Mekong Program Manager, Oxfam
Course: Master of Public Health
University: The University of Melbourne
I am a Mekong Program Manager at Oxfam, under the portfolio of the Mekong Regional Water Governance Program, based out of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Program is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); and Oxfam.
The Program involves a number of multi-year projects promoting social inclusion, and strengthening gender equality and women’s leadership at the local-national-regional levels in the area of Water Governance and Climate Resilience; building the capacity of local authorities, and civil society actors, on the value of river networks, and water resources infrastructures; and convening and brokering consultations and dialogues – inclusive of marginalised persons and riverine communities – with key stakeholders in dialogues related to water resource management in the Mekong.
Governance of Water Resources in the Mekong is complex. Stakeholders’ interest determines who gets a seat at the decision-making table when water-relate decisions are being made. Who is included and who is left out when consultation and decision about a water-related development project are the strong focus of the Program. We strive to promote access to timely information, inclusive participation of key stakeholders such as fishers, farmers, women, indigenous people, people with different abilities, young people, and those most marginalised in relation to the water governance related platforms.
The work of Oxfam, together with partners across the Mekong basins, provides me with the opportunity to work with diverse stakeholders with varying interests; to learn from the local communities in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar who hold very strong knowledge about their rivers which they depend on and strive to protect for generations; the changes they witness happening to the rivers; and the development along the rivers that brings about these changes.
To be able to work in a role that enables me to facilitate the participation, voices, and agencies of these people to engage and share their views to interested stakeholders is both challenging, fulfilling and meaningful. I hope through my work, I can contribute to the sustainability of the Mekong, the river that is so essential to the lives of millions in the region.
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