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Review of Norad’s capacity building program in the water and sanitation sector in Vietnam

Norad and the German development bank KfW have supported six infrastructure projects across Vietnam within the water supply, wastewater/drainage and solid waste sectors, through a mixed credit scheme. To increase the sustainability of the infrastructure projects, Norad funded a capacity building program for the stakeholders involved in the infrastructure projects. Activities included support to introduce and improve the regulation of tariffs, support for local stakeholders to prepare tariff plans, as well as more operational support such as software and hardware, customer management support, and support for developing business plans. In addition, the program supported information, education and communication activities aimed at the local population in the areas where the infrastructure investments took place.

Menon’s review of the capacity building program shows mixed success of the program. On the one hand, we find that the program has likely improved the operation and maintenance of the mixed credit investment projects and contributed to these projects’ compliance with the Norad and KfW requirements. The review also shows that the program has facilitated the process towards increased cost recovery through tariffs in the wastewater/drainage and solid waste sectors. On the other hand, the program struggled somewhat under delays and unclear program documents, and we find that several of the program’s activities have only to a limited extent contributed towards achieving program outcomes. The questionable additionality of some of the activities funded through the program indicates that a more careful targeting of activities towards the sectors with the greatest need could have added to the impact of the program.

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