Vietnam is located on the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula, bordered on the north by China, on the west by Laos and Cambodia and on the south and east by the South China Sea.
A small country, Vietnam is long and narrow with a varied terrain. The far north and upper central are hilly to mountainous while the south is low lying, containing the broad, fertile delta of the Mekong River.
Vietnam’s climate is tropical in the south and monsoonal in the north. Currently, the main environmental issues include logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices that contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and over-fishing, threatening marine life populations; groundwater contamination limiting potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration that is rapidly degrading the environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Agriculture provides a livelihood for over 54 percent of the population and accounts for 22 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP). About 82 percent of the population lives in rural areas with a lack of access to many basic services. In particular, the highest rates of poverty are in the Mekong Delta, the Highlands, North Central Coast and the Northwest region. While Vietnam has made significant progress towards ending poverty, nearly 16 percent of the population remains below the poverty line.
Heifer's Work in Vietnam
Heifer International began work in Vietnam in 1987 through a collaboration with Can Tho University. At one time,Heifer Vietnam established projects that expanded to 27 provinces nationwide, today, Heifer Vietnam focuses its work in the Mekong Delta. Heifer’s program has been recognized by the Vietnamese government as a model for livestock development activity in the country.
Heifer Vietnam focuses strongly on building capacity of project partners and participants by providing training in Values-Based Holistic Community Development (VBHCD). When projects end, Heifer’s project partners and participants will have been empowered to ensure the cycle of Passing on the Gift and the overall continuity off the projects. To date, Heifer Vietnam has assisted about 9,100 families in achieving sustainable self-reliance.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Integrated animal production; Livestock breeding and management training; Aquaculture
Post-harvest management and processing: Values-Based Holistic Community Development (VBHCD)
Market development: Value-chain training
Technology: Sustainable waste management systems
Nutrition: HIV/AIDS education; Sanitation Training
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
I was amazed to see firsthand the holistic view of development that Heifer propagates. The projects are not limited to passing on a cow; rather, Heifer's 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development encompass every aspect of life, from diversifying incomes to empowering women and families to working together to end poverty.
Inside the kitchen of Pham Van Hong and Nguyen Thi Phuong in Thoi Thanh Village, Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam.
Following the small concrete path, we were surprised to find a lively painted thatched house peacefully surrounded by green paddyfield, pig pen, hen house and garden of flowers.