Evaluation is now recognised as an essential component in planning and implementing projects, and is one important means by which recipients can participate in the design process. In Vietnam, the liberalisation of the economic and social life of the country in the last few years has allowed Oxfam the scope to consider long-term development plans. As a first stage, a review of the impact of an Oxfam project on the community was undertaken, paying particular attention to the situation of women. Parts of the findings are explored in this article, to show that one infrastructural input, in this case a pumping station, will have a broad range of consequences for the community concerned. Contrary to expectations, increased production is tending to encourage co-operation between men and women, out of shared interest in strengthening the stability of the household, now recognised (in place of the collective) as the prime economic unit in Vietnam.
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