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In a small cluster named Ca Lac, Lac Hoa commune, Vinh Chau township, selling sticky rice has been the main hustle of Ms Tran Thi Tuyet, 64, to make ends meet. In addition to their financial hardship, the six-member family also had little access to safe water for activities of daily living due to weather adversity in the dry season.
“My family often overspends on electric bills for pumping water,” she said. With few water sources for daily use, she also relied on drinking water jugs, despite their high prices.
Households in Ke Sach district, Soc Trang province, share similar stories. Ms Pham Thi Phuong, 66, a mother of an unemployed son, earns VND 100,000/day by selling coconuts for a living. On days she cannot afford meals, her neighbours offer them food and money. When asked how her family uses water daily, she said: “I cook and do the washing-up with pumped water every day, but because there are no jugs to contain water, pumping costs me an arm and a leg.”
Ms Tuyet and Phuong’s are two of many households struggling for water safety in the Mekong Delta provinces, particularly during the coming dry season. Due to the severity of climate change, women and children are always the hardest hit regarding health, psychology, income, and development/integration capabilities. As the new wave of COVID-19 arises, the climate crisis exacerbates the salinity in the locality, pushing marginalised people – like Ms Tuyet and Phuong – into loss of livelihoods and victimisation of water insecurity.
Following the successful collaboration last year in Ben Tre province, this year, Aid for social protection program Foundation Vietnam (AFV) and ADM Animal Nutrition Vietnam continue providing 2000-litre water tanks for 238 families in difficulty. This support, within the framework of the “Clean water for poor community in Soc Trang” project between the two sides, carries significant weight as the dry season in the Mekong Delta is approaching. In cooperation with the People’s Committees of Vinh Chau Township and Ke Sach District, local communities in Soc Trang province can further strengthen their resilience to possibly worse droughts and salination.
Ms Tuyet and Phuong beamed with delight when they were on the list of 238 supported households obtaining 2000-litre water tanks in the localities. Before the water tank handover, two discussions on better water management and gender equality took place to advance their awareness of these topics. Community participants practised simple actions to help end gender-based violence (GBV) in families.
Fast forward one month later, Ms Tuyet and Phuong now enjoy using stored rainwater in their new green containers with reduced economic anxiety. “As of now, we can spend less drink water jugs and electric bills for activities of daily living,” they happily shared at the recent project Closing Ceremony.