Danish Water and Sanitation Programme in Vietnam Employs Demand-Driven Approach

The Danish support to Vietnam’s National Target Programme II for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation is widely based on a demand-driven approach which will directly reflect the needs of the local population.
Implementation of the initiatives in the Danish Water and Sanitation Programme offers challenges in terms of differences in the situations of each province in Vietnam. Construction costs for the mountainous North West provinces are some three times higher than for the Mekong Delta. Therefore a demand-driven approach is preferred to allow the provinces to develop provincial and context dependent solutions rather than applying country-wide standards.
As a consequence of the demand-driven approach, information and education are important parts of the programme. Through information and education about issues like hygiene, the rural population will gain better understanding of the importance of their water and sanitation situation. After achieving this understanding, the population are expected to demand improved household sanitation and improved water supplies.
The demand-driven approach is expected to reduce risk of over-dimensioning or inadequate solutions. Thereby it is expected that the demand-driven approach will contribute to lowering the costs of sanitation and water-supply infrastructure. This will increase the efficiency of the Danish support and decrease the share of the investment that the households have to contribute.
In terms of governance, the demand-driven approach is in agreement with efforts of decentralising decisions. Involvement of local-level actors like community-based organisations may furthermore have spin-off effects on local-level democracy.
In respect of schools, clinics and commune people’s committee offices, a purely supply driven model is followed in the Danish support. It is expected that by 2010, all rural primary schools, kindergartens, nurseries, clinics and commune people’s committees will have access to clean water and hygienic latrines. Likewise it is expected that 85% of the rural population have access to clean and safe water and 75% have access to sanitary toilets by 2010

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