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Thanks to your support, in over the past three years, MCNV has devised and applied groundbreaking methods with the PROSPER project, which has resulted in long-lasting positive effects in Vietnam, including: responsible forest management and CO2 storage, stimulation of the local economy and local tourism initiatives.
We look forward to your support in the time to come, so that we can continue it and focus further on preserving nature and supporting poor farmers.

Pioneering changes in the forest areas of Quang Tri

Dear donors, October 12, 2023

The story in this newsletter was written by Nguyen Thanh Tung, my colleague from Dong Ha. He is a program coordinator and has been working for MCNV for 20 years. He was born and raised in Dong Ha and is very passionate about improving the living conditions of poor families. And he is committed to preserving the forests in Quang Tri province. He can therefore fully express himself in the forestry program (PROSPER).

Since the start of the forestry program in 2020, Tung has seen a change in thinking and doing how farmers want and can preserve the forests, resulting in improving their own income in a structural way and preserving the trees. This may sound simple, but the program consists of so many different aspects and facets that take a lot of time and efforts. How beautiful it is to see these results! “The farmers are convinced that a different approach leads to a better and healthier future for people and nature and that is what matters to us.”

Tung has a lot of contact with Ho Van Chien, head of the Community Forest Management Board of Chenh Venh village. “In the past, locals randomly harvested bamboo and cut down various types of trees. This situation led to deforestation and major risks for people and nature.”
With the help of MCNV, a lot has changed in this area. The forest is better managed and protected. People’s lives have been improved by experimenting with new things that we did not dare to think of before, such as participating in forest certification, developing ecotourism, making bamboo handicrafts and planting suitable trees.”
Our question to you
Over the past three years, MCNV has devised and applied groundbreaking methods with the PROSPER program, resulted in:

• Responsible forest management and CO2 storage
• Stimulation of the local economy
• Local tourism initiatives

We would like to continue this and start new collaborations with local and international partners who share our mission. The continued support of our loyal donors in the Netherlands enables MCNV to achieve long-lasting positive effects in Vietnam with these groundbreaking changes.

Thank you in advance for your (extra) gift.

Xin chao, warm regards also on behalf of Tung from Dong Ha,

Karin Vlug

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Gifts from donors are and will remain indispensable for our work in Vietnam

In 2023, we want to pay attention to both Vietnam and Laos. This time Vietnam is in the spotlight.

At the beginning of April, we organised an online meeting with our colleagues in Vietnam and the editors of the MCNV newsletter. The common thread in the contributions from Vietnam was the importance of our private donors. All MCNV-employees in Vietnam are aware of the unique significance of MCNV. “There are still more than 3,000 Dutch people who are loyal to Vietnam, often from the very beginning. There is no second MCNV, that is special and we are very grateful to everyone for that. It inspires and encourages us to make the best use of your donations.”

The important role of private donors

To be able to implement a plan, we depend on several parties who want to support a program financially. Some funds, such as the EU or USAID, cover 75% of the budget. The condition of these large funds is that we contribute 25% ourselves, so we have to look for another source of financing. With the donations from our regular supporters we can add that 25% and the entire program is financed with that.

The contribution of the donors can also help to increase the number of participants in an existing project. As a result, every cent goes to the target group, because no additional office or staff costs are then required.

Things are going well in Vietnam and there are also government programs for the remote areas. But there is too little connection with the people there, there are facilities and rights (education, care) that they do not use out of ignorance. Partly thanks to the donors, MCNV is responding to this by focusing on capacity building in order to involve the villagers more in the programs and to promote that they know what facilities are available and what they are entitled to.

Food provision for children and support for the disabled

Vietnam director Pham Dung particularly emphasizes the major role of donors in the programs aimed at providing food for children and supporting the disabled. Two programs that the MCNV wants to continue to support in the coming years.

And finally, we can name the moral support and involvement of the private donors themselves as a value.

The loyal and generous support is so important to us, for which we are so grateful to all our donors. We can’t really put that into words.

Many thanks for your (additional) gift.

Pham Dung, Nguyen Dinh Dai, Tu Phi Yen and Karin Vlug

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Looking back, making new plans and moving on again!

Last year, in our December newsletter, I told you about the programs and projects we have planned for the period 2021-2025, focusing on nutrition and food security, maternal and child care and people with disabilities, poverty alleviation and improving living conditions. The continued focus on these topics will lead to longer and more intense involvement in the projects and enable us to live up to our commitment – starting small, handing over, pulling back and continuing elsewhere where the need is also great.

Building partnerships and finding donors willing to support the programs is a big job at a time when there are lots of applications to large and smaller funds. But with our experience and concrete results in the field, we can show that we are a valued organization with specific knowledge and expertise.

We realize that there will come a time when the focus of activities and of the organization will be even more in Vietnam than now, including fundraising. And you may be wondering what your value as a donor to MCNV will be then. That question is very easy to answer: you are vital to our programs and projects because there is always a contribution to be made by the organization itself, often up to a quarter of the grant to be received. The gifts and donations of donors like you are the source of those own contributions and thus a prerequisite for working with partners and donors.

Our great desire is to continue to partner with you in 2023 and support our colleagues in Vietnam and Laos. The work is not yet finished and both financially and morally MCNV desperately needs you to continue with our mission. We feel privileged with your unconditional support and thank you very much in advance for your (extra) donation!

On behalf of all colleagues, I wish you good holidays and a healthy 2023.

Karin Vlug
Senior Advisor Fundraising MCNV

For more information (in Dutch) see page 4-5 of our magazine.

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Forestry in the fight against poverty and climate change

Follow-up to the PROSPER project

In the multi-year PROSPER program we have told you about before, we are guiding small foresters in Quang Tri province toward sustainable forest management. The wood from the trees and the oil from the seeds of the tung trees are given an FSC (Forest Steward Council) label, thus providing farmers with a better, fair price. The EU funds 75% of the program, the remaining 25% is MCNV’s own contribution.

Dinh and a newly planted 3-months old tung tree

About 100 participating households received compensation for planting tung trees and native plants last year. A trial was also conducted to see if the planting of tung trees could prevent landslides. In total, with support from Project PROSPER, some 300 hectares of forest have now been planted in northern Huong Hoa.

The Vietnamese government has declared PROSPER a best practice in their own program “Plant a billion trees in the period 2021-2025”. A next project, as a follow-up to PROSPER, could allow expansion to more households of foresters in other villages, and certification for CO2 storage and biodiversity, among other things, could also be a next step.

Our question to you

Promoting sustainable forestry is a good way to help lift small farmers and their families out of poverty. They get a better price and higher yield for sustainably grown timber and seeds. But there are more benefits: for nature and the fight against climate change. Planting trees improves the soil, water balance and CO2 uptake. We started a small-scale forestry project in Quang Tri in 2020, and we now see opportunities to support more farmers. The plans are already clear, your support is indispensable to implement them. More trees means more farming families out of poverty!

Will you help us to provide more foresters with more livelihood security in the coming year?
With € 20,000 we can take the next step in a new project in 2023.

Thank you very much for your (extra) gift!

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Healthy food, strong women and equal opportunities

New plans to strengthen our nutrition program

In Nong and Sepone, two municipalities in the province of Savannakhet, Laos, a lot of work has been done in recent years to improve the food situation and food security. With the support of partners and donors, vegetable gardens, chickens and fish ponds, school canteens were created, and information about healthy nutrition for pregnant women and mothers was shared.

school garden

These structural changes have a positive influence on the position of girls and young women. According to the traditional division of roles, the daughters look after the younger children and the women work on the land. Men make almost all decisions, including about food. As a woman, giving your opinion or learning something for your future is often not accepted. As a result, the position of women in this poor, remote area remains vulnerable and they remain dependent on their husbands.

600 women and girls

MCNV has made a plan to give extra support to 600 women and girls from ten villages in Sepone in the field of organization and entrepreneurship. The women learn which crops are suitable, when to plant and harvest and to sell them at the market. They are allowed to participate in decisions about financial matters such as the purchase of manure, seeds and fish feed. It gives the women self-confidence and a place in the community. The men are involved in the program to experience that the family and specifically nutrition is a joint responsibility.

Many girls from the villages in Sepone now do not go to school because they have to take care of their younger brothers and sisters. As a result, they miss the opportunity to learn to read, write and count. We hope with this program to change the situation, so that girls can go to school to learn and develop.

The program will contribute to good nutrition for pregnant women and their children, but aims especially to strengthen young girls and women, who can look forward to a healthy and equal future through education and more knowledge. We want to go there together with you!

Thank you very much for your (extra) contribution!

Sincerely, Sivone Mouanaotou

MCNV Program Manager in Laos

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Old crafts, new income

Community Development provides extra work

Since 2019, MCNV has been supporting the multi-year forestry project Prosper for farmers and foresters in Quang Tri. With sustainably produced wood they can improve their income and together they ensure the preservation and protection of the forest.

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With a big leap away from hunger

Providing more protein-rich food for children continues to be urgent in coming years

Nutrition for children from poor families living in remote villages in Phu Yen province requires a lot of extra attention. We have regularly written to you about this and asked you for an extra contribution. We want to continue to do this in the coming years because too many young children are malnourished. They need more and better food to grow up healthy and to independently and strongly build their own future at a later age.

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Sustainable forestry helps poor families earn better incomes

Protect the forest, then the forest protects the village

More than a year ago, a group of farmers in Quang Tri, with the support of MCNV, took the first steps in a sustainable and small-scale forestry project. They started to grow wood and produce furniture oil in a better way, in order to get a better market price and a more stable income. In addition, the farmers work together to manage and protect the forests against illegal logging.

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Together in action for mother and child!

Safe childbirth and growing up healthy in Nong and Sepone

In 2006, a group of Laotian health professionals saw what MCNV employees in Vietnam managed to achieve. Also on their side of the border there were many health problems and they asked MCNV for  help. That was the beginning of our cooperation in the border district of Nong in Laos, ‘diseases do not stop at the border’. Since then, Nong has already better sanitation, drinking water and better nutrition. But good care for mother and child has been left behind, too many women and babies die during or after childbirth. There is insufficient knowledge about safe childbirth and women do not know where to go for help and advice during and after pregnancy.

Village health workers in the lead

We came up with a plan for Nong and the nearby district of Sepone, where the load of experience we gained in Nong now comes in handy. We want to train the village health workers in how to take care of pregnancy and childbirth, in postnatal care and good and sufficient nutrition for (pregnant) women and children. Village health workers are close to the people, speak the local language, know the traditions and recognize the difficulties from their own experience. Having faith in village health workers ensures that mothers will follow the advice and feel supported in the care of the family.

First aid in every village

The more than 150 villages in Nong and Sepone are located in a hard-to-reach area. If something goes wrong during or after childbirth, a care worker from the district health center will never get to the village in time. By in each village teaching a village health worker a number of lifesaving procedures, there is (emergency) aid close by and we reduce the chance of death during or after childbirth.

Support the women and children in Nong and Sepone!

With an amount of € 20,000, we can train 158 village health workers in Nong and Sepone so that the women in the villages can give birth safely and the baby and child mortality, which is now far too high, can quickly decrease. We use some of the money to help young mothers with a first advice on healthy nutrition for their babies and small children to get a chance to grow up healthy. This is a beautiful plan that we would very much like to take further, together with you!

On behalf of our team: Thank you very much for your (extra) contributions!
Karin Vlug

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We will continue in 2021, with your help

Our strength remains: help where it is most needed

In Vietnam and Laos, the effects of COVID-19 have also been felt, but the situation in both countries has been under control for a number of months. This is important for the most vulnerable people that MCNV supports. Of course, work has been left, meetings in the villages have not been held and our colleagues in Vietnam and Laos were temporarily unable to travel, but fortunately the damage has been limited and the work is in full swing.

Even after the recent severe floods in the central and southern of Vietnam and Laos, the thread has been picked up again. Houses are being built and building land is being re-flattened and processed to plant rice and other crops. This is a lot of work and takes time, but support is being given from all sides , including from our donors.

Not all can do it on their own

As you know, MCNV always jumps in where other, external, help is missing. That’s how we’ve been working since the early days and that’s where our strength lies. Of course, you may wonder whether the role of MCNV is still crucial, whether the people in Vietnam in particular should not be able to take care of themselves, to be responsible for themselves. That is partly true, in many places in Vietnam our aid is no longer needed. But in a number of other – mostly remote areas – our aid is really indispensable. That’s what we’re going for in 2021, that’s what we are all about!

From vulnerable to resilient

In 2020, we asked for your support for a new forestry project and for food projects in Vietnam and Laos, programs that you have enthusiastically contributed to. You gave vulnerable families in remote areas a chance to get better nutrition for the children in a different, sustainable way and to gain a more stable income. Together with you, we try to make these people more resilient so that in times of adversity they have something to fall back on.

A new year, new opportunities!

In order to catch up with the work and to be able to bring it further, we ask for your (extra) gift this Christmas. Our employees in Vietnam and Laos are very keen to continue to support the families who are not yet able to make it on their own. Your extra Christmas gift will ultimately benefit the poorest. Thank you very much for your loyalty and support!

Karin Vlug
MCNV Amsterdam

You can read all about our special Christmas campaign on page 4 and 5 of our Magazine.

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