Current Program: Vietnam
During the American Vietnam War, Quang Tri Province, straddling the old demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam, was subjected to one of the heaviest bombing campaigns in history. More than 83% of the total area in Quang Tri remains contaminated with unexploded bombs, compared to an average contamination of 20% nationwide. As of December 2011, Quang Tri Province sustained a total of 7,086 casualties from landmine accidents. The problem affects not only the people’s safety but has reduced economic opportunities in the area because of the risk and lack of usable land for agriculture.
Mushrooms with a Mission (MwM)
The “mission” of the MwM program is to improve the livelihoods and reduce the poverty of 1,000 survivors of landmine accidents and their families. Many of the farming families selected for this program are disabled, female-headed households and/or ethnic minorities. MwM is now providing 194 mushroom farmers with the skills and tools they need to grow and sell Linh Chi, wood ear and shiitake mushrooms using modern organic farming techniques. Once the farmers produce the mushrooms, the program buys them back for slightly above market prices. MwM uses the remaining profits from selling the mushrooms to create a steady flow of income to fund the removal of unexploded bombs in Quang Tri. Since 2009, the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) and Project RENEW have partnered to implement this program, which is funded by the US Department of State Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, and the Embassy of Japan in Hanoi. Project RENEW is a local organization based in Quang Tri which provides landmine clearance, survivor assistance, mine risk mwm and livelihoods assistance.
MwM is now providing 194 mushroom farmers with the skills and tools they need to grow and sell Linh Chi, wood ear and shiitake mushrooms using modern organic farming techniques.