Vietnam recognises 54 ethnic groups, although approximately 87% of the population belong to the dominant Kinh ethnic group. Most ethnic minority people live in rural, mountainous areas and make up a large proportion of the extreme poor in the country (Ironside, 2017; USAID, 2013).

Approximately 20% of the population of Quang Binh province are ethnic minority people, including the Ma Lieng, Khua, May, Sach, Ruc, Ma Coong, Arem and Van Kieu peoples.

We seek to learn from ethnic minority people and value their culture and indigenous knowledge, for instance regarding land management and traditional medicine. This knowledge is utilised in our projects to improve sustainability and effectiveness.

We work with ethnic minority people to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods. For example, CIRD began working with the Ma Lieng community since 1998. Projects include allocating forest land and promoting sustainable forest management support in accordance with customary law. You can read more about the project here.


Ironside, J. (2017). The Recognition of Customary Tenure in Vietnam. MRLG Thematic Study Series #6. Vientiane: MRLG.

USAID (2013) Vietnam Country Profile: Property Rights and Resource Governance.

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