Helvetas has been active in Vietnam since 1994, mainly in remote mountain regions in the north. We have advised farmers and provided access to local and international markets, improved the drinking water supply and established hygiene standards. We have also advocated for the rights of disadvantaged ethnic minorities in the highlands. People all over the country now benefit from the know-how we have provided. Low-cost methods of purifying drinking water using solar disinfection or sand filters are now widespread in various regions. And so are simple hygienic latrines, which have improved people’s health.
Helvetas is currently focused on promoting low-impact tourism in the mountain regions, which have so far been excluded from the economic upswing in Vietnam. But their rich, lively local culture as well as their extraordinary landscapes – the terraced rice fields in Ha Giang Province are a UNESCO World Heritage Site – are highly suited to sustainable tourism. Local tour organizers, as well as agencies from the capital, are learning to provide more professional services, including accommodation with families, outings and hikes in nature, folkloric events and the sale of handmade products.
In these efforts to promote low-impact tourism, Helvetas seeks to improve employment opportunities for women and young people in particular, who are often afflicted by poverty. These tours are catching on not only with international tourists, but also with Vietnamese city dwellers keen on exploring their own countrywide.
Another field of activity that is opening up is Helvetas’ regional BioTrade initiative, which includes neighboring countries like Laos and Myanmar. Vietnam possesses a wide range of plants containing substances much in demand for the production of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products or for the food industry (e.g. cinnamon and anise). Helvetas advocates for the protection and sustainable use of this botanical diversity and is helping Vietnam establish itself as an international supplier of natural products that adhere to BioTrade standards. Furthermore, we advocate for fair prices for small farmers and fair pay for everyone in the supply chain.
Visit the website of Helvetas Vietnam.
If you would like to know more about our work in Vietnam, click on each project for details.
Van Phuc Diplomatic Quarters
298F Kim Ma Street
Phone: +84 24 3843 17 50
Fax: +84 24 3843 17 44