grantees » Nguyen Thi Kim Cuc

Kim Cuc Nguyen Thi, Vietnam

Cuc is a bright young activist, equipped with a deep passion and infectious laugh, working on issues of human rights and environmental awareness throughout Asia. Cuc first showed promise as a leader in this field through her research of social and environmental safeguard policies in the construction of the controversial Trung Son Dam in Thanh Hoa province of Vietnam. Not only did local communities yield great benefits from her dedication to this project, but Cuc herself grew as a researcher.

With her diplomatic skills and solid understanding of human rights principles, Cuc has a unique ability to advocate for stronger social and environmental safeguards within sensitive contexts.  She believes that “human rights are… in need of practical implementation in every corner of [a] society”, including in the arena of environmental health and protection. In following this passion, Cuc enrolled in a Human Rights and Democratization program at the University of Sydney, where she continues to broaden her theoretical foundation of these issues.

Cuc used her JWH Initiative grant to conduct research on the effects of a water supply project in Nepal, as part of a dissertation requirement for her university program. She looked specifically at the effects on local communities of the diversion of the Melamchi river water to provide drinking water to citizens of Kathmandu. Cuc conducted her field work at a difficult time in Nepal, when the government was implementing a new constitution and the country was experiencing often dangerous riots. However, despite these difficulties, Cuc was able to complete in-depth interviews with community members, scientists, and activists to gain insight into the complex social and environmental issues regarding the river diversion, and as Cuc says, so that the “locals’ voices could be heard at higher levels”. Her research shed light on the violations of the rights of local communities whose livelihoods are inseparable from the river, the potential environmental impacts caused by the development project. , and the gaps in environmental advocacy that must be addressed in Nepal and beyond. Through her work in the region, Cuc was able to gain skills in Nepalese communication, language and culture, data collection, understanding of water rights and privatization, writing skills and data analysis- all abilities she will take with her as she works on future projects.

Cuc will continue her work for human and environmental rights with a fellowship to research the impacts of disasters on marginalized communities in Thailand and Japan. With her positive personality, natural leadership abilities, and new skills gained from her JWH Initiative grant work, Cuc will keep giving voices to communities fighting environmental maladies in hopes of a more sustainable future.



Skype: kimcucxhh