Following the launch of the joined research initiative of ZEF and MDI in March 2009, a series of interviews and PRAs (participatory rural appraisal) have been conducted with local authorities at both, the district and the commune level in order to assess the variety of local water management organizations in Can Tho City. Later on, representatives of a few selected organizations have been interviewed and the understanding of the existing institutional setting could be deepened.
Preliminary findings of the research indicate the existence of a diversity of local organizations, such as production groups, farmer’s clubs and micro-credit organizations. With regard to water, the scope of activities of these groups includes small-scale irrigation and drainage, maintenance of in-farm hydraulic works, sanitation and hygiene and water-related health education. While some of these groups have close relationships with local state management and mass organizations, other more informal groups also exist.
Figure 1: Focus group with local cadres
Figure 2: PRA with members of various grassroots groups
Though the institutional environment has been conducive for the emergence of community-based groups during the past decade, little is known on the number, roles and functions of these groups in the case study area; moreover, the related change processes in the field of local water management have to be assessed. Therefore, a questionnaire for local water management organizations has been developed and pretested by the research team on Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st, 2009 in four different communes of Can Tho City.
Figure 3: interview with a pumping group
Figure 4: On the road to the next interview
Following the two days round of pretesting, the questionnaire has been revised accordingly and an implementation plan has been developed. The survey will start in December and should be completed in January 2010. The sample will consist of 120 groups, operating in 8 different communes in Can Tho City. Results of the survey are expected to contribute to a better understanding of both, water management at a micro level in the Mekong Delta, and state-society relations in contemporary Vietnam from a water management perspective.
Figure 5: Interview with a women based micro-credit group
Figure 6: Work session on questionnaire revision