The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


ACHR-DPU interns work on successful community mapping in Vinh City, Vietnam.

15 July 2013

Vinh City

The Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR)/DPU Junior Professional internship was launched in early February 2013 with the objective of providing on-the-job-training to DPU alumni to support the advancement of, and use of methodologies for, community-led development. See 'DPU Kick-starts Junior Professionals Programme with ACHR in Southeast Asia'

Six UDP and BUDD alumni were selected to join the exciting new programme. Updates on their activities have been posted on this site and can be read in 'DPU at the Asian Housing Rights Summit' and 'DPU at the 2nd CAN Regional Meeting and Workshop'

The latest ACHR newsletter makes reference to activities where our interns have played an important supportive role  (Page 2 and 8). Below, Johanna Brugman and Barbara Dovarch report on their experience in supporting the launch of community mapping in Vinh City, Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the DPU/ACHR internship has been supported by the Association of Cities of Vietnam (ACVN) who welcomed us to Vinh City (central Vietnam). Our role was to explore, with communities, how participatory processes can be applied in rural development planning initiatives. This approach has never been trialled in Vietnam yet, so the project had an exciting, ’pioneer-like’, dimension. The project was supported by the Vinh City Government and the People's Committee of Hung Hoa Commune - located on the outskirts of Vinh City.

Hung Hoa Commune provided an ideal setting for the innovatory project, due to its current transition from rural to urban. Moreover, the City Government ‘s keen interest in exploring new ways of enabling inclusive planning for the transformation of the area was a great asset. The overall objective was to create a more equitable process of development that focuses not only on physical dimensions, but also on socio-cultural, environmental and economic aspects. To support this initiative, we trialled a community mapping exercise, exploring how this participatory process could act as a conduit to better engage communities. The project kick-started with a community mapping workshop (supported by Supawut Boonmahathanakorn and Minh Chau from ACHR, Nga from ACVN, Boram currently working with UN-Habitat, and students from Vinh University in Hung Hoa Commune), aimed at exploring the local community’s common priorities. This workshop was followed by a series of mapping activities that culminated in the development of a community action plan (CAP) for the entire commune. The participatory methodologies enabled the identification of a clearly agreed priority for the CAP: mitigating the impacts of local annual floods.

Overall, the mapping exercise was successful: community members participated eagerly in the process and the City Government has acknowledged the exercise as an innovative process supporting people-driven rural development planning. In fact it’s been so successful that the City Government has declared its intention to replicate the process in other communes of Vinh City!

For more on in-country activities under the internship programme, please read and follow the blog set up by the interns.

At the end of July, all the ACHR/DPU Junior Professionals will meet in Bangkok for a final debrief with Dr. Caroline Newton and Giorgio Talocci from the DPU, reviewing and sharing their experiences of the past six months, as well as learnings for future initiatives. A publication on the ACHR/DPU Junior Professional internship will be issued later in the year.

To see more pictures of the community mapping gatherings, visit our Flickr account