In many remote parts of Vietnam, small scale construction to improve the lives of people in villages is difficult; as constrained budgets only allow governments to prioritise the completion of one or two large scale developments, in each province, every year.
ChildFund Vietnam has developed a partnership model in Bac Kan, Hoa Binh and Cao Bang, which calls for local community participation and contribution to make small scale constructions possible.
With ChildFund supporting local communities with construction materials, and technical advice provided by the functional departments of the local management system, local people are responsible for community engagement, manpower and financial contributions.
The Youth Union plays a key role in mobilising the young people in each village to work on-site. After learning about the project vision and its impact, people participate in not only the construction, but also in the usage and maintenance management process.
“It is important that local people are involved from the beginning, and that everything is effectively communicated, and work is properly informed,” advises Vinh, Provincial Manager of ChildFund Vietnam in Bac Kan.
“By applying the partnership model, which mobilises local people’s skills, we can expand our support to many more communities,” he adds.
By early 2016, ChildFund had assisted in the construction of three irrigation canals – providing water for 16.3ha of rice fields, along with two village lanes and two culvert-bridges – giving people in villages better and safer access to public services. As each small scale construction that ChildFund supports helps 15 to 45 households, these local developments can be life-changing for many children and families living in remote areas.
Thuan, a mother of two from Bac Kan, explains: “Previously, my children had to walk to school every day as no vehicles could be used to cross a local stream. During the rainy season, when the stream was full of water, it would be very dangerous to walk over the bamboo bridge, as the overflowing water could destroy it in the blink of an eye. Often, my children had to skip school to stay at home for their safety.
“Now that we have a concrete bridge, parents like me do not have to worry about our children getting to school. We can also sell our farming products at the district market for a better price, as well as carry them straight from home to the market. Life is more convenient and safer with this bridge,” she adds.