Social-Ecological Transformation, Vietnam | 2024-06-01

Supporting Education on Social-Ecological Transformation in Vietnam

Center for Development of Community Initiative and Environment (2015 to 2023)

Participants of the 'Eco-Week' 2020 on a field trip in Southern Vietnam.

Source: C&E

The global environmental crisis is increasingly effecting everyday life in Vietnam. The country’s youth will inevitably play an important role in tackling this complex challenge. Yet, academic debates often focus solely on the economic aspects of sustainability, thereby neglecting systemic, ecological and social factors. The concept of Social-Ecological Transformation (SET) attempts to deal with this shortcoming. Since 2015 the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) Hanoi office has been collaborating with the Center for Development of Community Initiative and Environment (C&E) to advance SET within Vietnam’s higher education. They initiated a series of projects ultimately aimed at supporting Vietnam’s youth in finding solutions to socio-ecological issues and educating their communities.

A major part of all projects were 'trainings of trainers' (TOT) programs. University lecturers from different Vietnamese universities participated in workshops on sustainability and SET. Later, C&E assisted the lecturers in passing on what they have learned to the students at their home universities. A second component of the projects were the annual 'Eco-Week' events. Hundreds of university students were able to join extensive workshop programs, which included opportunities to learn practical skills and develop their own initiatives. Talks were given by experts on ecology and complemented with open discussions among students and attending TOT lecturers. Most importantly, the students were encouraged to translate their newfound knowledge about SET into tangible action within their communities.

In 2022 and 2023, C&E additionally hosted a student exchange between Vietnamese and German university students. Participants spend a week abroad and had the chance to learn about challenges and SET-based solutions in different contexts. Visits included a community-supported agriculture farm near Berlin and the Cuc Phuong National Park in Northern Vietnam. The students exchanged ideas and learned from each other’s struggles. Overall, this series of projects promoted and developed the SET concept within and beyond Vietnam’s higher education. Hundreds of students were motivated to launch their own initiatives tackling socio-ecological issues. C&E and RLS Hanoi managed to set a promising example for future political education in the field of sustainability and SET among Vietnam’s youth.

Center for Development of Community Initiative and Environment (C&E)

C&E is a Vietnamese non-governmental organization established in 2008. C&E aims to promote grassroots participation and supports local community groups and organizations in tackling the environmental issues that affect their lives.

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