Swedish partner: Piteå kommun

Piteå and Chinsali, Zambia

Project: Women’s empowerment through development of local democracy (Step 2)

From Chinsali there is a pronounced need and interest in continued cooperation. Developing transparency, citizens’ dialog, more involvement, developing awareness of gender equality as a knowledge area, examine the municipality’s responsibilities needs to continue and need support. From Piteå we will continue to build understanding of what an international project can give. Equality and citizenship dialogue are areas prioritized in both municipalities, we can have a common learning by following developments in our municipalities, looking at similarities and differences.

Based on our experience and the good results from our cooperation, we want to continue the democracy development process together. We have a need to meet to share skills, experience and methods. We want to process results, explore and merge ideas and involve. The three years we had now in a partnership have been interesting, exciting and instructive for us who were involved. We can note that three years is a short period for making changes in areas based on attitudes and values. Building democracy is an ongoing work that needs to be strengthened with knowledge building in the long term.

Piteå and An Giang, Vietnam

Project: Implementation of Action Plan for a sustainable An Giang province

Piteå Municipality and An Giang Province has been cooperating since 2011 when we carried out an inception phase which led to “Piteå An Giang- sustainable municipalities (Dnr. 2011-0110 + 2011) and “Action plan for utilizing rice waste” (Dnr.2014-0065+0063). The cooperation between the two communities has proved to be successful and the provincial peoples committee of An Giang has approved the action plan that has been completed during the existing project. A mutual trust and knowledge has been built up between the two partners due to essentially, that during the past two project periods, the same people has been involved in both partners.

Lack of capacity on organisational level in implementing of action plan and monitoring and reviewing the strategy plan is identified as the main problem. The consequences is that the action plan cannot be implemented as expected, cannot achieve all the objectives in the strategy plan, only few farmers can gain from the project, cannot achieve the goals of environment, human right, local democracy and special efforts to support women to develop business from rice waste will not succeed.

The project objective is that adequate capacity on implementing of action plan, monitoring, and reviewing the strategy plan will be achieved directly through the support and activities conducted within the project.

Actionplan for utilizing rice waste

Piteå Municipality and An Giang Province has been cooperating since 2011 when we carried out an inception phase which led to “Piteå An Giang- sustainable municipalities.

The base for the ongoing project is the district of Chau Thanh where one part is to make a “Rice waste to energy plan”. In meetings with the target groups at both provincial and district levels in the ongoing project, lack of an activity plan was often mentioned. 

The main problem in our application comes from an urgent need where our project can contribute to turn An Giang into a Green province as there is no master plan on biomass energy at the provincial level. 

There are several activities in Chau Thanh district such as

  • capacity building on rice husk to energy
  • survey the cultivation model and energy use demand from farmer – rice mills, rice dryer
  • acknowledgement of different stakeholders including local authorities and communities on biomass energy.

However, there is no action plan focus on turning rice waste to energy. An action plan which will contribute to how rice by-products can improve the life quality of poor rice communities and directions for the organization level to implement the action plan.

Women’s empowerment through development of local democracy

The objective of the project, which is a collaboration between Piteå and Chinsali Municipality in Zambia, is that: Officials and elected representatives in Chinsali have the capacity to involve women in the development of local democracy.

When the three-year project is completed, the Municipality should have developed methods to involve women in development, and that the elected politians should have decided on a 3-year action plan for the development of local democracy and where special attention is given to women.

In a long term we want the project to contribute to:
Women’s participation in municipal development programs, there are female councilors in the municipality, the municipality is characterized by openness and accountability, that residents have a positive attitude to participate in municipal affairs, that residents are willing to pay for municipal services and that poverty has decreased.

To achieve this, the project has three short term objectives:

  • The officials and elected representatives have the experience and knowledge of women’s ability to participate
  • The municipality operates at least one local women’s project that help to develop relevant methods to develop women’s participation
  • The municipality has involved women in developing a system for citizens to express their views and for the municipality to take care of them.

Piteå and An Giang – Sustainable Municipalities

The project is focusing on development of a strategy program for waste to energy, focusing on rice waste to energy which would be carried out during a time span of three years.

Rice straw and rice husk are a potential natural biomass source for energy production. As of now, only a small part of rice husk production has been used as fuel in brick kilns, but most of it has been dumped illegally into the rivers or burnt openly, emitting huge amount of greenhouse gas (GHG).

In 2010, Piteå revised their waste plan and approved an Energy and Climate plan which will be revised in 2014/2015. In An Giang a strategy program focusing on waste to energy from rice production will be submitted 2014. It will be developed through a process where local stake holders as the business community, farmers, the regional university and the municipality will be involved. Vietnam is known as the second largest exporting country of rice. Rice production has the most important role in the economy of the Mekong delta where An Giang is located, which at the same time also is the part of Vietnam which is anticipated to suffer the most serious climate changes. 

The work in Piteå by developing the Climate and Energy Plan has been conducted with some methodological support from The Swedish Energy Agency’s project Sustainable Municipality, where Piteå is one out of 31 municipalities further on into a third phase. In the process of developing the plan people from many areas in the civil society have participated. In An Giang there is an eagerness to learn and apply the experiences from Piteå in the Vietnamese context.

A strategy program developed by participation from different actors should be able to contribute to facilitate an implementation phase where one target is to develop a strategy program which would contribute to an improvement of the living condition for the poorest of the people.