Action on Poverty (AOP) is a Sydney-based international development organisation that empowers marginalised communities across Africa, Asia and the Pacific to break the cycle of entrenched poverty.

SMEC is partnering with AOP to help deliver essential infrastructure to remote and impoverished villages in Hoa Binh province, a mountainous region in northern Vietnam located approximately two hours from Hanoi. Its population, which includes a high proportion of ethnic minority groups, is almost entirely dependent on agricultural production.


These much-needed infrastructure solutions bring meaningful change to these communities by supporting economic livelihoods, improving health outcomes and disease prevention, and promoting education.


Road improvement in Chien village


Chien village is a remote village predominantly made up of the Muong ethnic minority group. The community is primarily engaged in agriculture, including rice cultivation and cattle and poultry farming. Recently, the community has developed Community-based Tourism (CBT) as a new and diversified livelihood model.


However, this initiative was impeded by the lack of road infrastructure. The dirt road leading into the village is slippery and extremely dangerous during the wet season. Despite local attempts to patch up the road after the rains, it continued to deteriorate, making travel difficult and hazardous for residents as well as tourists.


The project, partially funded and designed by SMEC, is to upgrade a 160m road (3.5m wide) and build a culvert. The current road is used only by motorbikes, but the upgraded road will allow vehicles as large as a 29-seat car to safely access the village using the culvert. A collaborative approach is being planned for construction, which is slated to start after the harvesting season. Local villagers will prepare the construction site while SMEC provides technical supervision. The local government together with AOP are responsible for preparing a detailed budget and assisting local villagers during construction.


This road upgrade will provide over 80 households in Chien and neighbouring Ton village with a safer way to travel to school and into the fields. It is also a key driver to the success of community-based tourism, improving incomes and livelihoods.


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Talk to one of our specialists about our role on the Delivering Infrastructure to Help Alleviate Poverty in Vietnam Project.