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IJSTR >> Volume 5 - Issue 4, April 2016 Edition

International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research  
International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research

Website: http://www.ijstr.org

ISSN 2277-8616

A Participatory Systemic Approach To Rural Community Development In Vietnam

[Full Text]



Tuan M. Ha, Ockie J.H. Bosch, Nam C. Nguyen



Action research, Rural community development, Evolutionary Learning Laboratory, Stakeholders, Systems approaches, Transformative learning.



Various failures of the traditional approach in community development in developing countries have led to the development of a more appropriate and holistic approach to address complex development issues. Systems approaches and cutting-edge tools have recently been embraced to deal with such complexities under contexts of interwoven relationships amongst social, economic, political, cultural and environmental factors. This paper provides reflections on practical value of the Evolutionary Learning Laboratory (ELLab) through a case study on improving the quality of life for women farmers in northern Vietnam, where gender-bias labour hardship and poor living-standard are evident. The first five steps of the participatory systems-based ELLab were implemented during 2013-2014 providing valuable results that have made both practical and theoretical contributions with substantial implications to community development. Our study finds that the context-based results reshaped the original project goal. The approach and framework helped to identify and engage right stakeholders in problem analyses and decision making activities. Fuzzy problems within the complex web of life of the women and rural households were uncovered using relevant systems tools to develop a big picture (systems model) of the current situation, defining levers for systemic interventions. The ELLab helps to build capacity of local people for taking ownership of the process and outcomes to guarantee sustainability and long-term impacts. It also facilitates true participation and co-learning amongst stakeholders, triggering transformative learning. Contributions to action research and an innovative mechanism for sharing reflections and lessons at both local and global levels via the online Think2ImpactTM are discussed.



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