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Project News


Arrival of Dr. Tsumagari as a Livelihood Development Expert

As the new livelihood expert, I have arrived at the SUSFORM-NOW project on July 16. Although a first timer in Dien Bien Phu, having worked on a similar assignment with JICA on the other side of the mountain range (i.e. Laos – only 35 km from where I am located now), I did not feel like this is my first trip here. The scenery in front of me that I encountered as I landed onto Dien Bien Phu City Airport resembled that of my beloved memory of Laos, characterized by patches of plots with different shades of green (due to shifting cultivation), unintermitting yet orderly flow of motorbikes, flock of small, unaccompanied children running around on the streets, etc. In a nutshell, it was close to a homecoming feeling.

Yet, I have come to understand that Dien Bien Phu, the home base of the Project, is beyond question, a truely Vietnamese city proudly representing the North Western Region of the country for its history and character. An international NGO representative working on the region's tourism development reminded me of this significance: This is a climactic battle place of the 1950s from which the Vietnamese warrior spirits came to be well known to the world. His point was to shed light to this intangible value for the further growth of the region.

While I am yet to personally confirm if the people I encounter on a daily basis have succeeded the warrior spirits and/or blood, I can already say that the colleagues at the Project are definitely the hardcore, no-nonsense professionals with wealth of experiences. Aided by their organizational and priority setting skills, I have landed onto my assignment without any slack, I must say. My main role is to guide the implementation of the livelihood activities called MIAs (Most Immediate Activities) identified through the Village Development Plan (VDPs) preparation process as well as their associated works, such as overseeing marketing survey and OJTs contracted to the national consultants. Upon arrival (from day 1 at the office), I have set onto these tasks and by now have started to ask myself, "How long have I been here already?" (The reality is only a few weeks, but I feel like I have been on the team for much longer.) Thanking for the energy and dynamics of the Project and the people who are connected through the Project, I am here to enjoy both the work and the breeze of Dien Bien Phu.

Dr. Tsumagari is responsibility for wording of this article


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