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  Social Organizations

Non - Govermental Organisations in Viet Nam

Currently, Viet Nam has relations and cooperation with about 500 International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs), of which close to 350 are active in Viet Nam.

Several have been providing assistance to Viet Nam since the late 1970s and during the 1980s, when development assistance from the West was limited to aid from the UN system, Sweden and Finland. However, the last five years (1995-2000) has seen an annual increase in number of new INGOs active in the country.

Consistent with the Regulations on the Operation of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations in Viet Nam promulgated by the Government of Viet Nam, more than 100 INGOs have staff and offices in Ha Noi and HCMC. All in all, 363 permits have been issued by the Committee for NGO Affairs (239 Permits for Operation, 62 Permits for the Establishment of Project Offices and 42 Permits for the Establishment of Representative Offices); among them, some INGOs have two to three permits. Other INGOs, which have submitted the required documents, could receive the respective permits in the near future. INGOs working in Viet Nam come from North America, Western Europe, as well as from the Asia-Pacific region. Most INGOs operate through agreements signed directly with partner ministries or with People's Committees of the provinces.

Within the Vietnamese administration, coordination of the activities by the international NGOs is the responsibility of the People's Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM). PACCOM was established in June 1989 as specialized body of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), which is the standing agency of the Committee for Foreign NGO Affairs, mandated by the Government to facilitate foreign NGOs' activities, and to coordinate their aid and assistance programmes in Viet Nam. Specifically, PACCOM has been acting as a bridge to link INGOs to appropriate local partners and to facilitate these relationships; it also provides administrative and programmed support as appropriate.

Specifically, PACCOM has been acting as a bridge to link INGOs to appropriate local partners and to facilitate these relationships; it also provides administrative and programme support as appropriate.

  • Share information on, and provide support for a number of activities in the field of development, management, training, and strengthening local institutions;

  • ncrease access to resources for NGO activities, including documentation of experiences in Viet Nam and in the region; and

  • Strengthen the relationship, and enhance the dialogue between the INGO community and the Vietnamese Government, focusing particularly on the role of INGOs within Viet Nam.

Programme Objectives and Priorities in Viet Nam

The comparative advantage of INGOs is that their activities are of a people-to-people nature. They are able to work directly with beneficiaries, and can respond to needs rapidly and flexibly. The diversity of their methods in providing assistance, the range of local counterparts, and their geographic and sectoral focus cannot be generalized easily.

INGO outreach covers all of the provinces of Viet Nam. They work at the provincial, district or and directly at the commune and village levels. Some of the various activities INGOs are currently engaged in include:

  • Health: reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, primary health care, nutrition, etc.

  • Education: pre-school institutions, primary and secondary schools, universities, and vocational training, etc.

  • Women's and children's issues

  • Micro-credit and income generation

  • Disaster preparedness and relief

  • People-to-people development through volunteers

  • Capacity and institution building

Most INGO activities are focused on the one goal of poverty alleviation. Large sector components which concentrate on training and technical expertise in agriculture, forestry, the environment, community development, and integrated rural development also have a poverty alleviation and human resources development focus.

The fact that INGOs in Viet Nam, as in other countries, operate at the grassroots level with a greater involvement of the intended beneficiaries means that their projects have been very successful in fostering ownership and sustainability. Because of their outreach to all provinces, they have also been able to play a role in strengthening the capacity at district and commune level for the provision of public services, and in the monitoring and management of development projects, interventions which are possible due to their flexibility and limited bureaucracy.

- (25/07/2003)

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