Carried out from the second quarter of 2021, the follow-up research “Development of an investigation of the demands, advantages and barriers of Civil Society Organisations working in the field of biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability in Central and Central Highlands, Vietnam” was completed as a prerequisite for the important steps of the Conservation Fund Project.
The study surveyed 42 CSOs through questionnaires, in- depth interviews with 10 businesses and eight-organization discussion groups, the study length is relatively around 3 months which was monitored and ensured its objectivity and progress.
Overview of the CSOs
The study identified characteristics of the civil society organizations (CSOs) working in the field of Biodiversity conservation and Environmental Sustainability as well as examined the demands, advantages and barriers in the organization process; and their need resource improvement
The characteristics of the civil society organizations working in the field of Biodiversity conservation and Environmental Sustainability in Central and Central Highlands are summarized as follows:
- Youth organisations accounted for 52% of the total number of interviewed organisations. The other forms of the CSOs are non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Community-based organisations such as women’s unions, fishermen’s associations, etc.; Youth organisations such as environmental clubs, green clubs and Youth Union; social networking groups and associated groups implementing environmental projects/community groups.
- The result showed that CSOs are distributed mainly in Da Nang city, Hue city (Thua Thien Hue province), Hoi An city (Quang Nam Province) in Central and Central Highlands. Next, NGOs and CBOs accounted for 17%. The figures show that most organizations operated in Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien Hue provinces..
- The results indicated that 60% of CSOs had operated from 1 year to less than 5 years, coming from youth clubs and social network groups. However, the survey showed that 2% of clubs and groups had only been active for less than a year and were deactivated at least once due to the pandemic. Besides, 10 organisations of the total interviewed CSOs have operated over 10 years (accounting for 24%), which belongs to the type of NGOs, CBOs and the traditional youth clubs in universities.
- The financial sources for their operational expenses are diverse, depending on the type of organisations. The operating expenses of NGOs / NPOs are mainly funded by international organisations; Concerning the community-based organisations such as women’s unions, fishermen’s associations, their operating expenses come from local authority and their members’ contribution; Regarding the youth-based organisations (i.e. youth clubs or groups), their financial source for operating mainly come from crowdfunding.
Human resources management
Human capital is also one of the characteristics of the non-profit sector in general and of the CSOs in particular. The study has shown the following interesting characteristics:
- The result presented that young staff accounted for 67% of the total staff of CSOs. And the data also indicated that young members hold leader positions at CSOs with 69% of the total leaders. According to the survey from CSOs, the evidence showed that 80% of women hold leadership positions in each institution. All interviewed CSOs showed respect for female colleagues and always try to ensure gender equality in their organisations.
- The survey showed that staff regular assessment only applied at 55% of the interviewed CSOs, the rest 45% of organisations did not regularly evaluate their staff. Only 30% of the CSOs also have organised annual training courses with the various skills including: communication, interpersonal skills, negotiation, and foreign language skills. The interpersonal skill is focused on practice , mainly by NGOs and community-based organizations. Therefore, the improvement of professional knowledge is also interesting for the interviewed.
CSOs’ challenges and opportunities in the future
In recent years, the activities of the CSOs have been concerned by the community. The realization, evaluation of the social background, and organization’s difficulties help them recognize opportunities and challenges in the new stage.
According to the result of the background study, financial resources are the biggest challenge for most CSOs working in the fields of Biodiversity conservation and Environmental Sustainability in Central and Central Highlands, Vietnam. Because Vietnam is no longer on the priority list for receiving assistance and funds from foreign sponsors.Additionally, the fierce competition among domestic NGOs is to secure their working budgets.
The second challenge is the shortage of human resources resulting in the absence of generational transfer planning and low income. In fact, a number of young and talented people, especially those who have considerable expertise and good English skills, are not much interested in NGO work.