Grassroots Environmental Advocacy in a Developing Country
Astonishingly exotic and utterly compelling, Vietnam is a country of breathtaking natural beauty with a unique heritage. This FieldWorks project will introduce team members to the local Vietnamese NGO community and their efforts to preserve this beautiful country.
The first week will focus on Danang, Vietnam’s third largest city trying to balance economic development with tourism, fishing, and environmental concerns. The second week will focus on Hoi An an important cultural and environmental resource with a thriving tourist industry that depends on a healthy environment. As is true of all FieldWork Projects, relationship building is a key element with the goal of continued cooperation and collaboration with these great NGOs into the future.
FieldWork team members will learn about the challenges of NGOs in a developing country like Vietnam and explore how Vietnamese people are dealing with environmental issues on a grassroots level. They will work side by side with leaders in environmental preservation and sustainable development in two diverse communities.
The two-week project has been developed in collaboration with University of Danang , GreenViet Environmental Center, Danang River Watch, Action for the City and other local environmentally focused NGOs working in Central Vietnam.
Dr. Thi Kihn Kieu, Doctor of Environmental Management, (Focus: Education for Sustainable Development) is the Lead University of Danang Faculty on the project.
FieldWork Projects are designed using experiential learning methodologies.
Challenge and Experience followed by Reflection leading to Learning and Growth. That is experiential learning expressed most simply. Experiential education is a methodology that purposefully engages learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities. Experiential learning is also referred to as learning through action, learning by doing, learning through experience, and learning through discovery and exploration, all which are clearly defined by these well-known maxims:
"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."
~ Confucius, 450 BC
"Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I will learn."
~ Benjamin Franklin, 1750
The Grassroots Environmental Advocacy in a Developing Country project described below is an experience designed to build understanding and connection between dedicated advocates working to protect Vietnam’s environment and the FieldWork Team Members as they learn from each other.
Credit: 1 academic credit from the University of Danang
Example Project Itinerary
Saturday FieldWork Team Members will arrive at Danang International Airport and will be greeted by staff and transferred to University of Danang . Once all participants have arrived they will be assigned dorm rooms and have dinner.
Sunday Breakfast at University dining hall with local students. Detailed orientation of the project. Explore local area and Danang waterfront and beaches. Welcome dinner buffet of Vietnamese Street Food and introduction to local customs and etiquette.
Monday Water sampling project with Danang River Watch (a local NGO) travel by bicycle to river sampling location and take samples. Afternoon: Sample analysis at the university lab.
Tuesday Site Visit to Khanh Son landfill.
Afternoon: Discussion of community recycling and waste management issues and opportunities
Wednesday and Thursday
Biodiversity conservation projects with the local NGO GreenViet Biodiversity Conservation Center, complete projects on the Son Tra Peninsula designed to support critical habitat for the gray shanked douc langur.
FieldWork participants will work GreenViet leaders and staff to learn about how this great NGO works in Vietnam, relationship with government and developers, funding challenges, and look for opportunities to take action back in the USA to support their mission in the future.
Friday Site visit to aquaculture fish farming facility followed by visit to traditional fishing community.
Saturday Transfer to Hoi An and community orientation and exploration.
Sunday More activities in Hoi An visit to market and ancient city
Monday Work on sustainable development projects in Hoi An led by Action for the City, a local NGO focused on creating sustainable cities in Vietnam
Tuesday and Wednesday Departure for Cu Lao Cham island Warm up and settle into Homestay Talk with local expert and learn how to manage “zero nylon” in Cu Lao Cham island. Coral reef exploration with Marine Biologist. Environmental Survey with local residents.
Thursday Return to University of Danang for final presentation and Project Completion Party (outdoor BBQ)
Friday Transfer to Danang Airport 2 hours before flight, or continued independent travel.