Reflections on the Launch of CARE International in Vietnam’s Program Priorities Towards 2020

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On 30 January at Saigon Hotel, in a cosy and friendly environment, CARE International in Vietnam held the launch ceremony to introduce their program statement in the next 5 years and their new country director.

CARE International is a leading humanitarian organization working for global poverty reduction and social justice by empowering women and girls. CARE International worked in Vietnam from 1954 to 1975 to address immediate needs, by supporting local food supply, health care and education. CARE returned to Vietnam in 1989. Since then, CARE in Vietnam has worked in almost all of Vietnam's 64 provinces and cities, providing more than 200 development projects. CARE in Vietnam has supported agricultural and rural development, livelihood creation, community development, health care and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention and control, disaster risk reduction and mitigation, climate change response, emergency relief and rehabilitation, water sanitation, and the advancement of gender equality.

In their program statement towards 2020, CARE commits to support remote ethnic minority women and socially marginalized people in urban settings. The second beneficiary group, which is considered as a bold step of CARE by a number of representatives from non-profit organizations (NPOs), includes sex workers, female migrants, who use drugs, people living with HIV, and gender and sexual minorities. CARE aims to help the two beneficiary groups to have a legitimate and respected voice and be fairly represented in society, to benefit equitable from sustainable development and to have improved resilience to change and crises.

Regarding working approaches, CARE is going to engage men and boys in gender equality; develop partnerships with a range of actors, from civil society, government and the private sector; advocate for change via open dialogues with a broad range of partners; and measure their projects' impacts through rigorous monitoring and evaluation.

During the discussion section many organizations, among which People's Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM), an organ of Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations, expressed their appreciation and commitment to support CARE in the next five years. Participating NPOs also gave useful comments: in terms of awareness education, CARE should bring gender equality related programs into schools to educate both boys and girls; in terms of programs for sex workers, it is necessary to pay attention to not only changing awareness and behavior of the beneficiaries, but also changing attitude of community members towards sex workers.

At the ceremony, CARE also exhibited their program materials such as the tool kit of consequences of gender-based violence; guidelines for leaders of ethnic minority groups of gender-based violence; training manual on gender equality; community-based approaches of mangrove management, disaster risk reduction and adaption to climate change; case study of the project "Where the rain falls: Climate Change, Food and Livelihood Security, and Migration"; CARE handbook of Green Action; handbook "Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaption"; handbook "Analysis of climate vulnerability and capacity" and other related documents. Please go to www.care.org.au/vietnam and www.careclimatechange.org to download those materials (in English) or contact LIN team (via +84 (8) 35120092) for hard copies (in English and Vietnamese).