Mekong Environmental Security Atlas Project (MESA Project) is an initiative championed by MEF/CDNC in collaboration with the School of Education – Can Tho University (through the Department of Geography Education). The Project is supported by Internews EJN, the Japan-based Takagi Fund for Citizen Science, and East-West Management Institute through its Open Development Initiative. MESA is a non-profit webGIS project aiming to build an online interactive map (Atlas) that empowers local contributors to register ecological conflicts and to introduce alternative policy options for better water governance and climate-resilient development in the Lower Mekong Region.

The MESA Project consists of three professional training workshops covering citizen science and digital conservation, field-based data and evidence production, and environmental data journalism. A project-end workshop will be a public media dialogue to introduce the project outputs and network regional journalists to the webGIS Atlas and other partners’ platforms.
On the 18th of April 2019, the MESA Project was kick-started by its first training workshop, themed “Citizen Science for Sustainable Development”, organized at Can Tho University. The workshop aimed to connect and educate local contributors selected to be involved in the project. A basic skill set necessary for field-based data creation and real-life evidence-building was introduced at the workshop.

More than 30 participants including representatives from Farmers Union, Women Union of Soc Trang and Ca Mau provinces, experts, lecturers, and students from Can Tho University attended the workshop.
The focus of the MESA webGIS platform is to network communities (women, farmers, and local youth) with experts, university scientists, and journalists in order to promote information-sharing, a dataset on ecological conflicts, environmental pollution, and climate-resilient livelihood models. In this platform, outstanding and enthusiastic university students will be recruited as “young professionals” who work to facilitate the connection between community representatives and scientists and to assist in fieldwork and dataset production.




To facilitate the post-workshop fieldwork, the MESA Project has offered 3 mini-grants ($300 each) to help three professional groups implement their projects in May 2019. Their research outputs will be reviewed and presented at the second training workshop scheduled to be held on 7 June 2019. Their work then will be registered on the MESA Project webGIS as the first trial environmental stories/dataset in the Mekong Delta.

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