Developing Sustainability through Environmental Education, Vietnam

Vietnam’s forests are disappearing: from covering 44% of the country in 1943, today they have been reduced to an estimated 15%. The remaining forest fragments form small islands of biodiversity amidst a sea of 79 million people, and are under continued threat from hunting, logging, collection of other forest products and conversion to agriculture.

Vu Thi Quyen leading the ENV training programme for four staff from Na Hang Nature Reserve and Ba Be National Park Awareness Programmes. In 1996, when it had become apparent that enforcement alone was not the answer to protection of these remaining forests, Flora and Fauna International (FFI) set up an educational training programme based around the Cuc Phuong National Park., led by Ms Vu Thi Quyen.

In four years, with initial technical assistance from FFI, Quyen has undertaken a mammoth task. The Cuc Phuong Conservation Project has set up community-based environmental education programme right around the park. Conservation Clubs are now active in 45 schools bordering the park, and involve more than 15,300 primary and middle school students. An adult-focused conservation education project reaches all 16 communes bordering the park.

Students and conservation club leaders are planting trees at their school. Along with basic conservation education programmes, Quyen’s organisation has successfully transferred the management of the education programme to national staff and local leadership. Practising a ‘learning by doing’ approach, the pragmatic approach has been highly successful. As a result, there has been a significant shift among policymakers away from simple enforcement to a change in the environmental behaviour in the communities who live there.

Against considerable obstacles, Quyen has overcome the low level of education, corruption and nepotism by building capacity and developing a uniquely Vietnamese response to environmental education. Lately, the staff at the training centre have expanded their activities to deliver specialised training programmes for ranger staff and others from nearby parks, as well as those from as far away as Cambodia, making the project a model for the entire Indo-Chinese region. The project’s newsletter has been described as ‘the most informative and analytical conservation newsletter in Vietnam, bar none.’

Ms Quyen is now in the process of setting up Vietnam’s first-ever non-governmental conservation organisation, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) and a training centre which will teach people around the country about their participatory approach to community conservation education.

PROJECT UPDATE

In 2003, Vu Thi Quyen received a Continuation Award for her ongoing work.

READ THE LATEST UPDATES ABOUT ENV’S WORK IN VIETNAM

ENV’s regular news bulletins include updates of their work and summaries of the top environment-related stories appearing in the national press. For a list of ENV’s bulletins, click here.

NEW HOTLINE TO HELP PROTECT VIETNAM’S WILDLIFE LAUNCHED

January 7th 2005

ENV have established a hotline to assist wildlife protection authorities in efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam – (04) 775 4850.

TAM DAO SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS PROGRAM LAUNCHED

February 21st 2005

During the first week of February the Tam Dao Nature Club was launched in secondary schools bordering Tam Dao National Park. The new program administered by Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) in cooperation with Tam Dao National Park and the Tam Dao district Department of Education and Training (DET) is aimed at raising awareness amongst local residents about the need to protect nature and the environment, with particular emphasis upon issues relevant to Tam Dao National Park.

To read more, please click here.

ENV ESTABLISHES NATURE CLUBS IN HANOI SECONDRY SCHOOLS

April 18th 2005

Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) is bringing its experience from the forests of Vietnam and hitting the streets of Hanoi with a new environmental education program in Hanoi schools that was launched at the end of March, 2005. In cooperation with the Hanoi Retraining College for Teachers and Educational Managers (HRCTEM), ENV is working with ten local secondary schools to establish nature clubs for students aimed at raising their awareness of urban environmental issues.

To read more about ENV’s education work in Hanoi, please click here.

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