Climate Change Resilience workshops

 In Climate Change, Environmental Education & Waste Management, Stung Treng, Weekly update from the field

In November 2015, CRDT conducted Vulnerability Reduction Assessments (VRA) in three communes: Koh Preah, Sre Krasang and O’mreah, located in Stung Treng province. These communes are made up of 1798 families, with a total population of 7475 people, 3548 of which are women.

The VRAs illustrated that the top natural hazard in all three of the target communes is drought. The communities reported that drought has five main consequences: low crop yield, loss of income and capital, human diseases, death of animals, and lack of water for rice and agricultural production. The lack of water during dry season limits the community’s vegetable growing and also leads to the deaths of many livestock animals due to heat.

Because of the food shortage, many people from the communes decided to migrate to find work in other places, to get involved in illegal activities in the forest or to take out a loan.

Based on this information, CRDT decided to organize awareness-raising workshops to build the capacity of 900 community members to understand the consequences of climate change.

More importantly, the project will create a platform for Councils and communities to conduct bi-annual meetings where climate change issues will be explained. As well as this, the project will build the ability of 5 Commune Councils to conduct five other VRAs in villages in their communes. Empowering the Councils to conduct VRAs themselves will support their understanding of the local impact of climate change and provide ownership over action taken to adapt to climate change. CRDT will then facilitate a meeting between Commune Council members and village chiefs to discuss how the consequences of climate change can be best integrated into 2017 Commune Investment Plans.

In response to these problems, the overall purpose of this project is to promote climate change resilience among smallholder farmer communities along the Mekong River in order to improve water management and harvest more resilient agriculture. The project also aims to put climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction at the forefront of the commune development plan in order to reduce the vulnerability of local communities.

In fact, in October 2016, three awareness workshop were implemented in three villages: Sre Krosang, Tbong Kla and O’ Mreah. 414 participants (196 women) joined the workshops. They were organized at night-time in the pagoda of the villages. The objectives of these workshops were to raise awareness about climate change amongst the public and, through video, presentation and discussion, to explain how disaster risk management could be adapted.

The participants were asked to name at least three climate change signals and to explain the consequences these signals have had on their lives. After the presentation, videos were screened on three different topics:

●     The meaning and cause of climate change,

●     The impact of climate change

●     The mitigation and adaptation options for community members.

Videos were easier to understand for the community members than long speeches, and the assembly looked very interested. After the workshop, the authorities and community members expressed their satisfaction and interest about what they learnt during the workshop. The survey carried out at the end of the workshop showed that 82% of participants have a better understanding of the concept of climate change and how to adapt to it.

Kheng Bunheng

STG Project Manager

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