SUMERNET media-research partnership: An initial update

Our media-research partnership fund started work in June. Since then, we have begun to know more about our eight media grantees who were selected to work with SUMERNET project partners.

Oung Kham Oo By Oung Kham Oo - Sep 21, 2021

Through online meetings, we have gained some understanding of how the media grantees are working together with our SUMERNET researchers using this media-research partnership grant. Below is an update providing the background and experience of our media grantees and their collaboration with SUMERNET:

Nhìn Tấn Thuận aka Thuận Sarzynski is a Vietnam-based writer, filmmaker, and photographer who has a great interest in the natural environment. He has a rich background and experience in biology, landscape ecology, and tropical agriculture. Thuan i be working together with another media grantee, My Le to support the “Wetlands for water security” project which is in four countries, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

The specific objectives of this research project are to determine, for a cross-section of wetland types in the Mekong region, how water budgets and water quality provide ecosystem services, community relationships with those ecosystem services, and to project the impact of global and regional change on water security for communities through changes in those services.

Thuan will also be working together with the “Water savings, innovations & water insecurity reduction” project to help their better communication with the public. This project proposes to introduce and trial an innovative agricultural water-saving technique in several ethnic Khmer villages located in the upper Mekong Delta of Vietnam, as a way to reduce seasonal water insecurity problems, address climate change concerns and improve livelihoods for these relatively marginalized communities.

My Le is a journalist-communicator from Vietnam with a special interest in the environment and eco-system. She has good experience of producing long scientific and environmental articles, producing the television program to explain the research-based news and current environmental issues to the general audiences who are not familiar with.

My Le will be working together with the “Wetlands for water security” (in collaboration with Thuan) project to support projects’ communications activities for better outreach to the public.

Mingkhawan Thuemor is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, and photographer based in Thailand. She has a strong background, knowledge, and experience in producing documentary videos on natural resources, livelihood, agriculture, and environmental issues.

Mingkhawan and her team will support the “Strengthening pathways for right-based approaches in Mekong hydropower: Towards inclusive and sustainable growth” with a project video that will help promote the better understanding and awareness of the project to the audience, such as project beneficiaries, public, government departments, and other international organizations.

“Strengthening pathways for right-based approaches in Mekong hydropower” project is based in Laos and Thailand. This project aims to look at how current approaches and institutional setup in hydropower development (regionally, nationally, locally) set the pretext for alternative pathways for strengthening rights-based approaches in water governance in general and with regard to hydropower decision making in particular. It also aims to identify pathways to strengthen rights-based approaches in hydropower decision-making across scales. Bringing to light the important role played by the local community in bridging the current disjuncture in hydropower decision-making across scales, the project will incorporate gender, social equity, and social justice lenses in the overall analysis.

Choulay Mech and Jack Brook are awards-winning journalists, documentary filmmakers, and reporters based in Cambodia. They have produced documentary films, articles, stories, investigative reporting, especially on natural environment issues.

They will be collaborating with the “Strengthening groundwater governance in rapidly urbanizing areas of the lower Mekong region” research project, highlighting the topic of water scarcity in farming.

This project aims to evaluate the current state of groundwater governance in the region (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos) and recommend ways to improve or strengthen the groundwater governance based on the evidence-based understanding of groundwater availability, its use, and potential conflicts under multiple stresses in the future.

Sen Nguyen is an independent journalist, producing in-depth analysis and features, covering Vietnam domestic developments, Vietnamese diaspora, Southeast Asian cross-border environmental and social justice issues. She has a special interest in the issues such as migration and identity, inequalities, urbanization, and indigenous culture, and sustainable living.

Giang Pham is a photojournalist and visual storyteller based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He has been covering features and development projects across Vietnam and Europe. He has also collaborated with many international and local news outlets as well as NGOs inside and outside Vietnam to provide his storytelling skills. Giang is also a researcher who is involved in several academic studies about Vietnamese contemporary issues.

Sen and Giang will be working together with “BRIMOFOT”, “IODA-LMB”, and “Water Savings Innovations & Water Insecurity Reduction – Vietnam Mekong Delta” project to help promote the project activities and support the researchers to better engage with their audiences.

Bringing more than food to the table, BRIMOFOT project is in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It aims to research the obstacles to and conditions surrounding the participation of women and other marginalized groups in decision-making platforms for improved wetlands resources management, which ultimately should lead to more socially equitable water governance outcomes in the transboundary Mekong Delta.

“Integrated assessment of domestic water accessibility for vulnerable communities, IODA” project is located in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The specific goal of this project is to reduce water insecurity for vulnerable groups in the Lower Mekong Basin through integrated assessment of domestic water accessibility applying water security indicators such as water availability, water quality, domestic water consumption.

Preecha Srisuwan is a filmmaker and independent journalist from Thailand who focuses on politics, environmental, and social issues. He has expertise in photography and video production with a background in producing award-winning documentary films on environmental issues.

Preecha will be working together with Participatory Flood Risk Management: A Case for Policy Implication from Ban Phai Municipality Thailand project to help promote the project activities and support the researchers to better engage with their audiences.

PFRM will organize a series of stakeholder engagement and shared learning activities by; (i) organizing fieldwork participated by local stakeholders in exploring insight information of flood-impacted communities on their risk, vulnerability, and capacity management to flood hazard, (ii) holding a series of workshops in inventing and using simplified flood risk map and appropriate early warning methods and application for use by the communities, (iii) producing infographic and policy brief

on raising awareness and concern on PFRM, (iv) organizing a press conference to deliver and disseminate project findings, and (v) holding the policy seminar on PFRM and urban flood mitigation policy and practice.

Kyaw Nyunt Lin is a science communicator from Myanmar with a water engineering and science background.  He is a journalist with a passion for telling unique stories for the public interest. He also conducts environmental research, writes climate change articles, and speaker for climate change issues.

Thin Nay Chi Sun is a writer, communicator, and researcher from Myanmar with experience of environmental assessment, sustainable business practices, and international affairs. She has written in-depth articles on the social, livelihood, inequality, eco-system, and natural environment.

Both Kyaw Lin and Thin will work together to support “AA-Adapt”, “VOICE” and “Co-creating knowledge to enhance women’s leadership in the Mekong Region” project to help improve their media and communications capacity.

Strengthening the adaptive capacity and resilience of agriculture and aquaculture dependent Livelihood project (AA-Adapt) aims to focus on the barriers and issues and study on what are the differences in terms of climate change vulnerability and adaptation to water insecurity problems in delta areas of Myanmar and Vietnam. This study will also provide strategic implementation processes and plans for policymakers and development planners of targeted communities and stakeholders involved, and women and ethnic groups as well as provide inputs for Township/regional policymakers and development planners on how to achieve sustainable water management and reduce the conflict between agriculture and aquaculture farmers in their areas.

Co-creating knowledge to enhance women’s leadership in the Mekong Region project aims to accelerate progress towards women’s leadership in river governance and enhance women’s livelihood resilience in the Mekong Region by identifying and implementing the most effective mechanisms for knowledge co-creation. The research develops a co-creation of knowledge framework based on existing literature and interviews across the region, and subsequently tests and implements this framework in communities in Thailand and Myanmar, emphasizing women’s engagement and leadership.

Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET) provided eight media grants (worth up to 2,800 US$ per each) through an open call to journalists in the Mekong Region. These grants aim to support the journalists to produce and publish impactful multimedia products (stories, articles, interviews, videos, or podcasts) to highlight the critical environmental sustainability issues related to the SUMERNET research projects while coordinating and supporting the SUMERNET research partners’ capacity in communicating and showcasing their research to the public.

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