VWU’s role in rural water and sanitation

In order to share experience and promote cooperation among Vietnamese and international agencies working on water and sanitation, on May 15th 2013 the Vietnam Women’s Union organized the workshop “The role of Vietnam Women’s Union in rural water and sanitation” chaired by the VWU First Vice-President Ms. Hoang Thi Ai Nhien.

The keynote speaker was Ms. Ann Killen, Director of Practice Standards, Professional Development and Quality Assurance, New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services, Australia. The workshop attracted a broad participation of representatives from ministries, agencies, international organizations and VWU staff.

Presenting her PhD research o­n “Women, Water and Development” with various approaches and interesting methodology, Ms. Ann Killen showcased different angles of the VWU’s role in women empowerment and rural development, specifically rural water and sanitation. The author used a qualitative method, including drawings by grassroots women, to explore how local women think about VWU, what they benefit from joining VWU (knowledge, information, skills training, support for family economic development, entertainment and social activities, etc.). It is clear from the respondents that when women are organized, they can help each other better and feel confident to gain more achievements. The research findings attributed success of the projects and program in rural water and sanitation to VWU role of communication and organization in dealing with the grassroots women and their family. The research attracted a lot of attention, discussion and sharings of the participants.

At the workshop, VWU representatives shared the initiatives of the Community Hygiene Outcome-Based Aid Project (CHOBA) to assist the poor and near-poor women to build latrines and wash hand with soap; and shared the VWU’s participation in the building of a new rural life. The participants paid high attention to the presentation by Ms. Nguyen Thi Tinh, Vice President of Ninh Binh Women’s Union. The Women’s Union have been focusing o­n communication to raise awareness of women members o­n water and sanitation, and to help establish healthy behaviors through club activities, women group meetings, talk shows, and have been providing microfinance to assist the building of clean water and sanitation facilities, biogas systems. The WU is also active in the CHOBA project and waste collection activities. These activities have clearly reflected the WU’s role and contribution to the improvement of women’s life.

Closing the workshop, Vice-President Hoang Thi Ai Nhien reiterated the importance of rural water and sanitation to the national development and the VWU’s commitment to this goal.

The Vice-President highly appreciated the engagement, sharing and discussion of the participants, which is valuable inputs for the VWU to work out the action plan in this field. She also thanked the ministries, agencies, organizations inside and outside the country for their cooperation and support to the VWU to do better its jobs, effectively contributing to the building of a new rural life.

International Relations Department, VWU