DNV has entered into a cooperation agreement with the Vietnam Red Cross and the Norwegian Red Cross to improve the quality of water and sanitation for villagers in Phu Tho province, Vietnam.
At the recent signing ceremony sealing the cooperation, Helge Kjeoy, DNV’s regional manager in South East Asia, commended the Vietnam Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross and DNV for their collective efforts to help the local villagers.
“Many millions of people live below the poverty level here in Vietnam so we must do all we can to help. Our cooperation with the Red Cross to help the needy ethnic minority groups in Phu Tho province will hopefully have a spin-off effect in other areas, with more villages taking on similar projects,” he said.
The one year project will support a project on water, sanitation and integrated community development for 80 families in the two Dung villages in Tach Kiet Commune, Tan Son district of the Phu Tho province. A similar project will be carried out at Ngoc Dong primary school and kindergarden. Both projects involve the provision of DNV’s risk management competence and part funding from DNV region South East Asia.
Exchange of competence
Mr Kjeoy explains, “The partnership is founded on the exchange of competence. As well as gaining financial support, the Red Cross will benefit from DNV’s expertise in core areas such as disaster preparedness, risk management and contingency planning. The ultimate aim of the cooperation is to increase the capacity of the Red Cross to carry out its humanitarian work here in Vietnam.”
Sven Mollekleiv, head of DNV corporate relations and recently elected president of the Norwegian Red Cross, commented, “DNV’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts are becoming increasingly important. We see quality, integrity and customer care as key parameters in our success in business. At the same time, we feel this care should not only extend towards our customers but also towards society at large.”
John Marshall, DNV’s country manager in Vietnam and project manager for the Phu Tho province project added, “During our time here in Vietnam, we have witnessed much hardship for the less fortunate minority groups of the Vietnamese population – in remote and often prone areas where even the basic living standards are so difficult to maintain and where assistance is so vital. It was therefore an obvious decision for us in DNV to take some steps to help.”
Deprivation and vulnerability
In spite of Vietnam’s strong economic growth over the past 8 years, there remain great areas of deprivation and vulnerability in many parts of the country. Over 12 mill people, representing 14% of the 86million population, live under the $ 1 per day poverty line according to Gideon Tesfai, regional coordinator for the Red Cross.
“The rural areas are particularly exposed to vulnerabilities resulting from poor water and sanitation in households and communities in general. Short-term emergency response interventions, improving water and sanitation and increasing awareness about health issues will considerably improve the lives of individuals and reduce some chronic vulnerability in the communities,” said Mr Tesfai.
Vietnam is one of the most natural disaster-prone countries in the world. Due to global warming and climate changes, disasters in Vietnam during the last five years have become increasingly unpredictable, frequent and destructive. Every year, Vietnam is hit by 7-12 storms, and about one million people need emergency assistance.
“The limited resources of the poor and the impact of the natural disasters, are the two main causes of poverty in Vietnam,” pointed out Mr Tesfai and added, “effective disaster preparedness and emergency relief to enable poor people to manage and cope with difficult situations is an important part of the Red Cross work.”
Commenting on the cooperation with DNV, Mr Tesfai said “The partnership is highly valued by the Norwegian Red Cross as DNV’s support is not just limited to financial contribution: it also provides technical support, encouraging its technical staff to offer voluntary services in the CSR projects where it is engaged - not only in Vietnam but in other countries such as China, Indonesia, Serbia and Africa.
He concluded, “Since our cooperation started in 2004, we have benefited from DNV’s core expertise in disaster preparedness and risk management, and firmly believe the cooperation between the Vietnam Red Cross and DNV will develop in the same direction.”