Creating health, hygiene and prosperity in rural Vietnam

In a nutshell

Enhancing health, hygiene and livelihood in rural Vietnam.

What’s the issue?

Villages in rural areas play a key part in the social and economic development of Vietnam, as this is where 70 percent of the 90MM population lives. The Vietnamese Government has committed to modernising and upgrading living standards in these villages, to improve hygiene, health and prosperity in a programme called New Rural Development.

Unilever is partnering with Government – including the Ministries of Health, Education & Training, Agriculture and Rural Development – to help accelerate this drive. We also work with NGOs such as the Vietnam, Women’s Union in a true public-private partnership.

What’s the story?

Perfect Village is our response to the Government’s New Rural programme, and our action to deliver the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. In helping with the Government’s programme, there’s a clear role for products across our portfolios – home care, personal care, and food and nutrition. Perfect Village covers three areas: Sustainability, Perfect Store, and Market Development.

Sustainability: This aims to improve health, hygiene and livelihood for rural people. It includes infrastructure building and renovation, such as OMO playgrounds, hygienic toilets, handwashing basins and clean water supplies. It involves installing “point of sale” materials in schools and clinics where residents can learn about health, hygiene and nutrition. And it provides microfinance to small businesses, including villages stores, to create jobs and generate income for rural people.

Perfect Store: this involves providing point of sale and merchandising that is modern, professional and efficient to the “mom-and-pop” stores that dominate in Vietnamese villages. It also covers developing staff in how to communicate with shoppers and how to introduce them to new products or categories that can help with their family’s hygiene and nutrition.

Market Development: this includes brand activations for handwashing with soap (Lifebuoy), oral care (P/S), toilet cleaning (VIM) and water purification (Pureit). In this way, we introduce and instil health and hygiene habits that are realised by using our products. The target audiences of these campaigns are mothers and children in schools, with messages reinforced over 21-day campaigns. Messages are cemented through village loudspeakers and at regular community meetings.

There are three levels of Perfect Village: Gold, in which all three pillars are covered; Silver with Perfect Store and Market Development; and, Bronze – Market Development only. In every Perfect Village, we run activities with Government agencies with the common goal of improving livelihoods for people in the village.

What are the outcomes and impact?

By the end of 2016, Perfect Village was active in 1,000 villages in Vietnam, 200 at the Gold standard. The revenue returned for a Perfect Village is 2.3 times higher than the level of a rural village where the programme is not run.

What are the future plans?

By 2020, Unilever has committed to support 3,000 out of the 10,000 villages in the country to become Perfect Villages.

In Summary

“This project is helping to change the appearance of the Vietnamese rural landscape, to promote sustainable growth and to enhance livelihoods, especially of women,” said Vietnam Women Union’s Vice Chairwoman about our programme.

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