Challenge – As in most rural areas in Vietnam, access to safe water and sanitation services in eight provinces in the Red River Delta was a significant challenge. In 2012, only 36% of households had access to ‘clean’ water, defined as meeting the national quality standards.
Groundwater, which generations of local people used for cooking and drinking, was becoming increasingly contaminated by toxic hazards. Piped water networks were either broken or failing to reach households. At the same time, only 56% of rural households had hygienic latrines and less than 20% of people washed their hands with soap at key moments.
Approach – Vietnam rolled out an ambitious National Target Program for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation – Phase 3 (NTP3) in 2013. This project used the World Bank’s Program-for-Results (PforR) lending instrument, which for the first time linked the disbursement of IDA financing to results achieved on the ground.
The PforR framework created powerful incentives to drive results and achieve the sustainability of water and sanitation services. For example, a commune was deemed qualifying to receive funding only if it had met all criteria for the ‘Community-Wide Sanitation’ (CWS) status: 100% of public schools and health centers have clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities; at least 70% of households have hygienic sanitation meeting government standards; 100% of households use latrines of some kind; and the commune is open-defecation free.