has improved the livelihood of the community. Cao village now has access to clean water and people receive payments for protecting the forest. However, she noted that there are still many poor households in the community.
After the presentation delegates met many members of the Ke village community and were given a tour of the village.
Readers can download the organization’s supporting materials to learn more about land management activities here: