Updates from the GREEN Mekong Challenge Fund

A group of forest rangers and local officials discusses equity at a workshop in Vietnam

Updates from the GREEN Mekong Challenge Fund 

The GREEN Mekong Challenge Fund (GMCF) was set up early in the program to support CSO participants in implementing the action plans produced during the regional workshop. Since then, the funds have been distributed to five CSOs across the region and have been put to use on the ground. As a way to see the direct impacts on the grassroots level, two CSOs share their experience here to demonstrate: PanNature (Vietnam) and NGO Forum (Cambodia).

PanNature held a fiveday training workshop in Dak Glei town, Kon Tum Province,Vietnam with the support of the GMCF. With 20 participants, including forest rangers, Forest Protection officials from Dak Glei, local government leaders, and village heads, PanNature was able to reach a wide audience and equip them with the practical skills needed to promote community participation in the management of forest protection.

NGO Forum in Cambodia has conducted a number of activities with GMCF support, including both capacity development and awareness rising. Also resulting from the training was a 22 minute documentary broadcast three times in December, 2014 on VTV2. Entitled Màu xanh Ngọc Linh - For the Green of Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve, it can also be found on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1BNDRWK (in Vietnamese)


The training has been a key aspect of GREEN Mekong, and the training of trainers has proven to be effective for NGO Forum.

The network members, especially key community facilitators, have improved knowledge and skills in promoting grassroots equity in the context of forest management and REDD+ process. The equity training on 20-21 October provided an opportunity for 25 key community facilitators (30% women) to learn about equity. This included issues of equity in their target areas and applying the concepts in real practice through field visits to community based eco-tourism sites, so they would be able to facilitate discussions in their own communities for improving equity. Some participants remarked that knowledge, opportunity and space for engagement were the challenges of equitable participation. Participation of local communities in the decision making is essential to ensure sustainability. – Teng Rithiny, the NGO Forum, Cambodia

Green Mekong challenge fund recipient representative being interviewed on a radio talk show “Life and Natural Resources” broadcast live across multiple provinces

NGO Forum’s community representative was able to participate in a live talk-show program called “Life and Natural Resources” with the discussion topic “Biodiversity, Community and REDD+”. With more than 10 callers during the show and a listenership covering at least six provinces, it was an important step toward increasing the capacities of CSOs, dependent local and indigenous communities, and local government to understand the importance of biodiversity, the role of stakeholders and community forest management. NGO Forum plans to hold another training for community leaders and local authorities (commune leaders) in Mondulkiri, Cambodia in 2015. NGO Forum’s use of the GMCF to support awareness raising was alsoimpactful,reachinga wider audience via radio. With many communities unable to access the internet or English training materials, the value was clear.

Beyond NGO Forum and PanNature activities, other GMCF project plans include conducting community level surveys to investigate and develop rules and regulations for resource management and administration, and conducting awareness-raising activities with ethnic minority journalists so that they have a better understanding of equity in forest management and can integrate these principles into their work.

A third round of applications for funding closed in December and will be distributed in 2015.