YWAM MERCY VIETNAM
YWAM Mercy Vietnam is a locally run community development program in Vietnam. We believe people have the capacity to improve their lives and the key to helping communities often lies in or near the community with minimal outside intervention.
YWAM Mercy Vietnam believes that everyone is valuable and deserves opportunity. Depending on the person, or the community, that opportunity could be in the form of a cow bank, a micro loan, business training, parenting training or one of many community specific solutions we are implementing.
YWAM Mercy Vietnam is registered with the Vietnamese government as a Swiss International NGO with Project Office Registration number No:46/BNG-VPDA. We have partner organizations in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland which allows for tax deductible receipts to be granted in these countries.
Every community has different needs and every project needs to be carefully designed to find effective solutions. When we start working with a community we run a comprehensive assessment which includes among other things a survey of 25% randomly selected households on their situation, their felt needs, and where there is opportunity for development. The results of this assessment go into a specific plan for development in the community.
YWAM Mercy Vietnam only works in communities where they have been invited and where the community and leaders see the need for change. Instead of running projects for communities, we provided the tools, project management assistance, and accountability needed to empower the community to take the lead in running the project themselves. Specific timelines are put in place before the project starts that specify how long we will be involved and when the project will be fully turned over to the community.
Community ownership is key to sustainability. We do not fund projects completely. Every program requires different techniques and strategies to make sure the community and the leaders are committed to the success of the program. The community must be willing to invest heavily, both in time and resources. This ensures the leaders and community members remain active participants in the process and encourages them to take full ownership of the project. Community ownership creates a seamless transfer of project management when our participation is completed.
We believe change in a community begins with one person, one family, one relationship. Empowering one person in a community to succeed creates a ripple effect that has the power to transform the whole community. Empowering parents, children, teachers, farmers, and business owners to succeed and thrive, transforms the whole community.
YWAM Mercy Vietnam is currently working in three districts in Vietnam, in northern Hanoi and to its northwest. These areas are undergoing rapid economic change and we believe everyone should be able to benefit from the opportunities this change brings.
Since 1986 the country has moved from being one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income of around $100 US, to a lower middle-income status with a per capita income of around $2,100 at the end of 2015. However, this increase in income is unevenly distributed and many of the nations farmers, who comprise 66% of Vietnam’s population, still rely mainly on subsistence agriculture for their income. In one of the communities where we work the yearly per capita income is only $318.
Vietnam is currently undergoing its own industrial revolution where agricultural lands are being converted for industrial uses. Families are no longer able to survive on traditional agricultural incomes alone.
Luc Nam is a mountainous district of Bac Giang province. It is located 20 km to the east of the centre of the province.
Luc Nam is the third largest district of Bac Giang province (based on land size).
The district is made up of 25 communes and 2 towns with a total area of 600 km2. The Luc Nam district includes 18,720 ha of agricultural land and 27,000 ha of forest.
With 226,502 people (as of 30 June 2016), Luc Nam is the second-largest district of the province in terms of population.
Of the 54,974 households in the Luc Nam district, 21% are registered as being below the poverty line and 10% are listed as near the poverty line.
There are many ethnic groups within the Luc Nam district. The Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese) group accounts for 85% of the total population. Other ethnic groups in the region include:
- Cao Lan
- San Diu
- San Chi
The majority of the population lives in rural areas. The average yearly income per person is VND 20 million (about US$900).
The main sources of income for the district are:
- Wood and forest products, aquaculture 44%
- Industrial production 30%
- Services and tourism 26%
The main crops are rice, corn, sweet potatoes, vegetables, soy beans, peanuts and tobacco. In recent years the hill and forest land in this area has seen an increase in commercial plant crops such as tea, orange, lemon, pineapple, banana, lychee, custard apple, longan, persimmon, and chestnut.
There are 99 schools including 34 preschools, 34 primary schools, 26 secondary schools and 5 high schools.
The education quality in this location has improved in recent years. However, more support is needed to bring all schools to an even level. Infrastructure is still poor. Some facilities are in poor condition with classes operating with insufficient light, few learning tools, and poorly equipped labs.
There is a significant need for teacher training.
Luc Nam has one district hospital and each commune has one health clinic. There are also some private health care centres located around the district. However, clinic facilities and equipment are quite poor. Doctors and clinical staff lack access to continuing education to update their knowledge and skills.
Ba Vi District is located in a mountainous area 60 kilometers west of Hanoi city center.
The climate in the area is cooler than urban Hanoi with an average temperature of 23.4 degrees Celsius.
The spiritually significant Ba Vi mountain is referred to as “lord of the mountains” even though it is not Vietnam’s tallest. It’s three iconic humped peaks are often shrouded in mist. Suoi Hai, a manmade lake at the eastern edge of the range is a popular spot for relaxation as is Ba Vi National Park.
The Ba Vi district is known for it’s dairy industry. The district has it’s own breed of milk-cow which is a cross between a local brown cow and a European dairy cow. Many roadside stands offer fresh Ba Vi branded milk, yogurt, or flan. The milk from the Ba Vi cow, though not abundant, has an excellent taste due to the rich soil and grasslands in the area.
Total land area of the district is 424 km2.
The total population of the Ba Vi district is about 287,000 people.
Ethnic groups found in the district include:
- Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese): 260,088 people
- Muong : 24,781 people (estimated 9%)
- Dao : 2,131 people (estimated less than 1%)
The Muong and Dao ethnic groups live in 7 mountainous communes including 4 of our project communes.
The total number of households in the district is 65,581.
Households based on income:
- In Poverty : 4,090 households (6%)
- Near poverty line : 5,743 household (8%)
The main sources of income are:
- service and tourism : 52%
- agricultural : 32 %
- industrial and construction : 16%
Ba Vi has 121 schools: 42 preschools, 36 primary schools, 35 secondary schools and 8 high schools.
Hoai Duc is located 20 km to the east of Hanoi city center.
It is comprised of 20 communes and towns, covering a total land area of 8,267 km2.
Hoai Duc has a population of 212,900 people, of which 120,950 are working-aged residents. The residents are a majority Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese.)
Traditionally this area’s economy was agriculture based. In 2008, Hanoi expanded its urban area to include Hoai Duc and most of the agricultural land was rezoned for developing small and medium industries, services, businesses and housing.
Hoai Duc faces great challenges in creating enough jobs for it’s residents.
When I (Roslyn) first came to Vietnam in September 1995 I had a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty. While learning the language and culture, I did research about the best way to make a lasting difference.
In 1998 YWAM Mercy Vietnam was registered with PACCOM (People’s Aid Coordinating Committee) the Government Office Responsible for International Non- Government Organizations.
We were invited by the Vietnamese government to begin our activities in rural Hanoi (the former Ha Tay Province).
Hoping for quick success, we began our first project in 1998, supplying seeds and fertilizers in one village. When we evaluated this project we learned the importance of taking into account the community input in the ‘project designing phase.’ While the villagers benefitted greatly from this project, we drew many lessons from this experience that have made our subsequent projects more community owned and sustainable.
After the first project we were invited to work in two more neighboring districts and in 1999 we began helping schools and clinics with clean water and sanitation. This lead to more involvement with preschools. Drawing on lessons learned from these projects, our subsequent Early Childhood Development (ECD) projects evolved to concentrate less on improving school facilities, and more on addressing quality of care issues in the family as well as in the school.
These communities also expressed their concern about environmental pollution cause by farm animals so in 2001 we launched our first biogas project.
In 2000 we began working in the Ba Vi District taking responsibility for one Children’s home and establishing two more community based family style homes for children in difficult circumstances.
Later, the Ba Vi community leaders heard about the success of our previous biogas project and requested similar help for their pollution issues. When reviewing our previous biogas projects we realized one of the barriers preventing families from building biogas units was the initial capital needed. Based on this information we decided to offer micro-loans for future biogas projects.
We started in Luc Nam district in 2003 and during the initial assessment period we identified poverty issues that needed to be addressed. We saw that many families struggling with poverty lacked opportunities to improve their situation. So, in addition to improving preschools, we began to operate cow banks and opportunity teams to provide training and micro-credit opportunities to these families.
In 2008 the boundaries of Hanoi expanded to include Ha Tay Province. During this transition, agricultural areas lost farm land and people needed to find other work. In 2009 we partnered with Swiss Create to help develop businesses in this area so that business owners could create stable jobs. We started this program in one community but were soon approached by the District’s Womens Union to expand this much needed project to include the whole district.
Our original projects in 2 of the early districts we worked in have finished. We are now running programs in 3 districts outside the Hanoi city center. We have learned a lot about community development and our projects are now more community owned and run. We have also expanded our scope to cover many different needs in the community.
Over the years we have had the opportunity to see many communities successfully work through their challenges to take over and grow projects after our involvement has finished.
YWAM Mercy Vietnam is currently registered with the Vietnamese government as a Swiss International NGO with Project Office Registration number No:46/BNG-VPDA .
The Swiss Office of YWAM Mercy International is located in Rte de Begnins5, 1268 Burtigny, CCP 10-25823-4, Switzerland and has registration number CH-5220.127.116.11-2.