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Vietnam: Effectiveness of capacity building for local partners in ISHC replication

In Vietnam, HelpAge’s ISHC model has now become Vietnam government model to respond to rapid ageing, as indicated in the national Plan of Action on Ageing and the national ISHC replication project, as per Decision 1533 of the Prime Minister. There is a growing need for capacity building for local government and Association of the Elderly (AE) in ISHC establishment, operation and management. To meet this need, in 2018, HAIV and national VAE started to implement a 3 year KOICA-SANA partnership project which focuses on providing technical support for local government and AE through piloting standard ISHC model in the target provinces/cities and coaching local partners during the project implementation. 9 provincial/city AEs have been selected to participate in the project.

 

Being one of the 9 selected provincial AEs, Hai Duong AE is very enthusiastic and committed in implementing the project. Seeing the great benefits of the project standards ISHCs, and the necessity of providing proper investment in the ISHCs, just some months after the project start, as advised by HAIV, HDAE started to approach provincial Father Land Front (FF) to explore their Fund for the Poor to support the ISHCs established in non-project communities.. As a result, in 2018, the Provincial FF agreed to fund 24 existing ISHCs each ISHC 5 million VND (217 USD) to buy health and lifelong learning equipment. HDAE was happy with the first step, but HDAE aim to approach the Fund for Poor from FF for more funding for new ISHC replication. To this goal, the AE organized study tours and invited leaders from FF, governmental agencies and mass organizations to attend ISHCs activities such as monthly gathering, volunteer-based homecare & income-generating activities. During the process, they showed FF how ISHCs can help to reduce poverty in a sustainable way and how ISHC can mobilize social capital to help each other’s. After that, they officially requested the FF for the fund. Through the study tours, FF see that where there are ISHCs, people are more confident, more united and have a desire to rise out of poverty. Seeing the great benefits that ISHCs have brought for the poor and disadvantaged, as well as trusting in capacity and commitment of the provincial AE, Hai Duong FF finally decided to support 7 more ISHCs, including 1 special club for the leprosy patient community, with a total budget of 630 million VND ($27,187). Of which, each of the six “normal” clubs received 50 million VND ($2,170) for revolving IGA funds as a start-up fund. Besides, each ISHC also receives necessary health and lifelong learning equipment such as weight scale, blood pressure gauge, whiteboard, wireless microphone set which are worth 5 million VND ($217).

 

For the club for leprosy patients, as they have special health care needs, the total budget raised by AE and FF in partnership with the leprosy hospital is much bigger, 300 million VND ($12,946), of which 75 million ($3,237) for the equipment and facilities and 225 million ($9,709) for the club IGA revolving fund. Being trained by the project the provincial AE is confidently conducted training for this Club Management Board (CMB) by themselves so that they can be able to run and manage their clubs and will provide them with on-going technical support. Through the project, the ISHC model gives the leprosy patients new hopes for life. “We are considering funding more ISHCs in the coming years through HDAE, as we have found that this is a good investment” – said the chair of HDFF.

In addition to this success, the provincial AE, together with provincial Department of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA), also successful in asking the provincial government to provide fund for 39 ISHCs in non-project communities (50 million VND/each). With this, Hai Duong is the first province in the country accessing both the provincial government and FF funding to invest in ISHCs. With all the funding sources, to date, Hai Duong already established 59 ISHCs, of which 11 are fully funded by the KOICA-SANA partnership project and many others are supported technically through training and/or additional training; All the ISHCs have brought significant benefits to the community members.

This fund-raising activity of Hai Duong AE has been documented by the project and shared widely for many provinces. Hopefully, more and more provinces will follow this great initiative of Hai Duong and there will be more ISHCs in the country to bring multiple benefits for older people of today and tomorrow.