Looking into the black box: The roles of development workers in enhancing climate resilience and gender equality for ethnic minority women through the EmPower project in Vietnam

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Abstract: The climate change-gender nexus has increasingly become the arena in which adaptation interventions take place. One such intervention is the EmPower program in the Asia-Pacific region by UN Women and UNEP. This research is a case study on how one program component on women’s renewable energy entrepreneurship is implemented in Vietnam. Through the perspectives of development workers at CHIASE – EmPower’s partner in northern Vietnam – the research examines what decisions were made about the project implementation, what or who influenced those decisions, and how the project strives to strengthen gender equality within ethnic minority communities. Semi-structured interviews with development workers constitute the main method for data collection, supported by an analysis of program and project documents. Thereafter, empirical data is analyzed using thematic analysis. The feminist political ecology of climate change by Noémi Gonda provides the theoretical foundation for the research. The theory prioritizes attention to the individual scale of analysis, power relations, and intersectional perspectives in the processes of knowledge-making and adaptation to climate change. In essence, this research aims at making visible the personal perceptions, understandings, and experiences of local development workers as well as the context in which they work. These individuals are not simply implementers of a development program but active agents playing different roles, navigating unique conditions and challenges, and ultimately influencing how the EmPower program can improve gender equality in Vietnam.

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