One of the projects that deals with action research on natural resource use and environment is 'Working Together for A Better Kachin Landscape (WLE) Project' with the Goal of 'Building Inclusive Governance Processes to address Resource Conflicts'. Its objectives are
- To understand local livelihoods and wellbeing, in relation to natural resource use and the environment and what issues are local people experiencing
- To help village to improve resource governance and livelihoods
- To help improve policies, governance, conflict reduction and democratic process.
- To raise awareness of these issues
Action research: Village resource mapping and wealth mapping, which are component of participatory tools, were conducted in 2015 to learn about the communities and their resource base and to understand the people's perceptions of wealth and welfare in their own villages in the project areas. Data on household level livelihood were also collected from 10% of total households in the villages in the project locations. Moreover physical resources assessment, data on water resources, ecosystem and governance, political and economy data were collected through interviews with community leaders in project areas. Through this activity community were enhanced their knowledge on the linkage between their usage and natural resource and how are the impacts.
The main issues are – Occupying of Huge Chinese Banana Plantation in community land and use of chemical fertilizer and pesticide, Gold Mining that destroy agriculture land and negative effect by use of mercury, Electric Shock Fishing, Illegal Logging and Saw Mill.
Regular Field visits by the Project Team to the villages in the project areas and meetings with the community helped understand the important facts on current challenges, issues and conflicts they were experiencing in their communities.
In order to share research findings and obtain inputs and suggestions from other CSOs, Learning & Sharing Workshops were held 3 times in 2016. CSOs that attended the workshops and their suggestions and contributions were as followed:
- Engagement of other organizations in the landscape approach.
- Conducting more research to explore advantages and disadvantages for the community on their ways of using natural resources.
- Eagerness for longer duration of the project with wider collaboration with others
Filming of documentary video: Interviews with a victim who lost his land for banana plantation of a Chinese company in their community, fishermen, victims of Myitsone Dam on how their lives and livelihoods were changed because of the construction of the dam and with Kachin State Minister of Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources were filmed. Hopefully, the short documentation film will be finalized and distributed to the community and policy makers very soon.
Research Findings Sharing Workshop to the Kachin State Members of Parliament was held in July 2016 at Palm Spring Resort in Myitkyina. There were 21 Members of Parliament of Kachin State attended and half of them were military representatives. The purpose of the workshop is to share project findings to the policy makers for adopting better policy (ies) in the future. The research findings of the project were shared and the attendees discussed interestedly on Irrawaddy Basin and Water, Landscape, Forest, biodiversity and Ecosystem. The advantages and disadvantages of dam construction were highlighted at the workshop. Through the workshop the project team could build up good relationship with the Kachin Parliamentarians.
Major Achievements of the project
Major achievements from the project included the useful research findings with supporting evidence that ready for advocacy purposes and possibly sharing at the National Political Dialogue in the future and having the opportunity for learning from experiences of other countries at the Mekong Forum organized by the WLE Mekong region in Bangkok, Thailand. The project team also shared the research findings there and was received attention from the representatives from the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Myitsone Dam.