I have been working with CECAD for about 2 weeks and a half now.  The time has definitely passed by quickly.

The Center for the Environment and Community Assets Development (CECAD) is an environmental NGO that I am doing my PE with.  It targets the Muong ethnic minority who are usually small producers of vegetables and rice.  It carries on four main activities:

  • Cultural Preservation
    Villages participate in community-based tourism where they try to integrate tourists into their lives.  They also teach cultural practices and history to the kids.
  • Livelihood Improvement
    Villages work collectively and decide the practice they are going to focus.  Profits are divided evenly.
  • Environmental Protection / Health Improvement
    CECAD campaigns about the harmful effects of chemical pesticide use and the necessity to collect garbage.
  • Policy Advocacy
    Community members are encouraged to come together to discuss about their problems and propose solutions.  These are eventually brought up to local authorities.

I’ve been working on a grant proposal for a upcoming project.  The proposal will be submitted to the Korea Green Foundation, and hopefully we will granted $5,000 USD for the project.

Here’s a description of the project that I wrote:

This project is an educational campaign for vegetable producers, consumers, and tourists.  In specific, this project targets ten villages from ten communes out of twenty-two communes in the Tan Lac District, Hoa Binh Province that show the most interest towards organic farming. The campaign will utilitise multiple distribution channels to inform these three groups of audiences—farmers, consumers and tourists—about the health and environmental benefits of organic farming, biodiversity conservation, and places to purchase organic products.  Meetings with farmers will heavily be focused on biodiversity, health benefits, and organic farming methods. Meetings targeted at consumers will discuss availability and health benefits of safe vegetables and rice, biodiversity, and where to purchase organic produce. In addition to educating people about biodiversity and safer eating, we are supporting small producers of organic products in value chain by making the market more known (via meetings, leaflets, and posters) and accessible (via website / Facebook) by establishing a network of organic farming groups that would monitor the quality of produce and increase their market presence as a united producer.

I am happy that GPP 105 helped me write project proposals.

Anyway, my organization, with this project, is starting to shift towards a new approach.  The grant donors want to emphasize on biodiversity, but CECAD wants to improve livelihoods by connecting small producers to the market.  A market for the poor. This brings back memories.

I am still in the process of learning exactly how they do it, but it seems to be participatory and inclusive.  Bring all stakeholders into the process and be accountable.  It is through strong connections, working together, listening to one another, and teaching each other in a comfortable and equitable way that people could develop a place that would improve their livelihoods.  After meeting with each other on a local level, they bring their problems and solutions to the  local authorities.

Of course there is a lot critique for this method to work.  Participation needs to come from a representative good.  Local authorities must act on the behalf of the people, even though it seems like that they don’t care much.  People need to be able to effectively communicate with one another.  Connections between groups of people (we call them community-based organizations [CBOs]) need to be strong.  People need to agree or somehow meet each other halfway.  The list goes on and on.

Overall, I don’t feel like I’m doing much at the organization, but I feel like projects like the ones that CECAD carries out take time to plan and do.  I doubt I will be able to see my efforts into fruition, but as for now, I am happy that I am able to do what I can.  I’m still learning about the organization and hopefully will be able to be more detailed later.

Over and out.


PS. Here’s a poster that I created for them.  Took me a full week to do it, but I think it turned out nicely.

Task #1 at CECAD. Poster to represent its four main activities.
Task #1 at CECAD. Poster to represent its four main activities.

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