Mr. Lo Duy Phan lives in Ba Thuoc village, in the Thanh Hoa province in Vietnam. Like thousands of Indigenous people in Southeast Asia, Lo’s community live in fear. Illegal logging, deforestation and land-grabbing mean that they could lose their homes and ability to make a living.
Lo courageously patrols his local area, doing everything he can to keep his friends and families safe, as he explains:
“I’m 63 and work as the village’s forest patrol team leader. Our job is to walk this land and make sure that no one harms it. We patrol the border of the nature reserve and any key areas of valuable wood or products.
Sometimes we receive tips about suspicious activity. On our way to investigate them we have to mark our path through the forest with paint or by using knives to carve on trees. We also mark places with a high risk of illegal logging so that we can regularly patrol them.
We have recently been trained to use digital tools such as GPS and smartphones. This method is quite new and a bit strange for us but Cord’s training sessions have helped the team get familiar with this new technology.
There are many challenges including difficult terrain, landslides and snake attacks. We also have to face illegal loggers. Some of them try to find out who is involved in the patrol so they can take revenge on us.
The community are very supportive of what we do, as it is vital to the survival of our people.
Our desire is that the patrol will grow and receive more help from Cord. We want to preserve this beautiful piece of land and ensure that the forest continues to provide our community with its bounty.
I hope my health allows me to keep doing this for at least a few more years to help prepare the future generations of the patrol. Then I can fulfill my mission and retire happily.”
Cord is strengthening human rights defenders, enabling them to effectively defend their land. Through our projects, hundreds of land titles have been granted giving people peace of mind and a secure future. Find out more about out land rights work.