For the month of August the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute (MDI) is hosting a summer school case study on Agricultural transformation in developing countries under contexts of urbanization and climate change- the case of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, for the International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) programme from Ghent University. Wageningen’s Rural Sociology Group is involved in the IMRD programme and as a result, I was able to come and participate in a supportive capacity for the first two weeks.
About the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute (MDI)
MDI is an interdisciplinary organization of Can Tho University (Can Tho, Vietnam). It was established in 2005 from the Mekong Delta Farming Systems Research and Development Institute. MDI has the mission to “improve life quality of rural people and ensure socio-economic and environmental sustainability of the Mekong Delta through collaborative education, research and development activities”. It also has four research programmes:
- Food security
- Agriculture resources management
- Rural development
- Climate change, adaptation and mitigation.
About the Case
The case study is being conducted by 8 students (from Brazil, Cameroon, Serbia, Germany, Turkey, and Mexico) who are part of the IMRD programme and 8 students from MDI. The students have been mixed into smaller groups to explore the following topics:
- The relationships between policies, institutional arrangements and community livelihoods
- Community adaptation to climate change
- Values chains and models of production in the Mekong Delta
- Household resources and trends
The groups are supported by local professors who act as facilitators.
The first week of the course is devoted to learning about the Mekong Delta, about agricultural transformation in the students’ home countries, and also cultural sharing and learning.
The second week is focused on methodologies, including participatory rural appraisal and community rural appraisal.
In the third week students spend time in two field sites: one rural and one peri-urban.
They also get Sa Dec, Dong Thap province)
In the fourth week students finalise their individual reports and group presentations.
Having spent the week in the classroom, tomorrow we will visit different ecological zones and farming systems in the Mekong Delta (Soc Trang province- costal area). I will be sure to write up another blog to summarise this experience.