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August 30th, 2017

Report on a control trip to Vietnam in March 2017

From 11-14. 03. in 2017 Gerd Willkommen visited the projects in the province of Thua Thien Hue. In addition, Norbert Franke, member of Courage e. V. who took over the sponsorship for a woman in Huong Van and wanted to get to know her for the first time. Two days later Dr. Jörg Fröbel, who was introduced everywhere as Gerd Willkommen's possible successor, followed suit.

  • The main focus was on the preparation and conclusion of a partnership agreement with a group of women's union in the Huong Tra district. That opens Courage e. V. for the first time the possibility of applying for funding from BMZ. On the basis of the preparation by the chairman and Jörg Fröbel and thanks to the work of a qualified translator from Hanoi, we were able to clarify our concern of the Women's Union in Huong Tra county and negotiate a mutually accepted treaty text and at the end of our stay to sign the treaty. By signing a partnership agreement with a group in the women's union of Huong Trà county, the basis for the intended application process of BMZ/Bengo funding for 30 Vietnamese women was created.

    Mrs. Thuyet, Chairman of the Women's Union of Huong Tra, and Gerd Willkommen, Chairman of Courage e. V., signed the partnership agreement on 13 March 2017.

  • The projects carried out last year in Huong Toan and Huong Chuong were visited. The results of the women who received their first piglets 14 months ago are impressive. In most of the stables we visited there are three sows. Some of the piglets that have been born in the meantime had already been sold; the other part is raised and then weighed at a weight of approx. 60kg sold. Women design this process individually. It is clear that the women are trying to achieve good earnings through effective pig breeding.

  • A woman in Huong Toan raised and sold her first pigs. In the three stables there were nevertheless three mother sows. She has leased a nearby fish pond from the proceeds of the sale in order to gain another source of income.


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  • In many cases, plants are used as food which women in public waters can harvest without any financial expense. Others use their own land to grow cassava or grate banana plants and then cook them.

  • With the sale of only one piglet, the national poverty line of a minimum income of 570,000 VND per month has already been doubled. Last year, a woman visited by a woman who had sold one of three sows sold 21 million Vietnamese Dong, thus exceeding the poverty line (for one month) 38 times.

  • We have also seen that a mentally handicapped woman was not completely able to take advantage of the given opportunity and was overtaxed with hygiene in the pigsty. It was difficult for Mrs. Hien to understand that she would not have accepted this woman into the project and that she would have chosen someone for it who could make better use of the opportunity offered. This shows a constant and repeated conflict of weighing up, which Mrs. Hien has to contend with. She wants to help everyone, especially the disadvantaged. This, however, exceeds the financial possibilities of Courage e. V. Precisely because we have only a small budget at our disposal, we are particularly keen to ensure that we have an effective financial commitment, which we are generally able to do.

  • Jörg Fröbel was elected by all the relevant persons and institutions as a possible future chairman of "Courage e. V." introduced. The decision is ultimately a matter for the general meeting to decide. It is also important that Jörg Fröbel and Mrs. Hien expand mutual understanding. The willingness of both sides was confirmed in practice. The accounting of the outstanding finances for the past financial year has already been carried out by Jörg Fröbel together with Mrs. Hien.

  • The member of Courage e. V., Norbert Franke, had travelled with him to meet the woman he had been living with for about two years. For three years he has provided financial support in many respects, i. e. for which he has donated to Courage and for which our local representative has arranged everything (e. g. house building, biogas plant etc.). Mrs. Huong is deaf, and during our stay she was sent to an ENT doctor at the expense of Norbert Franke. He stated that Mrs. Huong would not be able to hear conversations even with a hearing aid. All that remains for her is learning sign language. The conditions for this are still to be examined.

The second activity outside the direct pig project was the support of a young widow with two children, Mrs. Hue, who was forced out of her mother-in-law's house after the death of her husband. A donor from Germany, together with Vietnamese organisations, had financed the construction of a new house and promised further support. She's already moved into the house. Ms. Hue would like to open a kiosk for drinks, because her house is located directly on the main road. 

During this visit, it was also evident from a comparison with other NGOs that our only employee, Mrs Ton Nu Thi Hien, is underpaid in her function. Other persons in their function receive three times this amount, which is why I propose to pay Mrs. Hien 300 € per month with retroactive effect from 01.01.2017. Their achievements and commitment to date justify this proposal. 

I would ask the members of Courage for feedback, particularly on the proposal for salary increases and the application for funding. If someone doesn't speak out, I'd take that as approval. 

Gerd Willkommen                                                                          Erzhausen, March 21, 2017
Chairman of "Courage"