Villagers are still hesitant in sharing their opinions and information needs, according to the latest meeting in late February 2019 of CARE and partners’ staff in Hanoi on promoting access to information in ethnic minority communities.

The meeting was to review the second year of the EU-funded project, ‘Informed to Influence’: Increasing ethnic minority women’s access to information for improved governance and development (I2I). Participants included representatives of NorthNet members, Departments of Justice from three project provinces and members of six Community Information Boards. The participants discussed the result and challenges that the project I2I had had during its second year in Cao Bang, Bac Kan and Dien Bien.

A key achievement was that the Community Information Boards were able to create a two-way information exchange between local authorities and the people. Through activities such as monthly bulletins or face-to-face meetings, the people in project sites learned more about legal regulations that matter to their everyday life, including the Law on Access to Information itself.

However, the Community Information Boards also raised concerns about the fact that they had not received much feedback from local people. Reasons were multiple, according to the Board members: local people are too shy to share their opinion; the Board activities have not been regular enough; the quality and speed of information need further improvement; etc.

In the third year, the project team agreed to organise more community events to boost information exchange. The Community Information Boards will also be equipped with loudspeakers and other device to carry out more regular information sharing sessions in their respective commune.

The project I2I is funded by the EU and lasts from 2017 to 2020. One of the key objectives is that ethnic minority women have increased access to information on ethnic minority-related policies and programmes that impact them.