are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
|Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge||MOST/CIRAN|
Ethnic Minority Development Data System (EMDDS)DESCRIPTION
The Ethnic Minority Development Data System is based on a philosophy of mutual respect between indigenous peoples and government officials, and is intended to replace conventional ethnic minority classification surveys. Although one of the objectives is data collection (on location/geography; socio-cultural factors and services; food and income production; land/water/natural resources; access to information), the major objective is to use more participatory and equitable methods in order to increase community-government dialogue and mutual understanding. Agencies provide a format for the data to be collected from communities, but the indigenous peoples are nevertheless free to submit data they want others to know about, especially the government. Therefore a category has been added: "locally determined input". A sub-category, "ethnic resources", has also been added to the category "socio-cultural".
The purpose of the data collection, on-site analysis and review is:
COUNTRY: VIET NAM
In EMDDS, IK does not simply add an extra dimension, it is the foundation for community-government contacts and mutual cooperation based on respect. Without this respect and continuing exchange there is little opportunity for constructive development.
The mutual respect and understanding created by the practice should result in growing cooperation.
STAKEHOLDERS AND BENEFICIARIES
Community members and government agencies have a stake in the project and benefit from it.
During the trial period in 1998, 12 indigenous communities, one ministry and one research institute were taking part in the project.
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
- As mutual trust increases, cooperation improves.
- The data are more accurate and complete.
- The indigenous population takes part in development decision-making.
IT IS CONSIDERED SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE:
It is too early to measure the success of the practice. Thus far only the development stage has been successful.
Trials have now been conducted in four provinces (12 villages) by a joint team of resident villagers, government officials (mainly to learn), and the Institute of Ethnology (which is quite skilled in this approach). The trials involved approximately 2-3 days per village (staying overnight), which is the maximum you could expect government officials to invest in such work.
The positive results were reflected in: (1) the eyes and smiles of the villagers, who finally had a chance to talk and educate outsiders, (2) the interest and acceptance shown by the participating officials and by the high-ranking officials who heard about the practice later in workshops, and (3) the decision by CEMMA (the ministerial body governing indigenous development) to integrate these methods into on-going policy studies and other efforts.
The negative results were reflected in the lack of interest on the part of some district and provincial officials, who refused even to take part in a trial. Apparently they found it too risky. A strange new system which respects indigenous knowledge and skills might demand more of their time and resources, and of course it contradicts the top-down methods of the preceding decades.
Nevertheless, the chances of the practice succeeding appear to be good, because the Institute of Ethnology is quite skilled, CEMMA is committed, and the indigenous people who have been involved up to now are optimistic.
POTENTIAL FOR REPLICATION
In principle, the practice should be easy to replicate.
For the EMDDS itself, the main obstacle to further replication could occur after 1999, when the data system becomes institutionalized.
There are many networks in Asia that promote this kind of process. Communities and local professionals should be encouraged to establish contact with these networks to find out what other people are doing. Government officials should be encouraged to link the findings with the results of other research in the region. This would also help the process to take root.
Mr. Ha Que Lam
Organization that provided this information:
Committee for Ethnic Minorities and Mountainous Areas
Institute of Ethnology
To MOST Clearing House Best Practices on Poverty and Social Exclusion
To MOST/CIRAN Database of Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge
To MOST Clearing House Homepage