Viet Nam

Viet Nam Appeal No. 01.64/2003 Programme Update No. 2

Originally published
Appeal Target: CHF 2,591,325
Period covered: April to June 2003

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 over 180 countries. For more information:

In Brief

Appeal coverage: 66%; See attached Contributions List for details.

Outstanding needs: CHF 876,901

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: N/A

Programme Summary: Federation activities have centred on raising awareness and increasing understanding of organisational development, capacity building strategic planning concepts among top leadership of Viet Nam Red Cross (VNRC) The aim of developing a highly skilled and stable leadership by the end of the becomes increasingly important as the Federation moves from a country delegation a representative office. Evidence of the expanding role of Red Cross partners Vietnam was seen with the legal establishment of the American Red Cross in the country, during the second quarter.

Operational developments

Travel advisories against Vietnam were lifted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in late May, after no new cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had been reported in the country for over one month. By then, however, both the local hospitality and tourism sectors had been seriously affected. Although confidence has slowly regained (hotel occupancy rates rose from its lowest point of 20 per cent in April to between 60-70 per cent in June), the number of international travelers to the country has remained lower than normal.

As a result of the report released by the Environmental Justice Foundation in early 2003 (Vietnamese shrimp aquaculture impacts and improvements) disaster preparedness and mangrove protection became the focus of mass media attention in Vietnam during the second quarter, with extensive coverage in the local vernacular newspapers, television and radio (Voice of Vietnam) as well as in the international media (The Guardian, June 2003). Trade disputes between the United States and Vietnam over catfish exports also continued to make headlines, with Vietnam bracing itself against a similar assault on shrimp, its largest seafood export, in the nation's third largest export industry.

The retirement of the incumbent president of the Viet Nam Red Cross (VNRC) took effect in June , with an official handover to the vice-president/acting secretary-general in July.

Health and Care

Goal: VNRC health and care related programmes and activities are focused, effective and relevant to the prevailing needs of vulnerable people in Vietnam

Objective: Service delivery to the target groups in the three VNRC projects specified for Federation support is maintained and enhanced

Expected Results

1. Community Based Social Work: The VNRC has increased ability to respond to social welfare needs of the most vulnerable groups in Vietnam

2. HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care: The urgent needs of communities seeking to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS are met and care provided for people infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS

3. Disability: VNRC has strengthened its capacity at all levels to provide sustainable and effective services to poor people with disabilities and their families


1. Community Based Social Work (CBSW)

Skills building and support to community social welfare services continued as the main activities of the programme. Beside these on-going activities, VNRC focused on strategic issues such as identifying its role and direction in social welfare, fundraising/resource development, and developing and maintaining human resources to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

Skills building

Some 26 key social work resource persons in four southern provinces - Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai and Tay Ninh - underwent training in community development, project management and other social welfare skills. Training focused not only on trainers but also on those able to assist chapters with fundraising/resource development, as well as local volunteers and members working on activities to support vulnerable groups. Training also provided participants with an understanding of how to organise and monitor social welfare activities/projects at the province, district and commune level.

Local level activities and projects

Income generation and other support to poor women in Dak Lak province: The small savings credit project has been running in Dak Lak province since 2001 and aims to increase the income of about 40 households and improve the health status of women in the commune. It was implemented also as a foundation activity for other income generation schemes. An evaluation of the project in May found that it had reached the grassroots level and required about three to five years to ensure sustainability. Household financial management skills were identified as the most important skill needed to further develop income generation projects. Community organisation activities were also found to be crucial components for people to develop solidarity, identify goals and implement activities. Lessons from the project will be shared with other community programmes and used by VNRC for the National Poverty Reduction programme.

Inclusive education for disabled children: Two communities in Hung Yen and Vinh Phuc provinces participated in the project, which benefited more than one hundred disabled children and their families. The national society advocated on behalf of the children, ensuring they were schooled and widely integrated into their communities.

Community based water/sanitation: The Australian Embassy Hanoi provided funding for the construction of 27 water-tanks (to collect household rainwater) as well as bathrooms for women in the northern province Langson, Community wells and water supply systems were also upgraded, and new methods to treat animal waste tested. Health education and income generation activities have been integrated into the project.


Through these small-scale projects and local initiatives, a large number of beneficiaries have been provided opportunities to improve their living situation and future prospects.


Established contact between the Federation delegation and the Australian Embassy Hanoi has resulted in support for both the community-based social care for children with disabilities project in Vinh Phuc, as well as the water/sanitation project in Langson.

2. HIV/AIDS - Prevention and Care

Components of the programme includes increased VNRC capacity, training of youth, home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and support to infected/affected children.

Increased VNRC capacity to combat HIV/AIDS

During the reporting period, VNRC and the Australian Red Cross (ARC) have continued discussions to finalise the OPEC Fund programme documents and memorandum of understanding (MoU). There have also been further discussions on the management arrangements between VNRC and ARC, centring on the cost norms for programme implementation.

In May, the HIV/AIDS Strategy of VNRC (2003-2005) was launched during a workshop in Hanoi, with Red Cross representatives from 25 northern provinces. Besides an introduction, the launch provided the opportunity to discuss solutions towards carrying out an HIV/AIDS strategy in the country.

Training of youth

Vulnerable people, and in particular youth, continue to be targeted as participants in HIV/AIDS awareness workshops. Appropriate youth facilitators are identified during these workshops and recruited as outreach workers. Workshop curriculum and teaching methodologies have bee reviewed during the second quarter.

Home based care for PLWHA

Care and support activities are new to the programme. Core support group members, who are themselves vulnerable youth of young adults have been trained in outreach and issues surrounding confidentiality and disclosure. Retaining core members has emerged as a challenge, particularly as some of the programme participants have been placed in government run rehabilitation centres.

Infected and/or affected children

There is ongoing emphasis on the involvement of people living with or affected with HIV/AIDS to have a greater involvement in programmes and activities that impact on them. Children will be directly targeted and supported as part of the OPEC funded programme activities. The national society has already identified one province as the pilot for children-focused activities.


OPEC programme documents as well as the MoU have not been finalised, resulting in further delays for the programme's implementation process.


Discussions are ongoing between the Federation and the Australian Red Cross. No specific meetings with other organisations have taken place during the second quarter.

Disaster Management

Goal: The impact of disasters on the most vulnerable people in Vietnam is reduced

Objective: The VNRC fulfils its designated strategic and implementation role in the context of Vietnam's disaster management network

Expected Results

The capacity of the VNRC is strengthened to assist the most vulnerable people in Vietnam


Risk Reduction

British Red Cross (BRCS): Three projects have been supported by the BRCS in two Mekong Delta provinces: construction of a concrete bridge in Dong Thap, and construction of a public toilet and clean water supply to poor households in An Giang. Construction of the bridge is planned before the flood season in August; however, as of end June, the project was still awaiting approval from the district construction department.

The provincial chapter in An Giang is also awaiting approval for the construction site and latrine design from local authorities. The construction of a mini-water factory in the Tan An commune, Tan Chau district, now provides 250 poor households with to access clean water. Long An province also requested the construction of a mini-water supply system. However, the prohibitive budget (about USD 10,000) led the local People's Committee to discuss co-financing the project with VNRC.

Netherlands Red Cross/ECHO operation: The Federation provided technical advice for this bilateral project, undertaking a needs assessment in the disaster affected provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh in early April. The main needs identified by households were for livestock (piglets, goats, poultry, cattle) and bullock-carts. It was agreed that the most cost-effective way to meet these basic needs (with a budget of euro 68 per household), was through rearing pigs. Some 500 beneficiary households were selected and provided with 100kg of cement (to repair pig-stys), two piglets (total weight 30kg), and 90kg food (to feed piglets for three-four months). Animal husbandry experts were also identified to provide advice to households on the care of pigs.

DIPECHO: The Disaster Preparedness European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (DipECHO) funded a one-year disaster management project, in May. A locally recruited expatriate consultant has been hired to manage most aspects of the project including report writing, training, and monitoring.

Japanese Red Cross supported mangrove reforestation project: During April and May, six provinces were planted with some 535 hectares of mangroves. A second inspection of 290 hectares of afforested areas in Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa provinces indicated an average survival rate of 70 per cent.

Together with the delegation, VNRC organised two training workshops in planning, monitoring, and evaluation in Ninh Binh and Nghe An provinces for 36 district and provincial level Red Cross staff. Twenty training courses in planting were also conducted in five other provinces for 690 participants, mostly local farmers and commune officers. Local farmers are able to plant mangroves and other species and understand the impact of mangroves as a disaster preparedness measure and in bringing improvements in fisheries and the environment.

Disaster preparedness (DP) training courses were held for some 340 staff at the district and commune level. One pilot training course in search and rescue was also held with participants from the Red Cross provincial and district chapters, the military, and the Centre for Flood and Storm Control.

Planting ceremonies organised with over 1,200 participants in three communes in Hai Phong and Thanh Hoa provinces, helped raise the visibility of the Red Cross, as well as awareness of disaster preparedness and the importance of mangroves. The Hai Phong chapter also piloted a community solution to protect mangroves in Dai Phong village, Bang La commune by allocating 55 hectares of mangroves to 11 households, for fishing and collecting seafood. Instead of protection teams paid for by the project, these families now protect the mangroves. If successful, this measure will be replicated in other areas. Complaints by the local People Committee about illegal mangrove clearing in Ninh Binh province led authorities to arrest four local pond owners, scheduled for trial in the next quarter.

Programme activities were disseminated through national television, newspapers, and through loudspeaker systems. The Labour newspaper printed several articles about the action to protect the mangroves in Ninh Binh province while Quang Ninh and Nghe An Red Cross chapters held camps for junior Red Cross members on mangroves and disaster preparedness, reaching thousands of children and teachers.

VNRC playing an active role on a local, national and regional level

The two Federation programme officers were involved in various DM forums, workshops, reviews, and meetings during the reporting period including:

  • Interagency disaster management working group (informal forum of DM practitioners comprising INGO, government, Red Cross and UN agency staff). The two-day forum developed joint interagency humanitarian need assessment forms and discussed ways of setting up a joint need assessment team.

  • Design and development of a five-day Sphere training workshop, organised principally with CARE and Oxfam GB with about 20 INGO staff.

  • Project planning process (PPP) workshop in Ho Chi Minh City with representatives from six PNS and the VNRC. The workshop will help with the development of the Federation Appeal later in the year as well as future project proposals.

  • Review of the Cambodian Red Cross community-based DM programme, with the regional DM unit and the British Red Cross DP advisor. A full report is available separately.

  • Contingency planning workshop for DM staff from the Lao and Cambodia Red Cross societies in Vientiane, to draft a contingency plan for slow onset floods in the Mekong. This process will be replicated with the Red Cross in Myanmar and Vietnam in August/September.
Mangrove plantation evaluation

In June, a joint external mid-term evaluation was undertaken for the mangrove programme funded by the Danish and Japanese Red Cross Societies in five provinces - Hai Phong, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An. The debriefing meeting (to highlight impacts and recommendations of the programme) concluded that the programme had addressed the needs of vulnerable communities and households. Evaluators further stated that the objectives of the programme are likely to be achieved.


Staff in five provinces involved with the British and Netherlands Red Cross supported projects now have a better understanding of how to work both with local people and various district and provincial level government authorities. However, it is too early at this stage to determine the longer-term impact of both the risk reduction and livelihood support activities on people in the communities.

The mid-term evaluation of the mangrove project stated that its impact on the coastal environment and on local socio-economics has obviously been seen and felt. The project was also evaluated as having institutional, technological, human resources, and economic sustainability.


Risk reduction and livelihood support are relatively new areas in which the Red Cross has been involved and therefore progress at times has been both challenging and slow. However, small-scale projects in the Mekong Delta are going ahead and livelihood support is being provided to some 500 households in two provinces. In the Mekong Delta provinces, the French Red Cross is also undertaking similar livelihood support for 800 households, although it is felt that coordination with this project needs to be improved with the VNRC headquarters and Federation delegation.

Slow decision-making at VNRC headquarters has been a challenge to most aspects of the programme. Staff numbers at VNRC headquarters are also insufficient and the national society is vulnerable to staff turnover. The need exists for VNRC to improve its link to other national and international efforts to protect mangroves in South East Asia to formulate stronger mangrove protection policies in the region.

Long periods of hot weather resulted in the low survival rate of mangroves in some provinces (the second evaluation of mangroves in Thanh Hoa showed a surviving rate of only 40 per cent). Unplanned shrimp farming by local people in Ninh Binh and Quang Ninh provinces also caused more challenges for the protection of mangroves in these areas.


Coordination and liaison took place with government authorities/ministries, relevant agencies and organisations at different levels for all risk reduction activities. Monthly meetings of the DM working group and meetings with various organisations were held to discuss various collaborations (such as the joint needs assessment, Sphere training).

Regular dialogue was held with the regional DM unit as well as Red Cross partner societies involved in disaster preparedness and response activities (Netherlands /Belgium, Denmark and France).

Humanitarian Values

Goal: The mandate and role of VNRC, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's fundamental principles and humanitarian values are well understood and supported by public services and the wider population in Vietnam

Objective: The awareness of humanitarian values in Vietnam is increased

Expected Result

The VNRC has increased its capacity and effectiveness in communication and promotion of Red Cross Red Crescent fundamental principles and humanitarian values throughout the country


International humanitarian law (IHL) training has continued in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with support from the ICRC. Draft ideas for a future communications strategy has been circulated to VNRC for comments.


Progress continues to be limited in this area, due to the lack of support for the programme.

Organisational Development

The organisational development (OD) committee has been overhauled, with the new OD coordinator appointed from the international department of VNRC. Although the OD plan has been developed, implementation has been delayed during the quarter because of leadership issues and the resignation of the head of VNRC fundraising department.

Goal: VNRC is a strong, relevant and well-functioning national society

Objective: VNRC has increased capacities to provide relevant and effective services to vulnerable people in Vietnam

Expected Results:

1. A comprehensive VNRC national strategy is in place, including strategies and plans for each core area and a framework for cooperation with partners

2. VNRC leadership capacity is further strengthened

3. VNRC has increased capacity to design and implement programmes and services in an effective and professional manner, including improved performance in finance management, planning and reporting

4. VNRC has increased ability to generate financial resources for its core and programme costs


Leadership capacity

In May, a seminar was held in Hanoi for top leaders/technical managers of VNRC to brief them on Federation concepts and tools on organisational development (OD) and capacity building, and introduce models for long-term and strategic planning. Based on encouraging responses to this 'eye-opening' seminar, VNRC may run series of similar meetings for branch leaders later in the year.

Key VNRC managers and programme staff, Federation programme officers and bilateral partners attended a project planning process (PPP) training course in Ho Chi Minh City to further enhance cooperation and coordination in planning and project management.

Programme and finance management capacity

The resignation of the head of VNRC's fundraising division during the quarter resulted in the entire OD team being dissolved, except for the finance director (also part time OD director). With the fundraising department defunct, there are now implications on the funding situation of the entire national society. One idea under consideration by VNRC is to link fundraising initiatives in with other programme departments.

The Federation continued during the quarter to provide consultancy support to help increase VNRCs capacity and performance in finance management. Mapping and analysing VNRC financial processes has continued and the change of coding structures started. The change in finance management will be introduced after new accounting software has been implemented in August. The Japanese and Netherlands Red Cross Societies have pledged to co-finance the purchase of the new software system.


The leadership seminar has helped raise awareness and increased general understanding of OD, capacity building and strategic planning in VNRC leadership. If accepted more broadly this will lead to a more skilled and stable top leadership by the end of the year.


For the new accounting system to be successfully implemented requires not only increased capacity within VNRC but also a change in mindset of its staff, many of whom have been used to the old but limited government accounting system. Although funds are available at VNRC policies are not yet in place to recruit the most appropriate staff. Human resources policy is one area within VNRC that needs to be overhauled.

Federation Coordination

With the end of mission of the acting head of delegation in June, the Vietnam delegation changed from a country delegation to a Federation representative office. The recruitment process for a Federation representation is nearing completion. One of the main tasks of the representative will be to develop the cooperation agreement strategy (CAS).

Goal: VNRC's capacity is further enhanced, resulting in the increased impact of its programmes, through more efficient and effective use of the combined knowledge, experience and resources of the International Federation, the ICRC and other partners

Objective: VNRC has the sustained and coordinated support of Red Cross Red Crescent partners in developing a CAS

Expected Result

A CAS, for the period 2003-2006, is developed during 2003, accepted by VNRC and its partners and subsequently implemented


In the second quarter, the American Red Cross was legally established as a bilateral partner of VNRC. The Swiss Red Cross also recruited a local officer to run its housing project in central Vietnam during this time.


The gap between the end of mission of the previous (acting) head of delegation and assignment of a new Federation representative has pushed back development of the CAS process.

The following is a brief summary of PNS activities:

Red Cross partners
Activities (April - June 2003)
American American Red Cross (ARC) initially developed its disability programme with support from the Federation. It is now a fully bilateral project with ARC having committed long-term funding to the programme.
Australian OPEC Funds has enabled Australian Red Cross to expand its support to HIV/AIDS in the country, though implementation of activities has yet to begin.
Belgium Belgium Red Cross has confirmed its support of the primary health care project with VNRC and has started implementing activities in three northern provinces.
Danish Danish Red Cross (DRC) runs mangrove plantation and other disaster preparedness activities in Thai Binh and Nam Bihn provinces. The current commitment for support from DRC is up to 2005. DRC also runs a primary health care programme in Vietnam.
French French Red Cross continues to run the ECHO funded disaster management programme in Ho Chi Minh City.
Netherlands Netherlands Red Cross (NRC) has pledged support for the Federation's appeal 2003. Contributions have been made to VNRC's capacity building and social work capacity building programmes in four provinces (Nhe Anh, Ha Tinh, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan). NRC also supports the organisational development programme (through the Federation), and half the capacity building delegate's costs. Through an ECHO funded project, NRC provided 5,000 household kits to three Mekong Delta provinces in Long An, Dong Thap and An Giang; 2,000 household kits to Ha Giang, Lam Dong, Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces; and 500 livelihood packages to Nghe An and Ha Tinh.
Norwegian Norwegian Red Cross has actively been cooperating with VNRC in branch development and disaster preparedness activities since 1998.
Spanish The Spanish Red Cross supports branch development and strengthening of the Red Cross in three provinces - Ha Nam, Ha Tay, and Hoa Binh. One of its priorities has been training Red Cross staff and volunteers in disaster preparedness.
Swiss The Swiss Red Cross continues to operate a hous