During January 4-15, 2023, Banyan Global’s Senior Technical Advisor for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Mieka Brand Polanco traveled to Vietnam to meet with WildAct and CSAGA, two Vietnam-based organizations who, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Resilient, Inclusive, & Sustainable Environments (RISE) grants challenge, partnered to increase the number of women working in conservation by making the workplace safer. Dr. Polanco participated in WildAct/CSAGA’s final ceremony, in which directors and staff of several of Vietnam’s National Parks and conservation organizations pledged their support for the project’s goal, and committed to implement the training they received through the project. Dr. Polanco also travelled to Pu Mat National Park and Animals Asia Foundation Bear Rescue Center to meet with staff who had participated in WildAct/CSAGA’s safeguarding workshop and learn about the training’s impact. A video summarizing WildAct/CSAGA’s accomplishments is available here.
Dr. Polanco also traveled to Cambodia during January 16-19, to meet with RECOFTC, an organization working with community forestry groups in Community Protected Areas in Cambodia. Dr. Polanco met with RECOFTC and joined them on a site visit to Kampong Thom, where they heard from a women’s network about their work in forest management and conservation.
Under the Gender Integration Technical Assistance (GITA) II Task Order, Banyan Global is providing technical support to USAID’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub on several initiatives focused on GBV. Banyan Global is supporting RISE grantees as they develop promising approaches to prevent and respond to GBV across environmental sectors. Grantees are addressing GBV in their communities in a variety of ways, such as helping men and women secure land rights, empowering women miners to advocate for better treatment, and developing safeguarding policies within conservation organizations.