When Luc Nam District experienced a new COVID-19 outbreak in May 2021, local leaders were able to respond quickly and creatively in part because of the equipping YWAM Mercy had provided previously. This helped reduce losses to the local economy.

Many agricultural products are ready for harvest in spring, which was when this current outbreak occurred. The farmers’ productivity has increased because of YWAM Mercy training. This is good, but farmers must be quick to get their products to market before they spoil.

In the face of this new outbreak the local leaders had two challenges. In addition to working to stop the spread of the virus, they also needed to help traders market and distribute their products to avoid great financial losses.

The leaders who were responsible to resolve these problems are also key players in our project Board of Management. While working with YWAM Mercy’s Integrated Rural Development projects they had been trained in marketing as well as risk management. As a result, they were able to support local farmers in connecting with markets and helped to put favorable policies and conditions in place. The training they received also helped them to develop stronger networks with other departments and distributors who they called on to help in this time of crisis.

The plan to help required traders to receive COVID-19 tests each week. If they tested negative they could leave the local area to sell their goods. Vehicles that enter and exit the local area to support trade, could be allowed to do so as long as they were registered in advance with the District People’s Committee. The local Farmer’s Union also coordinated with their Provincial counterparts to arrange for the distribution of goods such as pineapple. This helped them maintain the usual selling price of 6,000-8,000 VND/kg even with the pandemic restrictions.

Local people are helping each other to get through the pandemic restrictions, banding together to fight the virus. Some are making food for those isolating in central locations and others are preparing masks and face shields or donating needed food items and supplies. The communication training YWAM Mercy provided to local leaders helped them know how to call for the community to contribute in these ways.

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