This 2009-10 support plan inherits the approaches from the planning for 2008-2009 but scales down some activities so that they are more aligned with the pace of development of the organizational and personnel capacity of Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) to implement this programme along with other initiatives of in-country partners as well as other national society priorities.
Activities around disaster planning, organizational preparedness, community preparedness, disaster response, avian influenza preparedness and awareness raising, community-based first aid and organizational development remain the focus. Volunteering and capacity building in monitoring and evaluation, being cross-cutting issues, will be integrated into
overall disaster management, and health and care programming. Approaches to promotion of the Fundamental Principles and the implications in Red Cross activities will be explored more in dialogue with the VNRC leadership and its board members.
The Vietnam Red Cross Activities Law that was adopted in June 2008 will have implications on the way the national society works and its 2006-10 operational plan. These are also reflected in the changed nuances of this secretariat support plan.
The Federation and ICRC have begun a dialogue with VNRC leadership on the International Conference Resolutions and their implications for the national society. This will be an ongoing process and forms part of the secretariat support.
The total budget for 2009 is CHF 1,004,972 (USD 918,622 or EUR 640,110) and for 2010 is CHF 1,004,972 (USD 918,622 or EUR 640,110).
The overall number of people who will directly benefit from this plan over 2009-2010 is some 378,000. Indirect beneficiaries numbers approximately nine million, particularly with regards to avian influenza prevention.
Vietnam is one of the most disaster-prone countries in Southeast Asia and is in the frontline of those countries facing the consequence of climate change with possible rising sea levels and relocation of communities. Early in 2008, lengthy cold weather, unprecedented in 30 years, had far-reaching effects on many populations. Hectares of paddy fields numbering in the hundreds of thousands were wiped out in 16 provinces including the typhoon Lekima typhoon-hit provinces. Many parts of the population in the Northern provinces are likely to face rice shortages, and rice prices have increased because of the scarcity. The government slowed the export of rice to curb rising prices in the domestic market.
The severe weather also affected livelihoods. Many thousands of livestock in the northern and northern central provinces died because of the cold. The livelihood picture became gloomier with an outbreak of 'blue ear' disease, which killed thousands of pigs (source: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development). This fuelled increases in food/foodstuff prices. By April in 2008, Vietnam had experienced three acute diarrhoea outbreaks, which affected about 4,000 people, of whom some 1,800 were hospitalized with cholera (source: the Labour newspaper). Unsafe food and poor hygiene were identified as the cause. The government intervened strongly through the dissemination of information on the dangers of poor hygiene, and close monitoring of measures helped to curb the spread. However, the health ministry warned that acute diarrhoea was still a risk. During the first school semester of 2008, about 147,000 of 16 million students nationwide quit schooling, accounting for just under one per cent (source: Ministry of Training and Education). Reasons varied from the economic situation of households, a desire to enter the labour force early or disillusionment with school. During the first half of the year, avian influenza was reported in 12 provinces. The reports led to the culling of 26,000 poultry to prevent the outbreak from spreading. World Heath Organization figures (late May 2008) showed five cases of avian/human influenza in 2008 - all fatal - compared to 61 cases, 19 fatal, in 2005, the worst year. The government estimates that about 13 million people (one-sixth of the population) were affected by rocketing prices through 2008. In addition, another 13 million were living in poverty, and an additional 10 million are close to the poverty line (source: Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs). The government revised its estimates for economic growth for 2008 from nine per cent to seven per cent.
National Society priorities and current work with partners
The VNRC's new leadership aims to strengthen Red Cross capacity at all levels, including human resources at district and commune levels where limited capacity exists. The issue of a long-term human resource policy was initiated at the VNRC executive board meeting in July 2008.
VNRC seeks to build more resilient communities to cope with disasters and health emergencies. Key partners in disaster preparedness include Red Cross staff and volunteers at the local level and communities prone to disaster, particularly schoolchildren, teachers and low-income households.
The national society leadership wants to strengthen cooperation with the International Federation and other components of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. VNRC requests the support of the secretariat to improve and expand its cooperation with other Red Cross members. Much work is still needed to prepare a cooperation agreement strategy (CAS). As such, the VNRC and the Federation's country office's present Memorandum of Understanding has been extended until 2010.
The VNRC is also keen on developing ties with foreign missions and engaging more domestic businesses to explore new forms of partnership.
The national society is the implementer of the proposed programmes. The International Federation supports VNRC and facilitates the adherence to Red Cross principles in all activities. VNRC and the Federation have agreed to look into the financial and narrative reporting practices to identify areas for improvement in order to strengthen implementation and management.
Partner national societies who support the VNRC include the American, French, German, Japanese, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, and Swiss national societies.