Recently colleagues from Plan International in Vietnam asked CWS to visit a project site in Than Uyen district to learn about our environment friendly biosand water filters and reduced smoke kitchen stoves, which are known to good models for poor families and schools. Of course, CWS team members and our local government partners were willing and happy to share. So, in mid-May a workshop was organized for 28 colleagues from Plan and Live & Learn, a Vietnamese NGO with a climate change adaptation focus, plus their partners from the Lai Chau Provincial Women’s Union and staff from communes and schools in Sin Ho district.
The workshops started with before-and-after visual presentations about the stove and water filter models. After the overview, workshop participants visited schools and families to see the models ‘at work’. At a boarding school, the Deputy Head Teacher shared this story with enthusiasm. “Of 378 students in our school, 70% are boarding students, so the kitchen is busy! With the old stove, we used a lot of wood and each student’s family had to contribute 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of wood each month. Now, they still contribute the same amount, but it’s for three months!”. The man in charge of the school kitchen added, “The kitchen used to be very hot and smoke-filled, and the walls were covered with soot. But it’s changed now. The new stove is easier to fuel than the old one; and, it’s more efficient, so food cooks faster. Best of all, there is no more smoke and ash dust, which is good for everyone’s health”. The visiting head teacher from Sin Ho said: “This is the first time I am seeing a stove like this. And, since our school also has more than 200 boarding students, we hope CWS and Plan can cooperate to help us improve our stove”. Encouragingly, Officer-in-Charge of the Sin Ho Education Department agreed that a “technology transfer” to Sin Ho district’s many schools would be good.
In the afternoon, visitors had more good impressions while visiting families who use low cost, low tech biosand water filters, which CWS has introduced. In then visiting the filter-making team that CWS experts had trained, they saw them at work installing a filter for a new family. Importantly, the visitors also learned how CWS had supported the team to establish itself as a social enterprise of sort to make filters for families who decide – after a lot of CWS advocacy and information-sharing – to invest their own money to have a filter.
As development workers, the CWS team in Vietnam was gratified by colleagues’ appreciation for our work. Now they are inspired to continue advocacy and technical assistance for affordable, low tech, environmentally safe improvements in fellow citizens’ lives. And, the CWS team will gladly lead technical training workshops in Sin Ho to help replicate the models and bring benefits to more people there.
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