Cultural Identity and Resource Use Management (CIRUM) works at grassroots level to assist the development of community based organisations, develop models of sustainable forest management and land use and rights, provide services to forest peoples to build their capacity to lobby and advocate on their own behalf, and to assist communes and districts in land allocation programmes. CIRUM’s worktargets forest living and forest-margin living ethnic minority people in mountainous areas of Vietnam, who are the most deprived and excluded people in Vietnamese society.
The increasing pressures on forest lands and forest conflicts are a continuous source of challenge to minority groups to sustain their livelihoods, stability and identity. Therefore, all of CIRUM’s interventions aim to solve forest and land conflicts, and secure ethnic minority people’s rights to access, control and benefit from their forest and land resources in a way that is sustainable and in line with their own values, needs, knowledge and customs.
CIRUM believes that all people have inherently equal dignity and rights. Therefore CIRUM seeks to affirm and promote the equal rights, opportunities and status of men and women. CIRUM acknowledges that in order to do this, studies to understand the roles, tasks and responsibilities of women and men have to be conducted, with results integrated into their programs.
The organisation Towards Ethnic Women (TEW) was established in 1991 when it was identified that ethnic minority women required assistance in regards to land rights and forest use and management. Three organisations have evolved from TEW; CIRUM, SPERI and CODE, and all work towards supporting ethnic minority groups in land rights and forest use and management. These three organisations now work as an alliance under the Livelihood Sovereignty (LISO) Alliance. This alliance allows the organisations to share resources to enhance each other’s programs.
This gender policy builds on the practical experience of TEW, CIRUM and the LISO alliance and creates opportunities for the organisation and alliance to continue to work with both women and men to promote gender equality within the organisation, the alliance and their programs.