Villagers Take Ownership of Much-Needed Infrastructure Project

A “participatory” or collaborative approach to problem solving has resulted in a huge savings on the construction of an irrigation system. The village of Tan Ong has only a small amount of land on which they must attempt to produce enough food to meet all of their needs. They knew that an improved irrigation system would be a big help in meeting their production goals.

They worked with their local commune leadership and initially tried approaching the national government for help with the project. However, due to the high cost – about $8,600 – and the many other needs in the area, their request was denied.

Then the Vietnam Tan Son program got involved. Growing Hope’s partner Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worked with the commune leadership and the people of Tan Ong to find a more cost-effective way to go ahead with the construction of a 550-foot concrete irrigation system. The program provided $430 for cement and bricks and the villagers contributed their labor to build the canal. In another nearby village, the program contributed $130 to clean up and improve agricultural land damaged in recent floods.

Mr. Tín, Vice Chairman of the commune, said, “Thanks to this program, we made big things happen in the community with just a small amount of money. The participatory approach helped us mobilize workers and contributions and made the project a success. In fact, I’ve applied this methodology to other activities of our commune.”

Vietnam Tan Son Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and local partner People’s Committee of Tan Son District

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