Interview with Ngo Kim Yen, Vietnam, Agriculture and Rural Development

NGO KIM YEN, Vietnam

On which project are you working right now?

I am working with PSARD HB & CB project (Public Service Provision Improvement in Agriculture and Rural Development), period 2011-2015.

What do you like most in your job?

Actually travelling to different places, to remote places in Vietnam - especially to Cao Bang province (a mountainous area of Vietnam) - seeing different people somehow different cultures- the culture and people of ethnic minorities that not many people living in the city know about that is what I like most in my job.

What do you like most of your country? What do you dislike?

What I like most about my country: I was born in the suburb part of Hanoi called Tay Ho district and I have been living there for more than 30 years so some corners of Hanoi, a lot of people I know very well have become a part of my life. Hanoi becomes very important to me already. What I dislike in Hanoi city is too much traffic jam (too many motorbikes) and pollution, especially in summer when it is too hot and you have to travel under the high temperature and polluted air, it is no good at all.

What is the biggest challenge in your job?

PSARD is a very big and complex project, you know that. HELVETAS plays the role of technical assistance to government partners to implement the project. Therefore, the biggest challenge is to harmonize the government system but still keep the principles of the development work of the project such as participatory methods, transparency and empowerment.

What is the greatest challenge for development?

To reduce illiteracy among partner communities as much as possible to enable them to take their own development in hand.

Why do you work in the field of development aid?

After graduation from university, I admired the work that all NGOs were working at that time, supporting people, working in transparency, environment and great empowerment to the staff so I applied, kept working in this field and felt very happy with it. I have been promoted to different levels in my work (from Technical Assistant, Project Officer to Manager and National Coordinator). This is great motivation to keep me going also.

Who makes you laugh at work? Why?

Definitely my colleagues. Because I like chatting with my colleagues in my work, it makes the work more interesting, it also reduces stress.

What did you and your colleagues talk about during lunch time?

Lunch is the thing I most appreciate here because during office lunch time, we can talk about almost everything from work, social issues to family and share the private lives. I have been here for more than 10 years so a lot of colleagues have become friends and intimate with me. Talk and chat help me a lot.

What is the first thing you do at home when you get back from work?

I hold my daughters in my arms. Whenever I come home, they come to me and say “Hello Mum, how are you” in their cutest ways. And now, one more little boy (the son of my younger brother) also comes to me and greets me in a very enthusiastic way. I appreciate those peaceful and relaxing moments in life.