Water Supply or ‘Beautiful Latrines’? Microcredit for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam


  • Nadine Reis Munich School of Philosophy
  • Peter P. Mollinga University of London




Water, Sanitation, Microcredit, Mekong Delta, Vietnam


Around half of the Mekong Delta’s rural population lacks year-round access to clean water. In combination with inadequate hygiene and poor sanitation this creates a high risk of diseases. Microcredit schemes are a popular element in addressing such problems on the global policy level. The present paper analyses the contradictory results of such a microcredit programme for rural water supply and sanitation in the context of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, through a qualitative study primarily based on semi-structured interviews in rural communes of Can Tho City. We come to the conclusion that the programme has a positive effect regarding the safer disposal of human excreta as well as surface water quality, but a marginal impact on poverty reduction as it only reaches better-off households already having access to clean water. The paper shows how the outcome of rural water supply and sanitation policies are strongly infl uenced by the local ecological, technological, and social settings, in particular by stakeholders’ interests. The authors challenge the assumption that water supply and sanitation should be integrated into the same policy in all circumstances.

Author Biographies

Nadine Reis, Munich School of Philosophy

Nadine Reis has completed her PhD in development sociology at the University of Bonn, Germany. She is currently a researcher at the Institute for Social and Development Studies, Munich School of Philosophy, Germany. Contact: nadine.reis@hfph.de

Peter P. Mollinga, University of London

Peter P. Mollinga is Professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK.






Current Research on Southeast Asia