Climate Change Adaptation Club: The first impression
Posted Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Source: www.warecod.org.vn
"My name is Valentin Benoit, I am 22-year-old French student and I work as a 1 month-intern at Center for Water resources Conservation and Development (WARECOD). I’ve heard about the organization via its website and via discussing with a classmate that made an internship in this NGO, who really appreciated the experience. I joined the NGO for several reasons: first, I wanted to  integrate the operation of an organization that goes on the field once a month to train the local communities ; then, I wanted to know more about the social impacts of the projects implemented by the Asian Bank of Development.


In a week, I already had the opportunity to achieve my first goal at WARECOD. Indeed, the team let me join them for a week of interventions with the local communities in the mountains in the North-East, near the frontier with China. I have known that all members of the two Climate Change Adaptaion Clubs (CCACs) were former local researchers – research conducted by local people, of the project “Promoting local adaptation of the Lo-Gam  River Basin’s water management to climate and environmental change” which WARECOD implemented with two groups of local people at Che Pen village (Pac Miau town, Bao Lam district) and Pac Pha village (Ly Bon commune, Bao Lam district). After a year conducted “local knowledge research about the effects of climate and environment changes”, these formers local researchers expressed their desires to set up “Climate Change Adaptation Club”. Under the facilitation of the WARECOD staff, the two clubs produced its monthly activities, including organize one event.

 

In this trip, I was able to participate in such an interesting communication event of the Pac Pha club on preventing downing to the most vulnerable people for the whole community, I am surprised to see that local people have been able to organize the event by themselves. Indeed, they came up with the ideas on downing issues (who are the most vulnerable people who live along the river basin); produced speeches, banners contents, and invited participants. I am also impressed that club members made important and well-structured speeches in front of an audience about how the community can avoid the risks on downing, especially for children and women. And finally, I found promising that some people stood up and related their own experiences on downing despite of their shyness.

After reading about empowerment at school, this gave me the opportunity to see how it works in practice. I was also surprised by the good-quality of the event because - from what I've heard about some actions that take place with others NGOs – usually it is hard to organize something efficiently in the poorest areas of the world. Here on the contrary, people were very enthusiastic and very attentive. The well-organized structure of the activities, that ended with testimonies and practical cases make me think that the role of WARECOD deeply benefits to the area. In addition, I received a very warm welcoming from the local people – both officials and inhabitants - who hosted me during the trip, invited me for dinner and wanted to know more about my country. They also gave me a Vietnamese name, “Tiên”, which basically means “the man in the mountain”. It occurred to me that the relationships between WARECOD and the officials are very important because they give the NGO a strong support in the implementation of its activities and enable the community to organize itself.

 


This trip helped me to understand that aid is not only about money but also about assistance and giving local people opportunities to gain independence. The best way to improve people's daily life is more than giving a financial support, it is giving them the means to raise their voices and improve their ability to organize necessary activities for the community themselves. As the old saying goes: “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for life”. This is something that WARECOD wisely integrated in its strategy."

 

Valentin Benoit

 

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