While private investment is increasingly moved to mountainous, remote and isolated areas to exploit resources for profit, local people are concerned about how to practically protect the legitimate interests of the community? To answer this question, a training workshop on ‘Following the money and the role of the community' was organized for the LandNet members. 17 representatives of the Dao, Mong, Thai and Van Kieu ethnic communities from the four provinces of Lao Cai, Son La, Nghe An and Quang Binh attended the workshop.
Self-introduction of participants
From group discussion on three different investment capital chains, the participants identify the stakeholders and find the weaknesses of each investor, so as the affected community can influence and require investors to comply with state laws and standards of financial institutions. The participants link these discussed cases with the realities of projects and programs in their localities, and discuss ways to learn more about laws and regulations in investment chain to leverage the status of the community and the investor in order to protect the legal rights of local people.
Representatives from Quang Binh and Nghe An provinces tell stories of rubber enterprises and forestry enterprises holding and encroaching on community land, while not strictly implementing the State's policy on ensuring residential and productive land for poor ethnic minority people. A LandNet member shares his experience as a former commune official to promote the voice of local people and give advice to the commune leaders to prevent InnoGreen company from grabbing community land. Community representatives from Son La province share experience in requesting managers of a local hydropower plant to repair the road, which was degraded because of the company. A commune leader participant says that he has learned valuable experiences from LandNet members, and he finds it be possible to apply well to his management tasks, to ensure legal and effective investment in the locality.
Presentation of group discussion
On this occasion, LandNet members update the situation of forest protection, land use and livelihoods security of their localities. The members have an opportunity to exchange music and dance performance, learn experiences in promoting herbal medicine (especially herbal baths) and develop community services of the Red Dao people, when this event takes place at Sai Duan village, Phin Ngan commune, Bat Xat district of Lao Cai province.
Music and dance exchange in Sai Duan village
Members of LandNet acknowledge that rotating similar events in different localities has a multifaceted meaning, both enhancing members’ knowledge and creating opportunities to exchange and learn live experiences with other communities in the network.