Schools provided with
safe drinking water
Community water systems
Since 1988, East Meets West has been supporting the needs of rural and peri-urban communities in Vietnam and continues to support projects to build resilient communities, one family at a time, because we know small-scale programs can be incubators for larger impact programs of the future.
In Vietnam, families who live in poorly constructed dwellings face increasing threats from rising tides, destructive flooding, and more frequent and powerful storms. The Climate Resilient Compassion Homes program is a cost-effective approach to assist vulnerable families to prepare for the effects of climate change by building more flood-proof and storm-resistant houses. Since 2010, EMW has been enabling families in 12 provinces in Vietnam to build climate resilient Compassion Homes. Each home is constructed using high-quality materials and incorporates brick walls, elevated foundations, and improved ventilation designed to withstand typhoons and floods. Each new home has two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen area, a latrine, and a veranda. Compassion Homes help improve living conditions for hundreds of families and enable them to maximize their resources for essentials such as food, medicine, education, savings, and sanitation. With a safe space and a secure roof over their heads, families more clearly realize the benefits of installing latrine and water connections, and are better motivated to improve their hygiene, sanitation, and overall health.
When challenging weather conditions such as destructive flooding and powerful storms contaminate surface and ground water, families are forced to drink unclear water, which sickens children and hurts communities. Without proper sanitation and medical treatment, waterborne illnesses such as intestinal worms can devastate a community. Children readily spread the parasites to each other, and the toll from missing school for weeks or even months causes long-term damage to the outcomes of whole villages.
East Meets West’s WASH in Schools program installs water filtration systems and handwashing basins and latrines for kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools in rural and mountainous areas where daily living conditions of pupils and teachers are very difficult. The program also aims to raise awareness for school hygiene, conducting a behavior change campaign promoting handwashing.
Each water purification system we install delivers drinking water for 400 to 850 students using well-established reverse osmosis and ultraviolet (UV) technologies. As part of the installation of handwashing facilities, we also work with local departments of education to teach students about environmental cleanliness and personal hygiene.
In Vietnam, children in rural or remote mountainous areas often study in old or even temporary structures with flimsy walls of bamboo or plastic sacks. The doors, windows and roofs do not keep out rain and wind – which means rural kids often don’t attend school at all during the monsoon season. Furthermore, these schools typically do not have sanitary latrines or a source of clean water. Through local partnerships, East Meets West has built 350 new primary and kindergarten schools since 2008, keeping thousands of kids in class, rain or shine. In the last ten years, East Meets West and Thrive Networks have replaced run-down, poorly constructed schools with new buildings that each participating community commits to operating and maintaining. This incentivized, sustainable approach ensures a secure and healthy learning environment for 100,000+ students and teachers across the country.
Lack of access to clean water is a problem for too many people around the globe – one that has enormous negative impacts on their health, productivity, safety, and finances. According to the World Health Organization, at least 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with feces. Contaminated drinking water can transmit a host of diseases—including diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio—that typically lead to losses in productivity and necessitate medical treatment that poor populations can ill afford. Worse yet, contaminated water can be a killer: it is estimated to cause half a million diarrheal deaths each year.
East Meets West has been constructing, rehabilitating, and expanding rural water supply and treatments systems since 1995. The majority are piped village water systems with metered household connections; a smaller number are school-based water systems. In all cases, the systems provide poor, mostly rural areas with a lasting source of clean water to promote individual and community health.
Our piped village water systems are designed, implemented, and maintained with maximum community involvement. Residents contribute labor to dig the pipe trenches, purchase their own house connections for water, and pay for water consumption. Water managers selected from each community collect fees for water usage, operate and maintain the systems, and provide feedback to the East Meets West’s water team. Upon project completion, East Meets West transfers ownership and management responsibilities to government, private or community operators. This approach increases the long-term success of each water project.
Skills2Thrive is an education-to-employment model that aims to address the skills gap in Vietnam. With a three-month program, it provides students with an accelerated and affordable career-specific training curriculum, while providing support throughout the job application process.
Through Skills2Thrive, our goal is to improve the employability of at-risk youth participants who are primarily from rural areas, and transform them into skilled candidates that employers will hire at better pay and with better future prospects.
Skills2Thrive is more than a vocational program. Every student trained and placed means better economic opportunity, which translates to healthier homes, and healthier and better educated children to come.
Skills2Thrive focuses on core career readiness skills including:
• English for the workplace
• Problem solving and critical thinking
• Job hunting and interview skills
• Teamwork and collaboration
Fees are affordable to ensure that the program is accessible to youth who need assistance. East Meets West partners with respected companies in IT and hospitality to provide excellent job placement opportunities.
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