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Habitat Marks Milestone Of Serving Over 800 Families in Kien Giang Province, Vietnam

MOU inked to signal future partnerships between Habitat and provincial government

RACH GIA, 9th August 2006: Habitat for Humanity marked a new milestone in Vietnam when it helped improve the living conditions of more than 800 families through housing microfinance loans and technical assistance.

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To partnership: Van Ha Phong, vice-chairman of Kien Giang People Committee, presenting the merit certificate to Habitat regional program director Rick Hathaway on the success of the pilot project.

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In appreciation: four Women Union representatives from the commune level, (from left), Ngo Thi Thao, Nguyen thi Chuyen, Vu thi Ty, Doan Thi Ngoc Nga, with Habitat certificates recognizing their partnership.

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Improved conditions: Habitat homepartner Do Van Hai, who lives in Minh Hoa community, was among the three families whom the guests visited. His hous now has a new floor and foundation.

Habitat and its partners served the 801 families under a pilot project that started in October 2005 in the southern province of Kien Giang. More than US$170,000 has been invested into the project to reduce the poverty level in the province’s three districts An Bien, Chau Thanh and Hon Dat.

Housing microfinance loans were administered by Habitat’s partner Women’s Union in Kien Giang while Habitat and Friendship Union provided loan capital. Habitat also rendered technical assistance to families undertaking home repairs and renovations

A ceremony to mark the project’s completion was held recently in the provincial capital Rach Gia. The event was hosted by Habitat’s partners, the province’s People’s Committee and the Friendship Union, where the innovative HFH Vietnam project was recognized and lauded.

Among those present were Habitat staff including regional program director Rick Hathaway, regional program manager Peter Gape, regional program advisor Mabel Kuizon, Habitat’s country representative in Vietnam, Mark Estes, HFH Cambodia national director Min Sor as well as local Habitat staff and partners.

During the event, Hathaway and a Kien Giang provincial leader signed a memorandum of understanding to highlight the mutual desire to continue the partnership.

Sporting goods manufacturer Nike also donated US$1,500, which Habitat presented on its behalf, as scholarships to the needy children in the Kien Giang communities that Habitat is assisting.

Earlier in the day, guests paid a visit to the Minh Hoa community where three Habitat homepartner families laid new floors, roofs and installed toilets in their houses.

Then Habitat and its partners Kien Giang Province’s People’s Committee, Women’s Union and Friendship Union also made presentations to provincial leaders as well as representatives from the districts where the pilot project is run. Guests were informed about the results of the pilot project evaluation, timeline for expanding the pilot project to other districts and provinces, as well as major upcoming activities.

The ceremony ended with HFHI awards being presented to the vice-chairman of Kien Giang People’s Committee, vice-chairman and general secretary of Kien Giang Friendship Union, vice-chairperson of Women’s Union while tokens of appreciation were given to Habitat representatives. Although representatives from donors such as MoneyGram were not present at the ceremony, their contributions were acknowledged and appreciated. 

“On behalf of the Provincial People’s Committee, Communist Party and local people, especially over 4,000 people of more than 800 families who benefited from this project, I would like to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation to HFH Vietnam and other donors of this project,” said Van Ha Phong, vice-chairman of Kien Giang Provincial People’s Committee.

“The project, after nearly one year of implementation in the four communes of three districts, made a considerable contribution to the nationwide hunger eradication poverty alleviation in the general and social development of the Kien Giang province.”

To meet pressing housing and development needs in Vietnam, Habitat has a five-year strategic plan that aims to serve 18,000 families by 2011. This will be done through core business models of housing microfinance, vocational and technical training, technical support in shelter, water and sanitation, improvement and transformational community development.