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Results of the inspection trip Thua Thien Hue, February 2011

At the very beginning we were received by the Department of International Relations of the provincial government. There were some inconsistencies in our work permit in Vietnam. The head of the department suggested that we should be accompanied by a member of his division at our missions in the villages all the time. After a week she finished to accompany us and remained in office.

Vietnam is in a difficult phase in its development. The Vietnamese government is focusing on the eradication of poverty in rural regions, too. The situation for the poor people is becoming more and more difficult. The inflation rate is higher than 12%. When I was there the price of fuel increased by more than 10%. I was also surprised that the access to Facebook is blocked in Vietnam.

The project communities in detail

In Huong Ho from 15 women who came into the project in 2010, only two had pigs in the barn. Before Tet sold almost all women of their animals because they get more money at this time. Now they wait for better and warmer weather to buy new piglets. Our representative will keep in mind that all women buy piglets again.

In Huong Tho gave Mrs. Lanh, the chairwoman of the Women's Union in the village, a brief overview. Since 2006 a total of 45 households received assistance from Courage. A woman died and 19 women preferred to work in the newly opened sugar refinery because they expect higher and regular salaries. 25 are still active and some of them work very professionally and with correspondingly good results. The very first who received assistance from Courage in 2006, form a group that supports each other. For example, two women are waiting for the piglets from the litter of the sow of Mrs. Dong.

In Thuy Bieu was asked for understanding that at present 16 women have no pigs in the barn because they have sold all animals before Tet and because they wanted to minimise the risk during the cold season. But in a month, Mrs. Hien will examine, whether they all bought new piglets.

It got around that we promote bio-gas plants. Now the leaders of the community press Courage to support women in Thuy Bieu in building such facilities. We had to explain that first of all certain preconditions must be met, amongst others there must be enough pigs in the barn. According to the local president of the Women's Union, at least the four women who have more animals in the barn, should get a plant. After we had visited all four, has been set: only Mrs. Hien will receive a biogas plant now. The others have yet to create the prerequisites and to achieve some conditions.

The Chair of the Women's Union in Binh Thanh, Mrs. Thuy gave a brief overview. A total of 55 households were assisted in 2009 and 2010. Only five women dropped out due to illness and the consequences of bad weather. Courage has set up seven biogas plants in the community. The Chair of the Women's Union expressly thanked me because we helped her with our commitment, too. As a consequence of our commitment she had also good results in her work, which has been recognised by officials condignly.

Within their area of responsibility far more women live in difficult circumstances. She whould be very grateful if we could give support in the next years, too. The latter was affirmed by my side and referred to Mrs. Hien, who will make a proposal. At present, already 15 women are selected and a first meeting convened.

In Loc Thuy after short introductory phrases generally clear text was spoken. From our side the good cooperation was emphasised. Of 39 women who have received our help, five have moved. 30 are still in the process, i.e. only four have given up. Mrs. Hain stressed that she takes seriously the task to help the women become independent. E.g. all poor women got at Tet a gift of 30 kg of rice and 400,000,- VND as a yearly contribution to health insurance. This is an absolute novelty.

In the village there are many difficult problems. On the one hand, some pieces of land are so low in the plane, that they in the annual flood are placed under water. On the other hand, at the foot of the hills in the middle of summer there is not enough water.

From our side was emphasized that helping the women is important, whether with pigs or goats, which are at the foot of the mountains especially suited, does not matter. The Deputy Chairman of the municipality explained that in the near future a meeting takes place with the women and they will be asked what they want.

In Quang Thai village we visited only four women and made primarily photos. The support from the Women's Union is relatively low. The current chairwoman is retired now and we hope that the new one will be stronger involved. As the Deputy Chairman of the council of the had instructed we had to accept to be accompanied by the representative of the local Women's Union, a state security officer and a veterinarian, my interest in the missions fell very strongly. Therefore, a talk on personal problems was not thinkable. But that's what I need for good articles to be published.

mother sow
The mother sow

Mrs. Van Thi Hui

The Quang Thai commune is located about 40 km from Hue, between lagoon and sand dunes. The soil is not very productive. Accordingly profound is poverty. The number of single, needy women is high.
Mrs. Van Thi Hui is 60 years old. She lives together with her mentally disabled son (30 years). Her youth was the time of the Vietnam War. In the area during and after the Tet offensive, violent fights have raged.

Since 2007, Courage worked in this community and has so far helped 30 women successfully overcoming poverty.

The garden is used for forage cultivation

Mrs. Van Thi Hui has completed training last year, built the piggery and obtained three piglets and some power food for the transition period. She brought two animals up and sold it before the Buddhist New Year festival profitably. One sow she kept in the barn. By the piglets of this saw, she has opened up an additional revenue source. Furthermore, she doesn’t need to buy the piglets for breeding.

She has redesigned her garden and uses it now for the cultivation of fodder crops. The resulting liquid manure she uses as fertilizer on tobacco plants.

 Garten 2
A neatly kept garden speaks for the
single woman!

To visit her it was necessary to contact the local Women's Union. To find the women in this confusing village without road signs, we desperately needed their help.

When the Courage staff came in March 2011 to Quang Thai, the deputy council chairman and the vice chair of the Women's Union were waiting there. After the requisite small talk ruled the deputy council chairman that we should not only accompany the representative of the Women's Union, but also a security representative and the local vet. Opposition was futile. It did not matter that we were advised by the provincial government and that we were not the first time in the community.


The facial expression of the male "official" was typical. What they are interested in Courage people with their small budget and the concerns of the old woman who lives on the property. The discontent speaks clear from the face of the veterinary. He tried to finish the matter as quickly as possible and to check off

The example also shows that it is not always easy to organize assistance to the needy women. Much depends on the people involved and from their ability to enforce something. In the commune Binh Thanh the situation is much better. There the chairlady of the Women's Union feels responsible. She organises assistance to the needy women and is happy that Courage e.V. supports her.


Mrs. Hanh
sow barn

Mrs. Hahn has lost her hand as a 10 years old girl in a chopping machine. Therefore she assumed that no man would be interested in her. Betimes she looked around, found a man and became pregnant. Then she has driven the father. He is now trying to get in touch with his twin daughters, however, she do not allow it. She wants to remain independent and keep the control over her life.

Since 2007 she has been in the project and dedicated to pig breeding. She does it intensively and successfully. Our start-up funding has been sufficient to secure her a steady income. Things are looking up with her constantly. Their old house she has partially demolished and was able to afford herself a small annexe.

alteshaus neueshaus
old and new house

Our colleague in Hue (right) uses every
opportunity to exchange experiences.
She is well informed and accepted

The joy of reunion was written in her face. She had no problem with the large delegation who visited unexpectedly her estate.

Her twin daughters who are now 15 years old, are doing well. They squint already after the boys. All three still sleep in one bed.

She has two mother sows in the barn. However, from the last litter six piglets have died due to the cold weather. She has scattered a lot of straw to provide the animals a warm environment. The back wall of the barn has been deliberately left open; it is the place where the sow can defecate without the straw becomes wet and dirty.


The project idea has proven to be successful. We differ from similar projects of other NGOs in that our evaluation criterion is not the action taken, but the specific measurable financial result for the women. In Loc Thuy in several years a total of 9,000 € were invested. Only in 2010, the involved women have pulled it into a profit of 12,000 €, without the need to give any cent by Courage e.V. If no epizootic disease occurs in between, it can be continued for several years without additional help. Therewith is exactly achieved what we aimed at the establishment of the association: help for self-supporting and sustainability.

The construction of biogas plants has several positive aspects: The environment is protected because no more valuable wood is burned and because the pollution of drinking water is prevented. It's a big difference in comfort, if you laboriously kindle a flame for the bush-wood or just ignite the gas-flame. Taking the increasing number of power cuts and the rising electricity prices into account, a gas lamp is a low-cost alternative.

During the annual visits, the differences in the general living conditions are especially noticeable. It becomes step by step better for the women. First it's the little things such as new table, a refrigerator or a new bed. Now several have built a new stone house for the money. The municipality has a program and supports the women with a grant of 6 million to 10 million VND (about 240,- to 400,- €).

In the near future, Vietnam will have to deal with developmental problems, economical and political. For us, it is relevant that that the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and single women still need our help for a long time.

Finally, we thank our representative on site. She is the one who reacted with great personal commitment our ideas into reality. She has a heart for the disadvantaged women, and vigorously recommended the board when it went for help in individual cases.

Gerd Willkommen
chairman of "Courage e.V."