Experts gathered at a seminar in Hanoi on March 31 to share experience in implementing a project to enhance gender equality and improve water, hygienic and environmental conditions in ethnic minority-inhabited areas in northern Vietnam.

Co-organised by the Vietnam Red Cross (VRC) and the Office of the French Red Cross in Vietnam, the event reviewed achievements and challenges in the implementation of the project in the three northwest provinces of Dien Bien, Son La and Lai Chau.

It also offered a chance for concerned parties to draw lessons and seek to expand the clean water and hygiene models in other areas, laying a foundation for the effective implementation of subsequent projects in the country.

Speaking at the event, VRC Vice President Tran Thi Hong An said that the project, carried out between January 2011 and March 2014, included the gender issue in strategic documents and raised the capacity of the VRC, women’s unions and authorities of the targeted communes as well as public awareness of gender and clean water.

However, it still saw challenges in participating areas and people, unstable capacity improvement, and the low feasibility and sustainability of water and hygiene models.

The project had a total investment of 19 billion VND (905,,000 USD), 75 percent of which came from the European Union (EU) and the remaining provided by the French Red Cross.

Thanks to it, 7,500 locals were provided with knowledge on gender, hygiene and clean water. About 300 households and some agencies and organisations gained access to safe water.

As many as 180 cadres of the VRC, women’s unions, administration and agencies in targeted communes were provided with gender training.-VNA