Viet Nam Appeal No. 01.36/2002 Annual Report

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 178 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org
Appeal No. 01.36/2002;
Appeal target: CHF 5,708,047
Appeal coverage: 35%

Overall analysis of the programme

Vietnam, a nation undergoing rapid change, continues to enjoy a stable political environment. Although it has shown remarkable economic development, the densely populated country still faces many challenges - from repeated natural disasters, increasing urbanisation, a widening gap between rich and poor, social and health problems, and the lingering after-effects of war.

The Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) has continued to strengthen its capacity and role as one of the leading humanitarian organisations in Vietnam, adapting well to new challenges and a changing environment. The year 2002 has been successful in many ways with the further strengthening of VNRC branches, continuation of initiatives in health, social welfare, disaster preparedness and response, Red Cross dissemination, and training. An increasing number of bilateral partnerships were established, leading to an expansion in key VNRC programme activities. With the successes also come challenges, to uphold and further expand on achieved results.

With the support of sister societies and other donors, VNRC has successfully implemented programmes under the 2002 Federation appeal, despite the relatively limited percentage coverage. The American and the Japanese Red Cross Societies have made considerable contributions in the field of disaster preparedness and disability. At the same time, the Swedish, Australian, British, German and Swiss Red Cross Societies, as well as the Federation Capacity Building Fund, Dipecho and UNDP have ensured smooth implementation of VNRC disaster preparedness, disability, social work and organisational development programmes.

The national society was active in providing emergency support at the local level, in response to natural disasters which affected the northern, central and southern parts of Vietnam during the year. However, a national appeal, launched in October to increase assistance to people affected by the floods, brought results far below expectation.

There has been a steady flow of visitors to Vietnam throughout the year which has benefited VNRC, including the successful visits of the Federation secretary general and president. The many visits of sister societies have also provided opportunities to discuss and further plan ongoing and future partnerships.

By the end of 2002 six bilateral Red Cross partners (PNS) were present in Vietnam, providing support to VNRC primarily in the areas of health, disaster preparedness and branch development. Preparations have been made for three more societies to establish bilateral project offices, from early 2003. While this presents many opportunities and will have a significant impact on Red Cross work and support to vulnerable people in Vietnam, it also puts extra pressure on VNRC to further develop its coordination and management capacity as well as to ensure that sufficient staffing capacity is made available to work with partners on the various programmes.

The Federation delegation in Vietnam has gone through a restructuring process and reduced its staffing capacity and programme involvement. This process has been part of ongoing dialogue with VNRC, looking at an eventual exit strategy for the Federation delegation, present in Vietnam since the late 1980s. Over the years VNRCs capacity has developed significantly, and hence the Federation's presence and role is now subject to review. The Federation and VNRC have jointly agreed that programme implementation assistance is no longer required to the same extent as before. However, the national society has asked for the Federation's continued presence and assistance, primarily to advise and assist in the areas of capacity building/organisational development, external relations and international representation, and to help strengthen management and coordination mechanisms. This has become an even more pressing issue with the rapid expansion in bilateral partnerships.

A reduction of Federation presence in Vietnam, and direct involvement in programmes, is indeed a positive step, a clear indication of the significant progress and development of VNRC. However, it is also important to recognise that the rate of the Federation's down-sizing was strongly pushed by funding constraints of the delegation's core costs. In 2002, earmarked contributions to the Vietnam delegation's core costs has been limited to the Japanese, Swedish and American Red Cross Societies Without additional support in future, the delegation cannot provide the assistance and services required by VNRC, nor provide services and guidance to Red Cross partners.

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