EMW has been leading clean water and sanitation efforts in Vietnam for decades and hopes to bring OBA innovation to Cambodia along with its partners. Recently East Meets West has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve sanitation and hygiene practices among the rural poor to benefit 1.7 million people in 344,000 households and 290 communes in Vietnam and Cambodia
Through major funding from AusAID and World Bank, EMW has enabled over 30,000 households access to clean water as well as 10,000 household sanitation facilities and further expects to scale-up to 100,000 more households by 2015.
The project planning and development approach begins by discussing selection of potential beneficiary communities with the local authorities using clear and agreed upon selection criteria, and then making initial visits to prospective communities to discuss the goal, objectives, and procedures for planning, constructing and maintaining simple piped water systems in selected communities.
Once agreements are made between the responsible parties (participating communities, local authorities, and EMW), water source selection and testing, engineering design, procurement of goods, materials and equipment, and construction proceeds, with very strong community involvement in virtually all aspects of planning and system development.
EMW has successfully coordinated its activities to ensure the necessary cooperation and active support from the local authorities. This is in part due to the limited geographic focus of the program, so that there has been ample time to develop good working relationships with the local authorities especially in Quang Nam Province. This is critical to ensure the success of development programs in Vietnam.