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Strong roots, strong women: empowering women for community and coastal ecosystem resilience in central Vietnam

‘Strong Roots, Strong Women’ uses Eco-DRR to empower women for community and coastal ecosystem resilience in central Vietnam.
Multiple Authors
Women selling fish at a local market (by René Arnold).
Watch this video by the RISK Awards about “Strong roots, strong women”, which won 1st place in 2021.

Introduction

Environmental and climatic changes are projected to worsen with continued emissions of greenhouse gases, ecosystem degradation, population growth, urbanization and economic development. These changes magnify the risk of climate-driven disasters by increasing the frequency and intensity of hazards like floods, altering exposure patterns, and decreasing the coping capacities of particularly vulnerable societal groups in many regions.

Thua Thien Hue is a coastal province in central Vietnamfacing chronic stress from flooding. This was highlighted in October 2020, when at least 178,000 homes were flooded in central Vietnam.

Nature-based solutions, including ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), have recently gained increased attention as no-regret alternatives that can complement, or even replace, grey infrastructure.As Eco-DRR is more inclusive and accessible for vulnerable groups of society, and because ecosystems support the livelihoods of those directly depending on natural resources, it makes it a promising means to support and protect those who are more vulnerable to natural hazards and climate change. Mangroves, for instance, not only reduce flood risks and coastal erosion but provide many co-benefits supporting local livelihoods.

​Strong Roots, Strong Women, recipient of the 2021 RISK Award of the Munich Re Foundation and UNDRR, uses Eco-DRR to empower women for community and coastal ecosystem resilience in Central Vietnam.Key activities supported by the 2021 RISK Award include the establishment of a community-run mangrove nursery as well as capacity building and awareness raising through lively theatre plays performed by members of the local Women’s Union.

* A report on previous activities of the project can be found in the featured download.

A figure showing the benefits people derive from mangroves. Credit: IUCN & Save Our Mangroves Now!

Methods and Tools

To empower women for community and ecosystem resilience, the following activities shall be implemented over a period of two years jointly with provincial and local stakeholder in coastal Thua Thien Hue.

Establish a mangrove nursery at Tiam Giang Lagoon

A first core activity is to set-up a community-run mangrove nursery jointly with the local Women’s Union in coastal Hai Duong commune. The nursery will be run by a community group, with the active participation of women. The community group was established during the previous project. The community group will be supported by the main decision-making body at the communal level. The mangrove nursery shall provide direct income from Eco-DRR to vulnerable groups. Revenue from the nursery shall contribute to an innovative community fund. This fund can be accessed by women for livelihood activities or for recovery from flood impacts.The mangrove nursery shall thus enable Hai Duong commune to meet their own request to enlarge the existing mangrove area, to generate a direct income from Eco-DRR supporting economic and social stability of women, and to enhance ecosystem resilience of the Tam Giang Lagoon.