1. The worst drought in the last 40 years and severe saltwater intrusion in 10+ provinces in the Central, Central Highland and South regions threaten the livelihood hood of million farmers; CWS asked to respond after joining assessment mission, but this is fairly far outside current program scopes and staff / agency capacity; EPR Focal Person will stay engaged.
2. Miia Barrow and Markus Ilomaki from the Finish Evangelist Lutheran Mission (FELM) made a six-day visit to CWS Hanoi office and to project sites in northwest Vietnam recently. During and after the field visit, both colleagues said they were very impressed with the fact that the lives of many ethnic minority students and others are changing positively because of FELM-funded efforts in education development and health–hygiene promotion, which have translated into community initiatives to foster a strong commitment from local government as well as community leaders for sustainable community development.
3. The Latter-Day Saint Charity (LDSC) representative in Vietnam has decided to cooperate with CWS for a project on sanitation improvement in Tan Lac district, Hoa Binh province – a mountainous area in northwest Vietnam about 100 km (65 miles) from Hanoi. This new partnership started when the LDSC country representative joined a CWS-led sanitation and hygiene education workshop and field visit in another province, and the Tan Lac initiative is the immediate result, which both partners are hoping to expand.
4. Witnessing the many challenges faced by children in their own country’s remote ethnic minority communities and being inspired by the ELCA-funded NEW IDEA project for which they did a baseline survey, the consultant team from Hanoi Public Health University decided to donate 10 million Vietnamese Dong ($450) to support child-friendly libraries and afterclass activities in some of the schools they visited during the survey. They want to join hands with CWS and local government partners to help improve children’s learning environment and opportunities, which both activities seek to enhance.
5. Early this year, an American graduate student, Ariel Lubin, interned with CWS in Vietnam to learn about our community development activities. During his field trips to the remote areas, he was so inspired by the changes CWS was helping many ethnic families make, Ariel filmed and presented a video about CWS-facilitated rural sanitation and hygiene promotion activities and outcomes. The video was showed at the Bangkok meeting for our regional team.
1. Mr. Chu Mu Ca is Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee in Ka Lang commune, which is in the far northwest of Vietnam’s remote Muong Te district, and recently he shared his enthusiastic thanks for hygiene and sanitation improvements – including many more home latrines – from their partnership with CWS, which started last year. In truth it is Mr. Ca who should be thanked as he led the way to mobilize community members to build and use sanitary latrines. His dedication and enthusiasm inspired many villagers, who are ethnic minority Ha Nhi people, to change their unhealthy habits and use well-built latrines, which, over time, he now knows, from joining in CWS-hosted education sessions, will improve their health and wellness.
2. During recent multi-stakeholder meetings in the Vietnam provinces where CWS is funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM), key Government colleagues acknowledged the evident results of 2015 efforts while affirming plans to collaborate further this year and into the future. Without question CWS partnership and accompaniment appeals to local government leaders because it supports the government’s strategic priorities and ensures collaboration with members of People’s Committees and Women’s Unions as well as Health Center and Education Department staff to ensure progress and development for some of Vietnam’s most vulnerable people – for which national leaders fully acknowledge the need for other’s support.
3. In a new partnership with Tetra-Pak in Vietnam CWS is working with communities in Thanh Hoa province along the north central coast to initiate, Cleaner Schools; Healthier Students to help schools improve their water supply and to promote positive hygiene practices, following CWS Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) model. Local leaders and community representatives were extremely receptive and enthusiastic about the initiative and fully expect that our projects will be widely welcomed in their communities. Additionally, in central Thai Nguyen province, assessments in two new communes have shown the need, and community support, to expand CLTS and related hygiene and sanitation efforts even further.
1.In early January 2016 we welcomed intern Ariel Lubin into the CWS Vietnam family. He is studying for a Masters degree in Community Development in Perth, Australia, and in Hanoi to supplement his studies. He will be spending several weeks in the field in remote regions of northern Vietnam, and helping assist us as we expand our sanitation and hygiene projects. He will also be conducting interviews with local residents and government officials, and photographing CWS projects with the intention of composing a short video that documents our work. He is originally from the United States and received a Bachelors of History in Washington D.C. before moving to Australia for graduate studies. He works at Red Cross Australia and is pursuing a career as a development practitioner. He aims to work in rural communities in Southern Asia after completing his degree. He is a studious and interesting addition to our team, and we look forward to helping him on his journey to promote participatory development and contribute to reducing the effects of poverty in lower income countries.
2.Earlier this month (Jan 2016), the CWS Vietnam team traveled to the Phuc Luong and Phu Thinh communes in Thai Nguyen province just north of Hanoi to conduct hygiene and sanitation assessments and organize educational workshops. Our primary goal was to assess hygiene and sanitation conditions in Phuc Luong and Phu Thinh communes, where we plan to expand in 2016, and organize training seminars for upcoming projects in each region. We met with members of the People’s Committee and Women’s Union to determine if these communities could benefit from our sanitation and hygiene programs. We discovered that many residents of both villages are living in unhealthy and unsanitary environments and lack the capacity and resources to improve their conditions. Local committee representatives were extremely receptive and enthusiastic about our prospective program, and anticipate it will be widely welcomed by members of their communities. We are looking forward to moving forward and expanding into the Phuc Luong and Phu Thinh communes, and believe our sanitation program will significantly improve hygienic practices and reduce the community’s vulnerability to sanitation-related illness.
3.In late January 2016 the CWS Vietnam team traveled to Muong Te, a remote, underdeveloped region in north-western Vietnam. We work on a range of projects in several ethnic villages in the neighboring province. Muong Te is among the poorest regions in Vietnam, and beset by extreme weather conditions and cold temperatures that exacerbate poverty and poor hygienic conditions. We are expanding our sanitation and hygiene programs, and hope to build additional garbage removal facilities, school libraries, and water removal systems in Muong Te in future years. During this particular trip we focused on our latrine program. We toured many of our completed projects in Muong Te and conducted exhaustive workshops with the district government to organize and train local leaders on how to build latrines and educate members of the community on effective sanitary and hygienic practices. We also discussed our progress over the past year. The local government and representatives of the Women’s Union are extremely satisfied with the outcome of our work thus far, and we are looking forward to expanding and mainstreaming our program in 2016 to reach a greater number of remote villages in the province.