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03 Feb 2014

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Report to a control visit to Vietnam

The chairman Gerd Willkommen undertook the annual inspection trip to central Vietnam in the period from 15 to 28 February 2013. On the first three days, the treasurer Mrs. Nguyen Thi Bich Van and Ms. Thanh participated in the site visits.

The visits start in the village of Binh Thanh, where about 10 years ago Gerd Willkommen searched the area of the primary school and the kindergarten for unexploded bombs and prepared the survey for the following demining in the village. Precisely on these places many single women were settled who also came from other communities, for example from Duong Hoa.

Short-listed for our project were 69 single women living below the poverty line. They were all attended by our local representative. 56 were selected and included in our project within the years 2009 to 2012. 75 percent have used the opportunity to cross the poverty line, in most cases significantly. Of these 13 women are working on a larger scale piggery. They are now independent and do not require more support by Courage e.V. In Binh Thanh more or less all single and vulnerable women were supported. Fourteen women were mentally and physically unable to use the offered opportunity active and could not withstand the physical demands of the heavy work for a longer time. Some still hold a pig, with the proceeds they can fulfill special requests.

This example shows that we have to take our selection criteria into account strictly. The Chairman has not only the community board of Binh Thanh clearly stated that Courage with itís small budget cannot come up for old, sick and weak women. That remains the task of the Vietnamese State and its institutions. In this our objectives differ significantly from those of the Women's Union. Our goal is not only to help, but to achieve sustainability in the results.

In the community Van Huong Courage e.V. has supported 13 women with three piglets, material for pigsty and some power food in 2011. This is the start-up financing. All the women are still in the project. Two had to be additionally equipped with a biogas plant due to environmental reasons.

The sow of Mrs. Lien in BinhThanh

Pigs, which are provided for sale

Forage in the garden

Pepper plants in her garden

Mrs. Lien in Binh Thanh (see photos above) received 2011 her first piglets and has sold several times the adult pigs. Since she has always many animals in the barn Courage financed her a biogas plant. She went and still goes into the forest and collects fire-wood for cooking, which she can sell for a very small fee. She has planted pepper and reaping already, but more for exchange than for sale. She cannot sell pepper in a larger extent because she has only few supporting trees for pepper plants. The range of their income was significantly extended by the piggery.

In the village Loc Thuy 70 per cent of project women have escaped poverty. Among them is Huyen Thi Phuong (38, 2 sons). Her husband had left her years ago and lives in Laos along with another woman. Five years ago, they were officially divorced. Since then he did not send money for the two children. During the traditional Tet festival in February 2013, he visited his former wife. The new stylish house he liked so that he has decided to relocate again without asking her. Mrs. Huyen found it difficult, get rid of him. He withstands her demands stiff-necked. Some days she achieved success. Now he is back in Laos. Due to the annual expected flooding in the typhoon season she breeds no pigs, but buys piglets, fattening them and sells them again.

The new house, built with funds from the pigs, from the state and a Japanese NGO

Huyen Thi Phuong (38, 2 sons)

With the biogas plant not only a readily available source of energy in the house is produced but also an indoor toilet replaces the outdoor shed as can be seen in the photos.



All women received initially only three piglets and a stable. The figures below show what the women have made within two years of it, and how they have used their chance. The photos show the power and importance of the poor women, and how successful they can be when the financial bases are provided.


The results of the monitoring show that we are on the right path and use our donations effectively and profitably. For our representative on site it is very difficult to choose the women who are suitable for the project. She is often faced with abject poverty, especially in elderly, sick women. Mrs. Hien feels that she has to help, she wants to help, and sometimes does so with their own money. Sie versteht aber, dass sie damit anderen Frauen einen Platz im Projekt verwehrt, die ihn erfolgreich ausfüllen könnten.

The controls have also shown that Mrs. Hien enjoys high reputation in all women; also in the Vietnamese Women's Union. Both, the press and television in Vietnam, has recognized her work. She gave the last interview on the 4 Mar 2013.

Relevant conclusions for future tasks are:

  • Working in Binh Thanh is finished because there are no more single women who could be included in the project. They will only be monitored.
  • In Thuy Bieu the work will not be resumed. It was suspended since 2010 due to familiarly connections in this community. The district council tried to influence the decisions of Courage, which we do not want to expose Mrs. Hien.
  • After replacing the chairman of the Women's Union in Quang Thai work is continued there. Provision is made for to assist a group of 10 women in 2013.
  • The same applies to the municipality Loc Thuy. There the feasibility to build pigsties on heaped soil should be verified, so that they can withstand floods and sows may be kept there, too. Thus, there could then be bred.
  • In Van Huong, the work will continue in its present form with another group.
  • If needed, biogas plants will be offered in accordance with our financial resources.

Gerd Willkommen                                                                               Erzhausen, March 4, 2013
Chairman of Courage e.V.