CAO BANG Development Centre (DECEN) is the first and only non-government organization in Cao Bang province, working for sustainable development of ethnic minorities. Inheriting HELVETAS’s seventeen working experience years in Cao Bang, we place our special focus on promoting human rights, policy advocacy, access to water and sanitation and economic expansion opportunities for ethnic minorities. It is supposed that equipped with the proper resources, ethnic minorities will have the power to escape poverty, illiteracy, etc.

During the first three years of birth, we mobilized nearly $ 2 million (equivalent to VND 40 billions) for building water schemes, raising sanitation awareness, increasing income for EM by their traditional handicraft and creating policy dialogues between EM and the Government. Moreover, we are selected to take the chairman of NGOs Network in the Northern Mountainous provinces of Vietnam for sustainable development of Ethnic Minorities (EM) and other marginalized groups. The approval on the project of “Improving the voice of ethnic minorities” for the period 3/2013 to 2/2016 by European Commission is the first effective achievement of the Northnet which DECEN will implement a pilot model on grassroots democracy.

In the only Cao Bang government, we are considered as the typical and leading non-government organization in fundraising for EM development so we are always invited to participate into small to big meetings of the provincial government in the field of fundraising for ethnic minorities.

In ethnic minority communities, we always receive full of praise for our support. Together with ethnic minorities, we build water and latrine schemes. We only provide training and necessary construction materials while the communities contribute labor, local available materials (such as stone or trees) and pay for operation and maintainance costs. Regarding handicraft, we work closely with ethnic minorities (Nung, Mong, Dzao, Lo Lo) to promote their available assets and indigenous knowledge. It is the first time they are proud of their traditional handicraft which helps them to increase their income. In addition, the policy dialogues offer EM to raise their voice and express their opinion to the government policies which directly affect on their fate.

We aim at the target: “by 2020, the environment and life of highland ethnic minorities in Cao Bang and the northern region of Vietnam is sustainably improved by their own assets together with the local government and Cao Bang Development Centre.