Individuals served in 2017: 8,470
- Population: Over 96.1 million
- Urbanization: 34.9 percent lives in cities
- Life expectancy: 73.7 years
- Unemployment rate: 2.3 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 11.3 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Vietnam
Habitat for Humanity began working in Vietnam in January 2001 with its first project in Danang City in the central coastal region. Between 2001 and December 2017, Habitat has enabled more than 14,000 low-income Vietnamese families to improve their living conditions through decent homes, clean water and safe sanitation. Habitat Vietnam has also provided training in areas such as disaster preparedness, financial education, and hygiene practices to more than 110,000 individuals.
The housing needs in Vietnam
Vietnam has lifted more than 35 million people out of poverty since the early 1990s due to rapid economic growth and reforms. However, nearly 11 percent of Vietnam’s 96-million population is still living on less than 400,000 Vietnamese dong (US$18) per month in rural areas. Low-income families living in poorly built housing are constantly being forced to rebuild their homes due to natural disasters. Seven in 10 people with inadequate shelter face the risk of typhoons, torrential storms and flooding which hit Vietnam annually. Over half of rural dwellers lack adequate sanitation while more than one third do not have access to clean water.
How Habitat addresses the need in Vietnam
Habitat Vietnam partners with low-income families to build, repair or upgrade their homes with families contributing “sweat equity” or their own labor, and typically repaying the costs through microfinance loans. International volunteers provide a hand-up by building alongside the families. Habitat also enables families to build facilities for clean water and safe sanitation based on their needs. The partner organizations that Habitat works with include the local government and communities. The training that Habitat offers to its partners includes appropriate construction technology, financial management, awareness and practice of proper hygiene, community-based disaster risk management.
Community housing development
Habitat for Humanity Vietnam empowers families and communities by working directly with them to increase their access to decent housing and improve their living conditions through water and sanitation training and housing microfinance services, among others. Key program drivers include the improvement of water and sanitation facilities as well as the provision of housing support services by Habitat Vietnam or its implementing partners.
Building disaster-resilient communities
Housing support services is a means by which Habitat Vietnam raises awareness and builds the capacity and resilience of disaster-prone communities. Through training in appropriate construction technology as well as in disaster preparedness, Habitat enables families, provincial governments, community leaders, teachers and masons to protect their lives and assets in times of disasters.
Housing market development
Habitat Vietnam aims to identify opportunities for the entry of market actors to deliver products and services in the affordable housing market. Under the facilitation of Habitat, microfinance institutions and various manufacturers will be able to gain access to new customer segments and markets, and develop affordable housing products and services.
Volunteers contribute significantly to enabling families to build strength, stability and self-reliance through decent housing. They are the hearts, hands, voices and financial support for those in need of affordable shelter. Through Habitat Vietnam’s volunteer program, international and local volunteers have the opportunity to be part of a meaningful, compelling project. Corporations’ CSR initiatives can also be boosted through viable partnerships with Habitat Vietnam.
Meet a Habitat family
For Xuan, life changed dramatically for the better when her new house was completed in July 2017. Married with two daughters aged four and 18 months old, Xuan had been living in cramped rental accommodation nearby. As seasonal construction workers, she and her husband have been unable to save sufficient money to build their own home. With help from different sources, however, Xuan was able to build a new house in Que Minh commune, Quang Nam province. The land came from Xuan’s in-laws while Habitat provided a partial grant and low-interest loan, to supplement what savings they had. Xuan’s husband was able to do much of the construction himself which also helped to keep costs down. As well as security Xuan says that the biggest change for the family is that they now have space for their growing family with a clean tiled living area where the girls can play. “I’m very satisfied with my new house,” said Xuan, “I couldn’t expect anything more!”