A few weeks ago, I applied for a $5,000 USD grant with the Korea Green Foundation (KGF). I am happy and proud to say that last week, I was told that we received the grant! This is the first, actually second, tangible evidence that I have been doing something for my organization. The first proof was the poster (see a previous post).
Anyway, the Korea Green Foundation (greenfund.org) has a really interesting back story. From what my boss told me, the president was actually in jail for 6 years before he started the NGO. In his time in jail, he read hundreds of books about the environment and about development, so when he got out, he was knowledgeable and began the NGO in 2002. At first, it was very hard to get support, especially governmental support, but now KGF is one of the biggest NGOs that works on environmental issues in Korea, maybe all of Asia.
In Vietnam, KGF is very concerned about having safe drinking water. People are wary of drinking tap water here. But, the situation is even more interesting because it rains a lot here, so there is plenty of groundwater.
So, when I was looking to KGF, I learned that they are doing a water filtration project in one commune in Vietnam. I think it is a pilot project. Essentially, what it does is install these big filters outside homes that catches rainwater, filters it, and stores it for usage. People can drink it, use it for showers, etc.
KGF is implementing a “technocratic solution”. From what my boss tells me, it has been successful. The people in the commune have access to clean water, a much needed necessity. This “technocratic solution” does meet a crucial need of the people.
But, then, I question, how sustainable can this project be? Right now, it is being in only one commune, but will it be scaled up across Vietnam? Will it be given to the people for free? I am sure that not everyone could pay for one if they had to.
Then, I also think about the #GlobalPOV video by Professor Khalid Kadir:
I believe that yes, technical solutions can ease poverty problems. But, I agree that experts that recommend technical solutions do not look at the whole picture. They are limited to what they have studied. So, why can’t people drink tap water in Vietnam? Even if there’s a lot of rain, why isn’t it usable?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but these are the bigger questions that need to be addressed.
In addition, from what I understand, KGF is also concerned about the water quality in Ha Noi’s ponds and lakes. But, why are these lakes polluted in the first place? Would it help to just clean the lake?
It’s interesting because this is the exact example that Prof. Kadir uses in his video. If you have not watched the video already, please do. I think it is very well written and makes you think about how people address problems of poverty.
As someone that wants to engage in poverty action and someone that is an economics major, I am aware that I look at the world through an economics lens. But, it takes more than economics to address the world’s problems. I am still learning a lot, and I will always be learning.
Over and out.