Norwegian Red Cross and DNV GL partnership in Vietnam

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DNV GL has supported water and sanitation projects in Vietnam since 2008, with high degree of employee engagement. This engagement has dropped somewhat in the last 2 years due to the shift of the Head Office to Ho Chi Minh City, which is geographically distant from the northern mountainous regions where the projects were located. The demands placed on the organization due to the merger with GL and subsequent reorganization were also part of the reason.  

It was determined to shift the region of the project to be supported closer to Ho Chi Minh City in the last quarter of 2014, and the Vietnam Red Cross, along with Norwegian Red Cross and the local DNV GL representation are in the process of picking out a suitable village where the project funds will have the greatest impact, along with fulfilling the need for it to be within a day’s travelling distance from HCM City. On going water and sanitation project at Lao Cai Province (Vietnam) Vang Det village in Lao Cai Province has 56 households with 287 inhabitants of ethnic minority groups. All households have persons suffering from water related diseases. Annual per capita income is below 200 USD. The project activities are designed to be implemented in a pro-poor and participatory manner, which ensures the effectiveness and efficiency of the project. These interventions have strong visible impact on local people in Vang Det village, where 98% of the population is living under and near the poverty line. 

Our specific goals since June 2014 have been infrastructure improvement, healthcare and hygiene promotion, and livelihood support. 

Infrastructure & Watsan facility improvement

Construction of the gravity water system was completed. The main water pipeline has been installed. 26 of the  poorest households, who are unable to afford their own pipeline, were assisted to pipe water from the main pipe to their homes. The construction is scheduled to be completed by January 2015, serving the entire 56 households in the village. Co-funding from the local authorities was up to USD 3,238, excluding the costs of design, cost estimation and technical supervision. Local villagers contributed 219 labour days transporting construction materials and devoted 50 m2 of their own land.

Family latrine and water tank

10 out of a total of 56 family latrines were constructed as of December 2014. The construction process was planned in 2 phases. During the first phase, 10 households were selected to receive financial support ($ 150 per household) from the project for construction of their own latrines. They committed to using the latrines after completion. The physical facilities and the convenience they got from such facilities stimulated jealousy and demand within their neighbours. As a result, the remaining 46 families were eager to register for the second phase of the construction, which will start and be completed within January 2015. They are now more than eager to contribute their money and labour to construct their own latrines at total cost of around 6 million VND ($300). The “need stimulation” approach proved to be effective. 

56 water tanks have been purchased and will be distributed to the 56 households after the water system is completed. 

1 water tank has been already placed at Vang Det school. They have prepared the tap, valve and platform for the tank and areready to be connected to the main pipe. 

Making the village road 

Approximately 70% of the total 418 m long village road has been upgraded with concrete by end of 2014. Financial support from this project was VND 100 million (4,700USD). Local authorities contributed approximately USD 1,240 as matching fund, on top of the costs related to cost calculation, design, supervision and relevant formalities. Local villagers contributed 285 labor days for the manual work and devoted 135 m2 of their private land. The construction is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2015. 

Healthcare and Hygiene Promotion 

A one-day campaign to promote better healthcare and hygiene behaviour was launched in the village. Free health-checks and consultations as well as worm-purge tablets were provided to 150 villagers. The campaign was conducted in collaboration with volunteer doctors from the Province’s Association of Young Doctors. 

In addition, the core volunteers, after being trained on healthcare and Wat san, came to every household in the village to further explain why and how to use clean water as well as how to adopt environmental and personal hygiene. 200 Watsan flyers were delivered to villagers during village meetings so that they can better understand better hygiene practices. 

Messages of healthcare and Watsan were also integrated into the Mid Autumn Festival event, which took place in September 2014. The event is meaningful in terms of both ethnic culture promotion and healthcare & hygiene dissemination.     

Livelihood support

Financial support was given to 32 poor households to buy 64 pigs (2 pigs per household) for short term livelihood improvement. All the households have committed to keep their pigs far away from their houses to enhance environmental hygiene. 

26 households who have land for forestry were provided with young trees to plant 5 hectares of timber, intensified with tea trees as short term crop. The tea trees were co-supported by the local district’s budget. 

Trainings on techniques for husbandry and planting were also provided to all households in order to ensure their effective implementation of the livelihood support solutions.