||Post-displacement community resilience: Considering the contribution of indigenous skills and cultural capital among ethnic minority Vietnamese
Singer, Jane ,
Hoang, HaiOchiai, Chiho
222 , 2015-08 , wiley
Article first published online: 6 MAY 2015
Despite an improving regulatory framework and policies governing compensation and resettlement, the majority of the millions displaced worldwide each year by hydropower dam construction continue to experience marginalisation and impoverishment, suggesting that external financial support must be supplemented by strengthened community-based resilience. In order to understand more about the innate resources of displaced rural communities, we applied a community resilience approach to two resettled Co-tu ethnic minority villages in an upland area in central Vietnam to identify their community capitals and their application in improving livelihoods and living conditions. We found that weak human and financial capital constrained the ability of the resettled residents to adopt new livelihoods or migrate to seek employment. Reduced forest and river access also problematised responses to a lack of agricultural land. However, traditionally strong village affinity and social networks were retained. In addition, indigenous skills such as housing construction, honed by a highly mobile traditional lifestyle, allowed residents to construct culturally significant structures like community houses and modify or augment received housing stock. These elements of social and cultural capital eased the process of post-resettlement adaptation. We conclude that governments should reassess current resettlement policies that prioritise financial compensation and should incorporate awareness of the adaptive resilience and limitations fostered by indigenous knowledge and practices in resettlement action plans.