The 38 fellows from three of WLE Greater Mekong’s fellowship programs have produced blogs that showcase the work they’ve been conducting since April 2015.
These capacity development fellowships in the Mekong, Salween and Red River basins were developed by the Mekong Sub-region Social Research Centre of Ubon Ratchathani University, the Centre for Social Development Studies of Chulalongkorn University, and the Vietnam Academy of Water Resources, respectively.
In order to strengthen the governance of these river basins and the water and land resources they encompass, the fellowship program is aiming to build the research and policy capacities of young and mid-career researchers, civil society and government officials of the basins.
Each fellowship program set up mentors for 12 to 13 research fellows, who were selected through a competitive open call process. The fellows then planned and conducted research projects from June 2015 until September 2016.
The blog posts from the fellows are an important first output of the projects and are meant to give an overview of the topics and questions covered in the program. Blogs provide an opportunity for these researchers to communicate their research findings in an informal way to a wider audience.
“Since launching the fellowship program, the fellows have met three times for trainings on research design, fieldwork and writing skills, and to share their knowledge between each other,” said Dr. Carl Middleton of Chulalongkorn University, who led the program in the Salween and helped coordinate the three basin programs. “These blogs are the first product of their work. They offer an enlightening picture of the diversity of river-related challenges and opportunities facing Southeast Asia today, and the important role that motivated researchers and their work can play towards informing them.”
MK31 Research Fellow, Saw John Bright of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) in Myanmar, said, “For me, writing the blog not only helped improve my writing, but served as a great advocacy tool. There was so much positive feedback and comments on my blog from next users as I shared it with colleagues, friends and people in my water governance networks. Most of them, especially experts working as consultants in the energy sector in Myanmar and INGO specialists in water governance sector, were really interested in my fellowship products and the advocacy work I did on water governance. They are expecting some interesting contributions to the water governance debate from the final product of my fellowship.”