Communities are not often encouraged to talk trash, but at the June 5-6 launch ceremonies sponsored by IUCN VN and Holcim Vietnam Ltd. (HVL), that is exactly what they did.
The speeches, tree plantings and community rubbish collection activities marked the start of a month-long “Waste Management and Environmental Awareness” public awareness campaign designed to increase knowledge and spur behavior change on issues of waste collection, classification and reduction.
The events generated excitement in the communities. For safety reasons, the trash collection was originally intended only for youth and Holcim volunteers, but other residents joined in after attending the opening festivities, saying they now felt passionate about the issue.
The campaign is running in the communities surrounding the four national operational sites of HVL, a cement supplier that employs about 1,500 people in Vietnam. With a slogan of “Don’t throw away the future: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” the campaign is an activity under a four-year agreement between IUCN and HVL to support the cement producer in its environmental and social responsibility mission.
IUCN and HVL laid the groundwork for the campaign through a series of day-long trainings to familiarize residents with different types of domestic waste and challenges associated with their disposal. The program continued with a presentation on environmental protection and a communications skills training for community members who would take leadership positions during the summer campaign.
After opening ceremonies in each of the four sites, which were timed to coincide with the United Nations World Environment Day, each of the communities divided into four household groups to participate in competitive public education activities.
To learn new waste management procedures in an enjoyable and memorable way, the household groups will be judged on waste classification at the source activities, weekly home-to-village clean-ups and group discussions on waste management, sanitation and environmental protection that will take place through June and early July.
The campaign will culminate with closing contests in the four sites. In addition to scoring the community groups on the month-long activities, a contest board of examiners will award points for mock-game show answers and skits or fashion shows residents will design to display their knowledge.
The 2009 campaign is one of three yearly summer awareness-raising events planned between IUCN VN and HVL.
For more information, please contact Ms. Tran Minh Phuong at firstname.lastname@example.org.