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Mother's Space is not just a toilet. It's far more than that! “I feel that our homes and community have become much cleaner.”

Mrs. Tam (far left) shows her Mother's Space to the neighbors.

FIDR has been supporting the installation of “Mother's Space,” a hand-made sanitation facility that accommodates a toilet, washing place, and a shower, in Kon Tum province located in the central mountainous region, Vietnam.
In this region, many families even today do not have a toilet at home and residents have to go to a river or a water well for washing and bathing. Due to the poor sanitary environment, people with weak immunity, especially small children, had been more likely to develop a disease. Under such circumstances, the number of households that eagerly participate in the efforts to install Mother's Space has increased more and more as “it would contribute to the improvement of the situation”. Since last year when this project activity substantially started, the number has now reached about 330 households (as of April 2022).

Mothers who installed Mother's Space happily told us as follows:

Mrs. Lieu:
“Inside layout of this Mother's Space is based on my idea. I made efforts to improve useability, such as building a shelf for toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry soap, etc., and making a rain cover. Now, thanks to the new washing place, I can wash my children's toys and sandals, and keep our place very clean. The environment has become much more pleasant.”

Mrs. Tam:
“I've become to share my experiences and talk about housework and childcare with others. I've always been a shy person and could not talk in front of people. Triggered by the installation of Mother's Space, however, I have been able to overcome my shyness. I am also so glad that I could help my neighbors through Mother's Space. There used to be no toilet in this village and children were defecating in the open around houses and on the roadsides. As the number of families installing Mother's Space has increased, I feel that our homes and community have become much cleaner.


“Mother's Space” is back to Kon Tum Province!

New households were listening attentively to the experience from a senior household that installed Mother's Space in a previous project

The COVID-19 lockdown in Vietnam, which is known to be one of the strictest in the world, was eased last October. The fourth wave lasted for more than three months, and FIDR staff were unable to visit the project site during this time. However, administrative officials and local people in the project site, Kon Tum Province, started their long-awaited activities.

The first activity is the installation of "Mother's Space". This was modelled by FIDR in the previous project that started in 2012 and lasted for 6 years. It is a hand-made sanitation facility for each household that can be used for multiple purposes such as toilet, showering and washing. This is also an activity that World Bank and other international NGOs are now beginning to introduce.

This year, we plan to start installing Mother's Space in four districts in Kon Tum province to improve the sanitation condition of local people. Therefore, after the lockdown was eased, FIDR's staff immediately went to the site because we received many calls from local people that “When will the activity start?" "Let's get started soon!" again and again. At the site, the people were very active. Even during the meetings in the preparation stage, some residents started the installation right away and helped other families who were behind in their work.

All the staff feel that activities that residents truly need have been carried out by the residents themselves. We are excited, imagining how many Mother's Spaces will be created this year.

A woman was measuring the site for installing Mother's Space (behind her is the current toilet)

Materials for building Mother's Space arrived at the site of each household.


Upon a new project commencement: We conducted monitoring in the target area of the previous project

In anticipation of starting the Project for Improvement of Living and Child Nutrition in Tay Nguyen, the staff members of FIDR visited Dak To District of Kon Tum Province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, which was also the target area of the previous project. The purpose of the visit was to conduct monitoring after the project completion.

During the monitoring visit, it was revealed that even after concluding the project in 2017, the Motherfs Space ? serving as a multipurpose hygiene facility for toilet, shower, or washhouse, installed by the residents in the previous project ? has not only been maintained but also renovated by installing new water tanks and pipes by the residents themselves. Those families who set up the Motherfs Space during the project took@the initiative to talk about its easy-to-use aspect to other residents in the vicinity, which lead to other households launching the Motherfs Space by themselves.

Furthermore, it came to our attention that the World Bank took the construction of the Motherfs Space as a reference. The region and the households, where the Motherfs Space was installed, were participating nearly all throughout the construction process. The overground part, in particular, was designed and built by the residents; while the construction materials for the underground part were backed-up. When World Bank supports in building toilets for people in Kon Tum Province, local authorities who hold the Motherfs Space in high regard introduced its mechanisms. Because the construction of the toiletsf ground segment is entrusted to households, more toilet facilities will be constructed. This is unlike other toilet constructions where all construction costs including the building are backed up.

Mother's Space The Motherfs Space installed during the previous project is still being used with great care

In Dak To, the ambitions of the residents are high. One woman participating in the previous project as a leader expressed her desire to cooperate again once the new project starts. We are continuously moving forward with preparations towards the actual start in August this year.


The Cause of Malnutrition Investigated

Field work in ethnic minority area, Kon Tum Province. Local people analyzed their village.

Kon Tum Province Child Nutrition Improvement Project (CNIP) completed in 2018 gained a high reputation from the government, and FIDR received a request to implement this project in an entire part of the province. In Kon Tum Province, the nutritional condition of infants has not improved except in the two districts where CNIP was implemented, and the malnutrition rate of children under five years old is 40%, which is the highest in Vietnam.

The cause analysis conducted in this fiscal year identified that not only low knowledge and behavior of local residents in health and sanitation, but also low agricultural productivity and income would be challenge. Therefore, in addition to the activities including complementary feeding and gMotherfs Space,h a facility with toilet, shower, and laundry, promoted in the previous CNIP, we decided to adopt the activities of enhancing agricultural technology and community cooperation in order to improve life condition in the entire region; as a result, the nutritional and health condition of children will continuously improve. The project team is on the process of preparing for the implementation of the project activities.