Future farmers in a climate-smart village create symbols of hope
Children are our hope for the future. In Viet Nam, some are learning about what makes their village climate-smart
To engage the younger generation of future farmers, the World Agroforestry Centre Viet Nam’s ‘climate-smart village’ team organized a logo competition among school children in Ky Son commune. The winners were announced at the start of the climate-smart village project in My Loi village in Ha Tinh province, central Viet Nam.
Thanks to the positive response from Rector Duong Phan Huy, who is a renowned educationalist in the province, other teachers and students at Ky Son Primary School, the team received over 25 contributions. The requirements were that the logo should represent My Loi village and the three pillars of climate-smart agriculture: food security, climate-change adaptation and mitigation.
‘We never imagined so many contributions’, said community organizer Hai Le Van. ‘With so many creative suggestions it was impossible to select only one. So we selected four’.
In the selection, the team set out to also look for what the children thought was important to them by reading the descriptions that came with some logos. For example, in the example pictured from Luc, the letters M and L put together represent My Loi and the silhouette of the mountains that can be seen from afar. To better represent the idea of reforestation and soil protection, the team decided to swap the colours of Luc’s contribution and dress the hilltops green with the characteristic ferralitic soils. Thanh’s second (he submitted two) contribution split the logo into water, soil and air.
‘We were quite surprised to see so many logos with water’, said Tuan Minh Duong, research assistant with the team. ‘Of course, the lake and the river are not only water supply for agriculture but also important playgrounds for children. And should remain so’.
Naturally, the water should also have fish. Luc drew little air bubbles from the fish to illustrate the importance of clean water and clean air.
‘I was immediately drawn to the simplicity of Luc’s logo and, particularly, the fish, which stood out from the other drawings’, said team leader Dr Elisabeth Simelton.
Considering that a small area is cultivated with rice and that the village primarily relies on upland farming systems, the team chose cassava, which, alongside peanut, is the most common crop in the village. In fact, the shape of the tuber could also represent a sweet potato. My Loi has a local sweet potato that many villagers take great pride in and that sells at nearly USD 1 per kilo at the farm-gate.
‘The tubers can look like feet, the trunk is the body, and the leaves are the two arms surrounding the head’, explained Thanh and Sang. Thanh drew leaves holding a raindrop and Sang a tree with leaves holding the sun that provided shade, becoming a multi-purpose tree. The looming cloud in the sky was a reminder that agriculture depends on weather, that adaptation is a constant process that we have to turn to our advantage. Finally, for adapting to the dry conditions and improving the soil, Thanh has added green mulch from leaves.
Showcasing all logos at the inauguration of My Loi as a climate-smart village, participants were also invited to vote. Thanh’s ‘ML’ logo received most of the participants’ votes, validating the team’s opinions. The prize included books for a new climate-smart corner in the primary school’s Green Library, which is a garden with books in plastic tubes hanging from the trees, as widely reported in the local newspaper. A contribution by Viet Ho Van, a 12th grade pupil, will become the cover of a climate-smart agriculture primer.
‘We are privileged to have so many local resources that we can turn to’, said Hai Van Le.
My Loi is one of six climate-smart villages in Southeast Asia supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.