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WOBA Vietnam

Women-Led Output-Based Aid Vietnam

Women-Led Output-Based Aid (WOBA) Vietnam is a program designed and implemented by Thrive Networks/East Meets West to address challenges and inequities in Vietnam’s rural water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.

WOBA is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the Water for Women Fund over 4.5 years (June 2018 to December 2022) with a total budget of 5.7 million Australian dollars.

WOBA has two objectives:

  1. Improve rural livelihoods through increased access to equitable (WASH services, especially among marginalized community members;
  2. Improve gender empowerment and inclusion of women through program implementation and decision making.

WOBA is implemented in the rural areas of five provinces which have different geographical and socio-economic conditions. These provinces are Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Ben Tre. The program is implemented using Thrive’s output-based aid (OBA) approach which has been piloted, refined, and scaled over the past decade. It has three main components and targets:

  1. WATER – 7,100 poor/GESI households connecting to piped water schemes.
  2. SANITATION – 18,000 poor/near poor/GESI and 2,000 non-poor (SANOBA) households having improved access to hygienic sanitation in rural communities.
  3. FECAL SLUDGE MANAGEMENT (FSM) – A fecal sludge management pilot in Ben Tre province.

Key Program Activities

  • Partner with and deliver training for Vietnam’s WASH service authorities and service providers at the national, provincial, commune levels to strengthen coordination mechanisms at all institutional levels in delivering sustainable WASH services for marginalized communities in rural Vietnam.
  • Partner with and deliver training for WASH operator SANOBA to strengthen their private sector ability to deliver sustainable WASH services, particularly for marginalized communities in rural Vietnam.
  • Build capacity and profile of Vietnam Women’s Union (WU) members at national and provincial levels to empower them to lead, coordinate, and deliver WASH services, and mobilize community households particularly from marginalized households to construct hygienic latrines and connect to clean water.
  • Conduct baseline data collection, verification of latrines constructions and water connections, and operational monitoring to ensure gender and social inclusion (GESI) targets are achieved and progressing according to the program’s operational plans and targets.
  • Partner with social enterprises to distribute handwashing devices and water tanks, and with Vietnam Women’s Union to promote handwashing practices as part of WOBA’s COVID-19 response.
  • Organize and facilitate learning workshops with implementation partners and stakeholders to share insights, exchange knowledge, and advocate gender and inclusive WASH services in Vietnam.

Cross-cutting Insights

  • Adaptive management and flexibility in designing and implementing project work plans are required, especially in the context of major pandemic and natural disasters.
  • It is critical to emphasize the significance of behavior change communication in WASH against the backdrop of the COVID-19 outbreak as it plays an essential part in changing public mindset, improving personal hygiene practices, thereby contributing to curbing the spread of the pandemic.
  • Close collaboration and coordination with government partners, particularly Vietnam Women’s Union at all levels and local governments, is key to ensuring the smooth staffing transition and accomplishment of GESI indicators.
  • Direct involvement of local DPOs is crucial to achieving overall GSI objectives as their knowledge and experience in the Vietnam context is needed for the WASH practitioners trying to implement inclusive programming.
  • Sustainable and extensive WASH coverage for marginalized communities cannot be achieved without participation of the private sector and stakeholders. Mobilization of resources from the private sector through ‘socialization’ policies is important to provide inclusive and equitable WASH access.


  1. Strengthened national and sub-national WASH systems with government able to implement and sustain inclusive output-based aid WASH approaches in rural Vietnam.
  2. Strengthened private sector ability to operate sustainably and reach poor and GESI communities in rural Vietnam; increasing their role in providing high quality WASH services to all.
  3. Improved access to and use of equitable WASH services, especially among marginalized community members.
  4. Improved gender empowerment and systematic inclusion of women and outcomes in households and communities and institutions.
  5. .Increased use of evidence and innovation in gender and inclusive WASH in Vietnam; increased contribution from Vietnam to regional and global evidence base.