mangrove nursery
© CSRD/ Strong roots, strong women

RISK Award Vietnam -
The journey to a more resilient coastline

An interim report

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    The aim of the 2021 RISK Award project “Strong roots, strong women” in Vietnam is to protect coasts against storms, floods and erosion using mangroves and to empower women to take active roles in disaster risk reduction. At the heart of the project is a mangrove nursery, run by our local project partner CSRD.

    Mangrove nursery survived the floods

    The mangrove nursery near Huế, Vietnam is developing well. The initial success of the project was at risk due the large floods caused by Cyclone Nuro in October 2022. The largest city near the project, Huế, was under water and our nursery was also affected. After the water receded, the damage was inspected. Fortunately, 18,000 seedlings of the plantation withstood the floods and are now ready to be planted along the lagoon.

    New cooperations supporting the nursery

    Entrance shield nursery
    © Antonia Witthoff / Munich Re Foundation

    Towards the end of the RISK Award funding period, CSRD is looking for ways to sustain the project. One promising approach is to attract funding from private sector companies who are looking for ways to invest CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) budgets. 

    CSRD is successful with this strategy. Last year, The Cotswold Company, United Kingdom, funded 15,000 externally bought seedlings. There are encouraging news: Two further companies have agreed to support the nursery and the mangroves project in Huế, Vietnam in 2023. For example, the Japanese restaurant chain ‘Mori’ is investing in the production of a new cycle of about 10,000 seedlings. 5,000 plants will be acquired from the project nursery and planted at the coast already this month. Further mangrove plantings will take place during the summer months. 

    Seedlings need space

    However, the project faces challenges going forward, one of which is finding space in suitable areas in the partnering communities for future mangrove plantings. The expansion and development of new mangrove areas depends on government permits and land allocations, which have not yet been granted. CSRD is also exploring new collaborations with further local communities to secure planting areas. 

    Eco-DRR theatre: Educational theatre with impact

    Performance in Hai Duong
    © CSRD/ Strong roots, strong women
    Theatre performance in Hai Duong to inform the public about the role of nature based solutions against climate change.
    An important part of the project is to promote measures to strengthen the resilience of the local population. At the end of November 2022, CSRD started an educational programme in the form of a theatre play in collaboration with the local ‘Women’s Union’. The aim is not only to increase visibility, but also to raise awareness and educate especially vulnerable members of the local communities along the lagoon (Hải Dương, Phú An, Phú Xuân, Quảng Lợi and Quảng Thái). The education program includes topics such as disaster risk reduction, the importance of ecosystems, women empowerment, waste, and the significance of mangroves. The theatre performances have been well received by the audience with over 700 participants and positive feedback from every community.

    Strengthen local livelihoods

    Communication event
    © CSRD/ Strong roots, strong women
    The theatre and livelihood festival, held in Hue City in February 2023, was well attended.
    In February 2023, a theatre and livelihood festival was held in Huế City. This event was well promoted and accompanied by the Vietnamese television channel TRT. From each village included in the RISK Award project, one group was selected and invited to attend. The groups presented their theatre play on DRR and the role of mangroves. Further, three selected initiatives of these villages could use the stage to present their ideas on alternative livelihoods once traditional options fail. This can be the case during emergency situations when disasters strike or caused by pandemic situations. Two proposals were selected to receive a small seed grant from the ‘Strong roots, strong women’ project. The two winners work on the development of organic food for fisheries and on planting mushrooms for producing organic fertilizers.

    Evaluation and impact measurement

    The project ‘Strong women, strong roots’ is accompanied scientifically. The evaluation of impacts on livelihoods plays a crucial role. Just recently parts of the data and results have been published in ‘Climatic Change’, an interdisciplinary, international journal on the effects of climatic change. In this publication, the effects of the mangrove nursery project were empirically investigated for the first time. This provides valuable insights for future research as well as for the implementation of state flood control plans.

    Planting seeds of change

    Small mangrove plant
    © Antonia Witthoff / Munich Re Foundation
    Overall, the mangrove nursery project in Vietnam is a step towards a more sustainable and resilient future for local coastal communities and ecosystems. With continued efforts and support, this project can continue to grow and expand, serving as a blueprint for the region and beyond.
    20 March 2023