Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Success of National Partnership Platform in Vietnam


Aids Alliance

As the Alliance and Health & Development Networks (HDN) continue to work together to transfer some of HDN’s key programmes to the Alliance, we report on the success of their work enhancing national level policy, advocacy and communication efforts through the National Partnership Platform (NPP) initiative. This article focuses on the NPP initiative in Vietnam.

Although it is now widely accepted that governments and civil society must work together to create effective responses to HIV and TB, in many cases civil society lacks the tools to engage meaningfully with policy-makers.

The NPP initiative sets out to address this issue by creating a space at the national level for genuine collaboration of civil society organisations and constructive dialogue between civil society and government bodies. These platforms also serve as hubs for unified advocacy activities and campaigns.

Vietnam has a history of low civil society participation in the national response to HIV and TB. The Vietnam Civil Society Partnership Platform on AIDS (VCSPA) was founded in 2007 by the Institute of Social and Development Studies (ISDS), Bright Future Network (BFN+) and HDN to address this issue.

VCSPA’s aim is to unite Vietnamese civil society to meaningfully and effectively participate in the national response to HIV and TB. Since its inception the coalition has grown rapidly – it now has over 160 members in 38 provinces in Vietnam. Together they have achieved some impressive results.

In 2008 VCSPA played a leading role in the civil society consultation for the UNGASS country-level reporting process. The coalition conducted two country-level civil society consultations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in collaboration with UNAIDS and the Ministry of Health.

This level of involvement contrasts sharply with the UNGASS experience in previous years in Vietnam – in 2006 no civil society organisations took part in the process.

Similarly in capacity building and cross-platform learning, the VCSPA has accomplished a lot in a short time. The platform has trained representatives of 48 grassroots level organisations in computer and internet skills. They have also trained people from 19 groups in proposal writing and resource mobilisation.

The platform has provided two dozen computers to members most in need to support. In early 2009, training on the national AIDS programme and UNGASS benefitted representatives of 140 members.

One of the strengths of the Vietnamese platform is its wide and varied membership, comprising organisations from a diverse range of backgrounds. Its equal representation of vulnerable populations means it is uniquely placed to lead on advocacy work with these populations. One of the platform’s objectives for the coming year is the formation and strengthening of a national drug users’ network.

The platform is also undertaking an assessment on the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of people living with HIV, which is expected to inform the national SRH policy-making process. These projects form part of a clear, common advocacy agenda and the platform is developing a strategy to meet those objectives.

The VCSPA has raised more than US $250,000 so far from sources including UNAIDS, OSI, PACT, UNFPA the Ford Foundation and Irish AID.

Following the closure of HDN, the Alliance will continue to maintain linkages between the NPPs in Vietnam, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Thailand, as well as the three new NPPs which are to be transferred to Alliance linking organisations in Zambia (Partners Zambia), Uganda (Partners Uganda) and Cambodia (Daiku Cambodia).

Read more about the transfer of key HDN programmes to the Alliance.