In remote and mountainous villages in northwest Vietnam, where many ethnic minority groups live, most people do not know about – and so do not practice – behaviors that those in more developed communities consider good personal and household hygiene. In particular, open defecation near water sources is a common practice, and it is not widely known that this is a health risk to families and whole communities.
CWS works with communities to address this issue in Muong Te district, and in early 2015 we expanded the program into Ka Lang commune in the frontier region bordering China. When the program started, the people of Ka Lang had no information about sanitary latrines, and there were no latrines. CWS worked with community leaders through the Community-Led Total Sanitation model, where community leadership receives specific training and expertise that they share with the community at large. CWS and village leaders went through a self-appraisal process and developed a sanitation profile. Through training sessions, village mapping, workshops and other activities, awareness began to spread.
Chu Mu Ca is Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee in Ka Lang commune. He has recently shared enthusiastic thanks for the hygiene and sanitation improvements that have been accomplished through partnership with CWS. His enthusiasm and dedication inspired many villagers, who are of the Ha Nhi ethnic minority, to change unhealthy habits and use well-built latrines. These latrines will improve health and wellness over time.