As Vietnam has begun to adopt the market system and allow individual production, the way has been opened for increased prosperity for some. For many in rural areas, however, the future offers relative impoverishment, as access to new skills, credit and wider markets are not available to them. Save the Children (UK) has targeted these poorer families in Vietnam during the three years it has been operating income generation programmes there. This article describes a review of this work and suggests that savings-and-credit models need to be developed, as well as more sustainable interest rates charged. A greater emphasis on training and on support for project partners is needed in a country where the role of mass organizations is changing considerably.