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HFH Vietnam Ready To Serve Another 1,081 Families In Southern Tien Giang Province

Habitat already helped more than 800 families in pilot home improvement project through housing microfinance services

MY THO, Tien Giang province, 15th December 2006: Habitat for Humanity and its partners are set to improve the lives of more than 1,000 families in the southeastern province of Tien Giang in Vietnam.

Joint effort: (From left) Tran Van Mung of Tien Giang Fatherland Front, Mark Estes of HFHI-Vietnam, Vo Van Manh of Tien Giang Union of Friendship Organizations and Quach Thi Kin Hoang of Tien Giang Red Cross at the project agreement signing ceremony.

Change is in the air: Thatched huts such as this are a common sight in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta region but with Habitat’s joint project in Tien Giang province, needy families can look forward to sturdier and healthier homes.

Habitat signed a project agreement on 30th November with Tien Giang province’s Union of Friendship Organizations, Tien Giang Fatherland Front and Tien Giang Red Cross.

The Tien Giang Friendship Union is the contact agent authorized by the People’s Committee, the executive arm of the provincial government, to negotiate, sign and allocate projects to non-governmental organizations in Tien Giang.

The Tien Giang Fatherland Front is part of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, an umbrella group of pro-government “mass movements” in Vietnam, and has close links to the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Vietnamese government. Many of the government’s social programs are conducted through the Fatherland Front. Recently, it has been given a role in programs to reduce poverty.

Prior to the Tien Giang project, Habitat and its partners already served over 800 families in a pilot project in the southwestern Kien Giang province. In that project, Habitat partnered with Kien Giang Friendship Union and Women’s Union to repair and renovate homes through housing microfinance services. The Kien Giang project was completed in August 2006.

The US$183,000 project in Tien Giang’s provincial capital My Tho aims to improve the standard of living and sanitation through new home constructions as well as home renovations. The three-year project has begun in October 2006. The home renovations include 850 new environmentally friendly sanitation systems and 231 fire-resistant walls and roofing, and elevated foundations to provide flood relief and improved health and safety within the homes.

The Tien Giang Friendship Union is contributing US$48,000 to the project, 30 per cent of which will subsidize housing for the very poor families and the remaining used for housing microfinance loans. This amount will complement the US$100,000 grant from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission and a US$35,000 grant from Habitat for Humanity. These contributions will create a revolving fund that will assist more families in the future.

In addition to providing loan capital, Habitat will administer the project with capability training in housing microfinance, render technical assistance in sustainable community-based shelter, water and sanitation project management of the local partners.

The Tien Giang Fatherland Front and Red Cross will implement the project by selecting the home partner families, managing their savings, disbursing the loans, and submitting progress and financial reports to Habitat and the Fatherland Front, among other things.

The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (JOAC) of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands off the coast of France, has been giving grants to Habitat’s projects since 2003. In February 2006, the state-funded JOAC gave a£41,436 (US$81,440) grant for a 50-house project in East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.