Using Education and Training to
Improve Sanitation Conditions and Lives in North Vietnam
In 2010, the Monsanto Fund paired with RECENFED, the Research Centre for Non-Formal Education, to improve the lives of women in North Vietnam’s Hoa Binh province. With their land heavily polluted because of unsafe agricultural practices and deforestation, the people of the Hoa Binh province needed help.
The Monsanto Fund provided a $93,000 grant to RECENFED, a unit of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Vietnam National Institute for Educational Sciences. The RECENFED-Monsanto Fund partnership has provided the women of Hoa Binh with training related to healthier environmental and agricultural practices.
Meet Bui: One of the Many Reasons this Project Exists
One of the women impacted by this program is 40-year-old Bui. Bui finished six years of school; her husband finished four years. They both hope their daughter will have more educational opportunities than they did. But the vicious cycle of poverty and lack of education are ubiquitous in the region, affecting Bui’s family and many like hers.
Bui’s small home contains only basic household items. It doesn’t have a basic bathroom, and their plot of land is too narrow to build a toilet. The family’s only means of transportation is an old bicycle Bui inherited from her mother.
Bui’s family earns their living by farming a half-acre rice field and, in a good year, the rice field supports their food needs for two months. To make up for the shortage, Bui and her husband take turns working as seasonal farmhands. For Bui, her focus is on providing food for her family. “What we earn must go toward buying food,” she said.
Because their household was below the poverty line, Bui received a pig and a cow from their commune. But without proper means to build a barn, she keeps her cattle beneath their raised home, with the uncovered manure pit close by.
A very elementary pigsty is located at the corner of Bui’s garden. With no pit, the pig manure flowed down to the garden, contaminating the food growing there.
These sanitary issues are commonplace for Bui and the people of Hoa Binh. This is just one person’s story.
What the Project Has Accomplished
As a result of this grant, Bui is one of more than 1,000 women who now has the opportunity to participate in training at the community learning center. Project facilitators provide easy-to-understand resources and materials about safe agricultural practices and sanitation. In addition to educating the women, the grant has also provided technical and financial assistance to 125 households in the region.
Construction for new animal breeding facilities and bathrooms has taken place, and therefore thousands of villagers are experiencing improved safety and standards of living in their homes.
With this training, Bui now believes she can improve life for herself and her family, as well as improve the lives of those in her village and community. As a result, she hopes her daughter, along with other children in the village, will enjoy a brighter future with a quality education – leading her to eventually escape poverty.