The art of adaptation: Engaging youth with climate-smart solutions

Young students shared their artistic depictions of the challenges facing My Loi CSV. Youth should be involved in addressing climate change in their communities. Photo: A. Smith (ICRAF)
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Artworks by students, agricultural products and farmer photographs show the importance of climate-smart agricultural practices in Vietnam.

Ten local primary school students presented artworks about local environmental challenges and future agricultural and rural development at a recent climate-smart agriculture (CSA) event in My Loi Climate-Smart Village (CSV), Ha Tinh province of Vietnam. The event is one of the social mobilization activities for the CSVs supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in Southeast Asia.

“Over the past few years we have developed a strong partnership with the Youth Union in Ky Son commune,” said project leader Elisabeth Simelton. This partnership is critical for building up the next-generation farmers and young community members who will live with impacts of climate change, and need to find new smart solutions to adapt.

Youth representatives from My Loi shared their artistic depictions of the challenges facing their community:

“Please protect our forest and environment because many trees have been cut, which caused more flooding and damages to human, said Nguyen Thi Linh Nhi, student of grade 5, Ky Son primary school.

“Wastes from factory and reduction of trees on the forest caused environmental pollution. In this picture, the areas with darker colour are more polluted, said To Ngoc Le Vinh, grade 3 student of Ky Son primary school.

Nguyen Quoc Anh spoke about the need to develop rural areas while protecting the environment, and stated, Factory production caused pollution in the river and the death of many species living in the river.

Other students highlighted their visions of how agriculture will change in the future. In the eyes of Le Thi Hien Luong, Agriculture in the future will be applied with high technology (machine) insteading of buffalo for ploughing and buffalo will be used for tourism and cultural activities. She added that if solar energy is used for the machine, it will reduce smoke released to the environment.

The main agricultural products of Ky Son commune, including jackfruit, bananas, corn, cassava, peanuts, pepper, onion, pumpkin, dry mandarin peel, and honey were displayed alongside the student artwork and farmer photographs detailing CSA practices and benefits. It is critical for farmers to account for not only the landscape constraints and environmental factors, but also to consider market opportunities associated with various products. This is a particular concern for tree crops, which are a longer-term investment. Some attendees at the event discussed the potential formation of a cooperative in order to facilitate larger-scale and more stable market pathways for certain products. 

The CSA event was organized by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in collaboration with the Ha Tinh Farmer’s Union, Ky Son People’s Committee and Ky Son Youth Union to create a space of learning, knowledge-sharing and networking.

Agricultural products of Ky Son commune were displayed alongside the student artwork and farmer photographs. These would help farmers see market opportunities for the products. Photo: A. Smith (ICRAF)

Over 160 people gathered to share their experiences and learn about adaptive solutions from each other. Its purpose was to inspire the scaling out of the CSA approach, in particular to raise awareness about climate change impacts and enable farmers to share their experiences with CSA practices. Participants included representatives from IFAD, CIAT, Farmer’s Union, local departments of agriculture and farmers from nine villages in Ky Son commune and Ma CSV in Yen Bai Province.

Officials from the village, commune and district level showed support for scaling CSA practices from government and policy-making leaders. Mr. Thuc, leader of My Loi village, said, “[The event] provided a wide range of information, from the impacts of climate change to the adaptation in agriculture production.”

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My Loi is one of six CSVs in Southeast Asia supported by CCAFS, which aims to develop climate-smart farming techniques. The CSV approach contributes to food security and climate change mitigation, and increase resiliency to extreme weather events which are likely to intensify as a result of climate change. For more information about the CSV project, click here.

For local media coverage about the event from a Ha Tinh newspaper, click here.