:: EAST’s team in Vietnam


EAST Vietnam is a Non Governmental Organization for International Solidarity, established in Vietnam since 1994. It is the Vietnamese branch of the French organization EAST (Eau Agriculture Santé en milieu Tropical, Water Agriculture and Health in Tropical Area). EAST’s head office is located in Paris.

A local team of two French “Volontaires de Solidarité Internationale” (Volunteers for International Solidarity) and two Vietnamese interpreters carries out and coordinates all the activities of EAST in Vietnam.

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> Our mission

The global objective of EAST is to reduce endemic diseases caused by the consumption of unhealthy water and the lack of hygiene. In order to reach this objective, EAST Vietnam implements projects in rural and peri-urban areas, which provide populations with access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Our actions are completed by information and communication activities, which aim at improving hygiene behaviors. 

Our organization works closely with local Vietnamese authorities (communes, districts, provinces), and with provincial water and rural development services. EAST Vietnam also systematically encourages strong participation of the populations.

EAST has established a branch office in Vietnam, in order to be closer to beneficiary populations. From there, the team is in phase with grass-roots realities. It enables EAST to conceive projects that respond perfectly to people needs, to supervise and readapt the activities every time it is necessary, and to assess the long-term effects of the projects.

Beneficiaries in Ninh VanBeneficiaries in Lam Dong

> Background and bases of EAST’s implantation in Vietnam

After several decades of war and isolation, Vietnam began its policy of reform and renewal (Doi Moi) in 1986. Since then, the country has started its reopening towards West. Little by little, NGOs have come and established their branch in Vietnam, in order to support the development efforts launched by the Government of Vietnam.

During an international Forum on water, Dr. Monjour, President of EAST, met Dr. Le Van Can, Director of the CERWASS (CEnter for Rural WAter Supply and Sanitation) of Vietnam. EAST then decided to implement cooperation water supply and sanitation projects in Vietnam and to found a regional branch in Hanoi.

EAST opened its regional branch in Hanoi in 1994. Then, EAST Vietnam launched its first program in Thai Nguyen province (previously named Bac Thai province), in the North of the country. That 3-year program concerned 60 primary schools. Its objective was to improve socio-sanitary conditions for children within the school. After that first program, other school programs, as well as rural water supply and sanitation integrated programs, were implemented in villages and communes in several Vietnamese provinces, from North to South.

DSince the beginning of its action, EAST Vietnam has closely collaborated with CERWASS, which is in charge of the development of water supply and sanitation in rural areas in Vietnam. In 2007, EAST Vietnam renewed and reinforced its collaboration with CERWASS.



> Our values

- Perennity - 

Above all, EAST Vietnam always pursues a logic based on sustainable development. Our organization addresses its projects globally, in a transversal way, and with long-term vision.

EAST Vietnam rather implements several-year programs, which enable the organization to stay in the same area for a long time. Thus, year after year, EAST Vietnam develops good and trustful relationships with its different partners and beneficiaries. Results thus obtained are stronger.

EAST Vietnam also rather implements transversal programs, which activities enable stakeholders with complementary abilities to work together. The main objective that we pursue is always health-based, but the means to achieve this goal are multiple. For example, education of children and construction of new communal facilities are two different means that EAST Vietnam uses in its programs. Our activities thus gather different competences (health, education, construction, water) and EAST Vietnam permanently makes sure that its actions are complementary and transversal.

Finally, EAST Vietnam continues to support the communes and villages at the end of the programs, and stands aside progressively, until the beneficiaries gain the targeted autonomy. For the construction of facilities, like water supply plants for example, EAST Vietnam’s mission does not stop the day the plants are inaugurated. Our organization carries out support and supervision missions several years after the official end of the projects, in order to guarantee the perennity of the new facilities.
- Quality: one of our main concerns -

Water and sanitation needs in rural and peri-urban areas are very important in Vietnam. Vietnamese authorities have assessed very ambitious objectives to provide water to people. The number of piped water supply facilities rapidly increases in every province. However, this general dynamism sometimes suffers from a lack of quality, speaking of the quality of works, as well as the quality in O&M (operation and maintenance) activities. EAST Vietnam takes part in programs with a steady concern of quality and excellence.

For instance, as far as operation is concerned, EAST Vietnam has a very strong action on monitoring the quality of water produced in water supply plants, in order to guarantee a steady and perfect quality to consumers. As far as technical issues and maintenance are concerned, EAST Vietnam supports a policy of leaks reduction on pipelines, in order to improve the profitability of the systems.

- Cooperating at every level: villages, communes, districts, provinces, Government -

Active participation of every partner and real involvement of programs’ beneficiaries are fundamental to achieve cooperation projects. EAST Vietnam places special emphasis on setting up good cooperation practices, at every level of the administrative and executive Vietnamese system.

More particularly, we collaborate with the services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), so that our programs can pursue the National Strategy on rural water and sanitation. We cooperate with People’s Committees of provinces and districts, for the co-direction of programs. We work closely with provincial services in charge of water, education and health for the operational implementation of projects. We support and involve strongly People’s Committees of communes, to ensure the perennity of communal projects. Last but not least, we establish strong links with local and mass organizations (Women Union, Youth Union…), to ensure good participation of beneficiaries.

- Strengthening technical and institutional capacities -

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. This Confucius proverb fully symbolizes EAST Vietnam’s methods. Training stakeholders and partners is fundamental to EAST Vietnam’s strategy: training local mediators in charge of IEC (Information, Education and Communication), training primary schools teachers in charge of health education with children, training laboratory assistants working in rural water services, training agents in charge of O&M (operation and maintenance) in water supply plants…

To complete those trainings, EAST Vietnam also carries out consultancy activities with its partners. The experience that EAST Vietnam has acquired years after years enables the organization to propose a targeted assistance, which contributes to strengthen technical and management capacities of stakeholders.

- Shared investments - 
It is particularly important to EAST Vietnam that partners and beneficiaries get deeply involved into the programs we implement. As a consequence, EAST Vietnam preferentially supports programs, in which investments from the Vietnamese partners are higher than foreign investments. From that point of view, EAST Vietnam positions itself as a consultancy organization for programs conception and implementation, rather than as a sponsor.

In general, EAST Vietnam contributes to a maximum participation ratio of 30% of global budgets’ programs. A high level of financial Vietnamese participation enables a systematic and strong involvement of the Vietnamese partners and beneficiaries. Those conditions are essential to ensure the perennity of programs.
- Exemplary communication -

Whatever the fields, whatever the countries, EAST is convinced that intense communication with partners and beneficiaries, as well as with local and national authorities, is fundamental. In Vietnam, EAST intensifies communication actions within its programs. On the one hand, good communication favors transparency. On the other hand, good communication facilitates active participation of stakeholders.

We particularly make sure that beneficiary people are constantly informed of the advancement of projects. We also encourage information circulation between stakeholders, at every hierarchic level. We try our best to make all the concerned services work together, and we deeply encourage transversal communication between services. We thus try to deepen the efficiency and perennity of the projects.

Finally, EAST Vietnam takes part in working groups, which gather NGOs and Vietnamese services working on water supply and sanitation programs. This contributes to information exchange on methods between professionals of the water sector. Such meetings facilitate data updating in the field of water and sanitation, both at a national and international level.