Erosion – The Fight at the West Coast

Participatory Storytelling at the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

Erosion Booklet-1

download the full Media Booklet here

The Mekong Delta (or the Nine Dragon River Delta) is a low-lying coastal region located in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the ocean through a network of distributaries. Having many natural advantages, the Delta is known to be the country’s most productive region for agriculture and aquaculture products.

During recent decades, the Mekong Delta has become more vulnerable to natural and human-caused disasters. In addition to the pressure from economic development activities, such as dam construction for hydropower plants in the upper regions of Mekong river basin, the Delta has to face the impact of storms,
floods and the other potential impacts of climate change. The Mekong Delta is among the world’s most vulnerable deltas to sea level rise.

Many areas of the Mekong Delta region are forecasted to become flooded by seawater and more intensive and frequent natural catastrophes are predicted. In the memory of many Ca Mau people, disasters such as hurricane Linda (1997), called the “fifth storm”, remain unforgettable.

Erosion along the West Coast of the Mekong Delta has been
significant and is seriously threatening communities.
Houses and farming land have been washed out, threatening the lives of the people. In efforts to stop erosion, different types of protection have been established along the shoreline of the Mekong Delta, including mangrove reforestation as an ecosystem approach to the construction of concrete dykes. However, the most coastal areas still remain non- or insufficiently protected.

The Mekong Delta (or the Nine Dragon River Delta) is a low-lying coastal region located in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the ocean through a network of distributaries. During recent decades, the Mekong Delta has become more vulnerable to natural and human-caused disasters. In addition to the pressure from economic development activities, such as dam construction for hydropower plants in the upper regions of Mekong river basin, the Delta has to face the impact of storms, floods and the other potential impacts of climate change. The Mekong Delta is among the world’s most vulnerable deltas to sea level rise.

PanNature, a vietnamese environmental NGO, together with its partners planned to document the situation of the people living at the West Coast of the Mekong Delta. During the field trip to film the impacts of the erosion, PanNature together with ParticipatoryStory met inhabitants of Ca Mau and Kien Giang and empowered them to develop their own audio-slideshow to motivate them to tell their stories. This project also included the production of a more detailed and informative video about the situation at the Mekong Delta. This video contains three episodes, which you can find at the end of this post. Parts of this project have also been used for the multi-media exhibition on climate change “KlimaTisch“. But first, here is what the inhabitants of the Mekong Delta wanted us to know…


Mrs. Hua Thi The, Kien Giang province


Mrs. Lam Thi Diep, Kien Giang province

Climate change is becoming more and more complicated. The weather in the Mekong Delta is getting increasingly
unpredictable and extreme. As such, erosion in the western coastal areas of Ca Mau peninsula will continue to be a big
threat to the environment and to the people living in those areas.
In order to reduce future destruction, an innovative solution is needed, requiring not only massive investment from the
government but also active participation and support from the local people and international community.

Please have a look here at the more detailed video: “Erosion – Living at the coastline”.


This project has been realized in Vietnam in cooperation with


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Shadows Faces

“Shadows Faces”, a participatory Storytelling project about Hanoi´s “Freelance Workers” working in the shadow economy.

Most of the Hanoian poor people do not get the chance of employment. Therefore they have to find there own buisiness. As it is part of the society, there is a lot of creativity in Hanoi to set up private buisinesses and to make at least some income. In this project, informal workers came together with vietnamese youth people interested in telling and sharing stories about the social situation in Vietnam. PariticipatoryStory ran workshops and trainings for interested participants to share the information about their success stories and their living conditions to inform decision makers about the quality and usefullness of this economy for the vietnamese society. Parts of this project have also been used for the exhibition “KlimaTisch” – Participatory Storytelling.

Mr. Tran Quyet Thanh, bottle collecturer living on a houseboat in the Red River is explaining his daily life and nighty work.


Mr. Duc Minh Hoang, Casual Worker and Fishermen living next to a sewage tunnel about his living condition and creativity to find casual jobs everyday.


Family Dong, Lotus flower farmers at the West Lake Hanoi, tells their story about poor income but beautifull living.


This project has been realized in Vietnam with kind contribution of


36 Streets – Traditional Manufacturers

The last remaining manufacturer guilts at Hanoi´s Old Quarter

This project was realized to capture the last remaining traditional manufacturers in Hanoi´s Old Quarter, before they disapear beeing embettled by cheap chinese mass-product shops.

ParticipatoryStory went out, to give the manufactureres a voice enabeling them to share what they do every day, what they think is important to them or just to remind the public, that traditional manufacturers belong to Vietnam and should not be forgotten in the planning of a modern city. Examples of this work have been used to allow decision makers and other stakeholders in City planning issues to hear the manufacturers voices.

36 streets - the last remaining manufacturer guilds in Hanoi's Old QuarterThere’s an old Vietnamese saying, “Hanoi has thirty-six streets and guilds”. Inside a modern and dynamic city, there appears an antique quarter, the Hanoi’s Old Quarter – the represented eternal soul of the city where street names were given after their crafts work taking place in there.

In fact, Hanoi has of cause many more streets, but due to their long-lasti36 streets - the last remaining manufacturer guilds in Hanoi's Old Quarterng age, they are called “Old Quarter” or “36 Old Streets” remaining the most busy ones in town. Some researchers believe that the number 36 came from the 15th century when there might have been 36 guild locations, which were workshop areas, not streets. When streets were later developed, the guild names were applied to the streets. The population density in here is one of the highest in the world.

36 streets - the last remaining manufacturer guilds in Hanoi's Old QuarterThat’s why the Vietnamese government already set a plan to relocate 26.000 residents to other city quarters to reduce the population density from 823 people per hectare in 2010 to 500 people per hectare in 2020 (DTInews 8.6.2012). Also plans exist to make some parts of the old quarter a pedestrian area to minimize air pollution and to attract tourists.

82826-img_3272Located between the Lake of the Restored Sword, the Long Bien Bridge, a former city rampart, and a citadel wall, the Old Quarter came into being at the time King Ly Thai To in 1010. Up to now, it has been the oldest continuously developed area of Vietnam. In the past, as artisans moved to the capital city to do business, they gathered together in this area to share the resources. As a result, many of the streets were named after the crafts sold at that individual street. Pho Hang Bun (Vermicelli), Pho Hang Ma (Paper Product), Pho Hang Bac (Silver) or Pho Hang Dong (Metal products) and many others.36 streets - the last remaining manufacturer guilds in Hanoi's Old Quarter Although many of the streets no longer produce the items they were named for, some still remain like in the old times, where different handcraft manufactures produce and sell their goods next to each other. Nowadays, surrounded by shops, selling cheap Chinese products.

The last blacksmith

In this clip the participatory cross-over technique has been used for storytelling. Mr. Nguyen Phuong Hung – the last Blacksmith in Hanoi’s Old Quarter at  Pho Lo Ren (Blacksmith Street) and Mr. Tuan – Mechanical engineer in Hang Duong (Brass Street) are telling their stories.

Traditional herbs for medicinal use

In this clip, Ms.Trang explains about her village Ninh Hiep and the togetherness of the inhabitants producing traditional herbs for medicinal use.

Storytelling in Nam Dam

Since 2012, the international NGO Caritas Switzerland and the Vietnamese NGO PanNature, funded by Misereor, has implemented the community-based tourism project in Nam Dam
village, Quan Ba district, Ha Giang province, Vietnam.

The objective of this project was to develop a tourism model in Nam Dam as a pilot of how community-based tourism can contribute towards the improvement of local people’s lives while preserving their cultural and natural heritage.

A promotional video for attracting tourists and tour operators has been planned, using a participatory storytelling approach. With help of ParticipatoryStory, four short clips were developed by the community, in which the participants present a short portrait of their village history, culture and daily life as well as their homestays with the cross-over storytelling technique. From these short clips, different sequences have been integrated into the promotional tourism video which you can find at the end of this blog.

The Yao nationality (its great majority branch is also known as Mien) is a government classification for various minorities in China. In addition to China, Yao also live in northern Vietnam, northern Laos, Burma and Thailand. The Yao nationality or “người Dao” as spelled in Vietnamese form one of the 54 ethnic groups officially recognized by Vietnamese government.

Language & Writings
There are several distinct groups within the Dao nationality, and they speak several different languages, ranging from traditional Chinese to several dialects all over Vietnam, Lao and Thailand. Several written languages also co-exist. Nowadays, the young generation cannot read their traditional written languages anymore and many books have already been lost as they have been sold to wealthy buyers from China or Vietnam.

Mr. Ly Quoc Thang about the ancient book of Nam Dam village

The origins of the Dao can be traced back 2,000 years, starting in Hunan Province in China. During the Laotian Civil War in the 1960s and 70s, the Dao tribes of Laos had a good relationship with U.S. forces and were dubbed an “efficient friendly force”. This relationship caused the Laotian government to target Dao tribal groups for revenge once the war was over. This triggered further immigration into Thailand. In the last census in 2000, they numbered roughly 470,000 people in Vietnam where most of them live in the North, close to the Chinese border, like Ha Giang province. Not only because of a history of relocation, bamboo trees are of significant importance for Dao people as bamboo often grows in clusters with a strong vitality. This represents the solidarity of Dao people as well as their diligence and loyalty to their homeland.

Mr. Trieu Van Hanh about the history of Bamboo village

The men and the women of the Dao people cover their heads  with a black (Black Dao) or red (Red Dao) scarf. The traditional suit of the women is of bright colors. They also decorate their shirts with decorations made out of silver. Most Dao people depend on agriculture, but nowadays new forms of income are being generated, like pro-poor community homestay tourism. The typical houses of the Dao are rectangular, and they have structures made of wood and bamboo. Normally a Dao house has three rooms: a room and two dormitories in the lateral side. Each one of these rooms has a small oven for cooking. Traditionally, Dao people give shelter to birds by preparing birds nests in their homes – a symbol of Dao hospitality.

Mr. Ly Dai Duyen about the Dao hospitality

In Vietnam, Dao people celebrate many exciting and meaningful festivals such as Nhiang chằm đao (“Jumping Festival”) or Nhơn chung lỉnh (“Red rice, Green rice”). These festivals show the importance of rice farming in the Dao culture. According to a folk legend, in ancient times, rice would appear from the heaven
in the form of a large ball in every house. On one occasion, a lady was sweeping the floor of her house as ordered by her husband to welcome the rice ball. The large rice ball landed in the house when the lady was still sweeping and it hit the broom and then broke into many pieces. Since then people in Vietnam have had
to work hard with their hands to grow rice. The northern highlands are home to typical upland rice varieties.
In a good year, a farming family in these regions produces roughly 100 sacks of rice (each having a weight about 50kg), bringing around 35.000.000 VND or $1,600. All rice is planted, harvested, transported and dried by hand. In Vietnam, rice is called ‘white gold’ and links to the Sanskrit name ‘Dhanya’ which means: “the sustainer of the human race”.

 The community about rice production

Download the Media Booklet with more Information here:

Buch Nam Dam Deckblatt


Making of Gallery

This project has been realized in Vietnam in cooperation with gizlogo-cim-kunstpap-en-rgb-300



Estimar el bosque

DSC00658Die Wertschätzung des Waldes

Partizipative Fotografie in Bolivien

Die Alto Beni Region in Bolivien ist Heimat der Mosetene Indigenen. Im Zuge von andinen Umsiedlungsprojekten in den 1980er Jahren, wurden viele Quechua Indigene aus dem bolivianischen Hochland in dieser Region seßhaft.
bol33_02Durch die stärkere Zersiedelung der gesamten Gegend nahm der Druck auf den Wald zu. Der mit der Besiedelung einhergehende Strassenbau, eröffnete Holzdieben die Möglichkeit, im grossen Stil Wald zu roden. Unzufrieden mit diesen Entwicklungen, entstanden in den 1990er Jahren die Organisation OPIM (Organicacion de los Pueblos Indigenas Moseten – Organisation de Mostene Indigen) und später OMIM (Organicacion de los Mujeres Indigenas Moseten – Organisation der Mosetene Frauen). bol_d_01_013Im Rahmen der Internationalen Entwicklungszusammenarbeit gründete sich bereits früher die Kakao Kooperative El Ceibo mit ihrem forstlichen Beratungsprogram PIAF. Um eine bessere Zusammenarbeit zwischen Mosetene und Quechua Indigenen zu erreichen, und um den bolivianischen Land- und Forstgesetzgebungen zu entsprechen, wurde die Entwicklung eines Forstbewirtschaftungsplan (Plan General de Manejo Forestal- PGMF) gestartet. Oliver1Im Zuge dieses Entwicklungsplans wurden Sozio-Ökonomische Anlysen durchgeführt, um die Lebensumstände und die Bedeutung des Waldes für die Alto Beni Bewohner zu evaluieren. Die gerechte Verteilung der Ressource Wald, als auch die zukünftige nachhaltige Bewirtschaftung sollen damit sichergestellt werden.

Beispielhafte Ergebnisse der sozio-ökonomischen Umfragen belegen, dass 98% aller Teilnehmer das Gefühl haben, dass Tierarten aus ihren Wäldern verschwinden. 88% sehen ebenso einen Artenschwund unter den Waldbäumen. 48% der Männer empfinden, dass Konflikte um die Landnutzung zugenommen haben, wobei nur 14 % der Frauen Konflikte empfinden. DSC00767Allerdings fühlen sich 50% der Mosetene Frauen insgesamt nicht
an den Entscheidungen bezüglich des Forstmanagements beteiligt. Insgesamt 32% der Teilnehmer sehen in den Problemen vor allem einen Konflikt mit Dritten (z.B. externen Forstbetrieben). 50% der Frauen und 65% der Männer glauben, dass mit der zukünftig stärkeren Forstnutzung ihre Kultur starken Veränderungen unterworfen sein wird. 73% aller Befragten meinen Auswirkungen zugenommener Erosion auf forstlichen und landwirtschaftlichen Flächen deutlich spüren zu können. 83% fürchten darüberhinaus, dass durch die stärkere Forstnutzung eine Veränderung des Klimas in ihrer Region stattfinden könnte.

DSC00671Um die empirisch quantitativen Aussagen durch qualitative Bewertungen zu begleiten, wurde zusätzlich zu den sozio-ökonomischen Umfragen, die Methodik der partizipativen Fotografie als Monitoring-Instrument angewandt.
Interessierte Teilnehmer aus der gesamten Region wurden aufgefordert, unter der Fragestellung: “Was bedeuted mir der Wald?”, eine kleine Fotoreportage bezüglich ihrer persönlichen Lebenssituation zu erstellen. DSC00684Die Bilder wurden später zusammengetragen und von den Teilnehmern vorgestellt und
diskutiert. Während einer Tagung zur “Zukunft der Indigenen Bevölkerung Boliviens” in La Paz 2003, wurden diese Bildgeschichten in einer Ausstellung vor Stakeholdern der Politik und der breiten Öffentlichkeit präsentiert und erhielten grossen Zuspruch aufgrund ihres qualitativ informativen Charakters
über die Situation der Indigenen im Alto Beni Tal.


Einige Stimmen aus dem Buch

vivero S.J.4“Der Wald gibt uns Arbeit. Hier in der Baumschule sammeln wir die Samen der besten Bäume in der Region und erhalten so die genetische Vielfalt. Die fertigen Setzlinge werden von uns ausgepflanzt oder den Forst Rangern von OPIM übergeben. Das Sammeln der Samen ist schweißtreibende Arbeit. Wir klettern in die Bäume und anschliessend werden die Früchte vom Fruchtfleisch getrennt, damit die Samen nicht verschimmeln. Die
getrockneten Samen bewahren wir in unserer Samenbank auf, wo sie lange haltbar sind.”

portait teilnehmer jonnyJonny
Forsttechniker PIAF
Einwohner von Sapecho




bol41_09“Wir nutzten den Wald schon immer. Als Rohstoff für unsere Häuser und zur Jagd. Unser Leben hängt vom Wald ab. Aber wir wollen nicht, dass externe Forstbetriebe unseren Wald ausbeuten. Wir wollen ihn schonend und nachhaltig nutzen und das Holz lokal verarbeiten. Wir arbeiten darum eng mit den Technikern von PIAF zusammen. Leider gibt es immer wieder Konflikte und Holzdiebstahl. Wir Ranger pflanzen für jeden gefällten Baum drei neue Setzlinge, die wir aus der Baumschule von PIAF bekommen. Die Holzdiebe zerstören alles ohne Rücksicht und sorgen sich nicht um die Zukunft unserer Region.”

Portrait TeilnehmerPlacido
Forst Ranger OPIM
Einwohner von St Ana



bol29_02“Neuerdings verdienen wir unser eigenes Geld mit dem Einkochen von Fruchtmarmelade. Früher konnten wir das saisonale Obst nicht gut verkaufen oder haben auf den lokalen Märkten nur einen sehr geringen Preis bekommen. Jetzt kochen wir Marmelade und verkaufen sie bis nach La Paz. Jetzt wo wir was verdienen, akzeptieren die Männer viel eher das wir Frauen uns in einer Kooperative zusammenschliessen. Die meisten Früchte wachsen in Agroforstparzellen auf unseren Flächen. Viele Früchte sammeln wir aber auch direkt im Wald. Der Wald hat daher eine grosse Bedeutung für uns, ohne die Baume auf unseren Feldern und somit ohne Überschattung würde es auf den Feldern viel zu warm für einige Fruchtsorten, aber auch zum Arbeiten wäre es zu heiß. Im Wald oder in den Agroforstparzellen ist das Klima angenehmer.”

Portrait TeilnehmerSerafina
Präsidentin OMIM
Einwohnerin von St. Pedro




Deckblatt Partizipative Fotografie in Bolivien-1





download Projektbroschüre


Diese Projekt entstand in Kooperation mit dem

Deutschen Entwicklungsdienst und dem Centro de Formacion y Realizacion Cinematografica in Bolivien