Peat Ranger Deployment in Vietnam
Dec 19, 2022 by Han T. N Le
Occurring within a few short months, Peat Ranger Training and Deployment in Vietnam were resounding successes. In May, seven local rangers from Moc Hoa, Thanh Hoa, and Tan Thanh districts in Long An province were identified and given intensive training. Three months later in August 2022, with the help of soil expert, Prof. Nguyen Khoi Nghia from Can Tho University, the rangers conducted an impactful deployment which touched the lives of 265 participants and their communities.
Prof. Nghia, who also trained the peat rangers, shared his extensive knowledge about peatlands during deployment.
Most of the participants were farmers who grew up around peatlands and were used to peat soil. However, they had little awareness of the importance and conservation value of peatlands. Mr Ho Sanh, an 80-year-old peat ranger from Thanh Hoa shared his thoughts during peat ranger training, “In the past, we had a wide area of forested peatlands, but they were gradually replaced by agriculture and houses. I witnessed a peat fire a long time ago when we were living in and around peatlands. That was back when we did not know the importance of conserving it.”
Peat ranger, Mr Ho Sanh, engaging with the participants and collecting their signatures for documentation.
The Peat Ranger Deployment covered three topics: Peat Water Management, Peat Fire Prevention, and Sustainable Livelihoods on Peatlands. During the programme, booklets and other materials in the Vietnamese language were given to participants to ensure sufficient information was delivered to them both verbally and visually. There were nine sessions that day. The first three were located at the communal office in Tan Thanh district, while the other six were located at Tan Lap Floating Village (Moc Hoa district). Due to limited facilities and locations at the villages, the programmes were conducted in hybrid mode - both virtual and in person.
Mr Nguyen Thanh Xuan gives an introduction to the participants before the deployment modules which cover Peat Water Management, Peat Fire Prevention, and Sustainable Livelihoods on Peatlands.
Peat ranger, Mr Nguyen Thanh Toan helps to set up visuals and materials for peat ranger deployment
Peat Ranger Deployment in Vietnam achieved its goal of sharing knowledge about peatlands with local communities living in and around these critical ecosystems. Although all seven peat rangers are farmers without any formal oratory training, they successfully delivered impactful presentations based on their knowledge and personal experiences in their own unique way and language.
Mr Ta Tan Phu, a peat ranger from Thanh Hoa, wrote in his report, “Thanks to the training, I had a chance to be a lecturer. I was able to share my understanding of peat soil with others. It was an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.” Several other peat rangers described similar feelings. The transformation of the peat rangers from being participants of Peat Ranger Training to speakers in the Peat Ranger Deployment in just three months was astonishing.
Mr Nguyen Thanh Xuan shares his experience with engaged participants.
The local community signing the attendance list and in high spirits in anticipation of the knowledge-sharing ahead
Knowledge-sharing at the Tan Lap floating village
During the deployment, participants eagerly asked questions not just related to peatlands, but also about soil degradation and crops. According to the heads of villages, who agreed to the deployment programme in their villages, this was the first peatland-related activity in the area, and they have expressed their interest to have more similar trainings and programmes in the future.
As evidenced by the support of local authorities for the Peat Ranger Deployment programme and the significant number of participants from all ages, genders, and occupations, it’s clear there is an interest from local peatland communities to learn about their land and more importantly, how to conserve it. There are no doubts that the impact of this training will resonate within these communities for some time.