Rutgers WPF Vietnam

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Rutgers WPF Vietnam

The story of a field office 1995-2013

“We want to realise sexual rights for young people, particularly those of marginalised groups, by applying new technologies in sexuality education programmes. We are working to enable a society where young people can enjoy a healthy, safe and happy sexual life.� Mission of Rutgers WPF Vietnam


Rutgers WPF Vietnam Rutgers WPF Vietnam has been promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights activities in the country since 1995. In 2000, Rutgers WPF opened its own country office in Hanoi from which programmes and activities were coordinated with partner organisations across Vietnam. After thirteen years of operation, Rutgers WPF transferred its activities to its Vietnamese partner organisations and closed the office in April 2013. Rutgers WPF Headquarters in the Netherlands remains available as resource for partner organisations.

We are proud of what has been achieved! In 2013 we closed the office of Rutgers WPF Vietnam. It was a decision that did not come easy. Over our thirteen years in Vietnam, Rutgers WPF proved to have a positive impact on the lives of many people in this amazing country. Together with our partners we developed highly successful sexual health education programmes for different groups of people. Students in secondary schools, young people in re-education schools, hearing impaired and deaf children and women in rural areas, amongst others, were all able to improve their health and learned how to prevent violence and abuse.

people and increase impact remains a challenge, at least having achieved sustainability for these key activities is a great success.

In the last few years the Sexual Rights Alliance was established in Vietnam with Rutgers WPF’s support. This Alliance brings together different Vietnamese organisations that – each with its own expertise – are concerned with promoting sexual rights and the empowerment of sexual minorities. Together these organisations have great expertise and a diverse network within Vietnamese society to safeguard and promote sexual and reproductive health and rights.

At Rutgers WPF we continue to support and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights of those most in need in other parts of the world. Some of our programmes already run in twelve countries. Our results in Vietnam show how successful these can be!

Over the past decades Vietnam achieved such economic growth that international donors no longer provide financial support. Economic growth does however not automatically translate in more attention and resources for basic sexual and reproductive health and rights. We have confidence the Vietnamese Sexual Health Alliance will continue to address these and are ready to support them.

There is also support from the side of the Vietnamese government. In Da Nang the regional government is now supporting the comprehensive sexuality education programmes in Teacher Training colleges and secondary schools. Every year over 20,000 students learn about their bodies, their health rights and how to respect limits. While scaling up the programmes to reach more

Dianda Veldman General director of Rutgers WPF since 2007


All the projects of Rutgers WPF in Vietnam 1999 - 2013

EC/UNFPA Initiative for Adolescent Reproductive Health (1999 – 2005) Woman and youth on the countryside

Coordination and technical support for youth friendly Reproductive Health services and counselling

Ten thousands of people who visited the consultation hours in clinics, education and counselling

Use of interactive theatre to educate on sexual and reproductive health

300,000 young people

DISPLAY (2001- 2007) Young people and their communities in the countryside

exuality and Reproductive Health Education for Children in Especially Difficult S Circumstances (2001 – 2004) Phase 1 Young people who came into contact with law enforcement + street children

SRH Teaching materials Training of teachers

Health Services Initiative in Four Re-Education Schools for Adolescents in Conflict with the Law (2004 – 2006) Phase 2 Young people who came into contact with law enforcement + street children

Improving health care systems

Breakthrough (2007 – 2010) Phase 3 Young people who came into contact with law enforcement + street children

Since 2003 the SRH teaching materials are integrated in the curriculum of 4 re-education schools in Vietnam + in KOTO (Vocational training centre for street children in Hanoi) + Each year: 2000 youngsters + The project benefitted already more than 15,500 youth and 400 members of staff

Improvement of hygienic circumstances + Workshops ‘Skills for Life’ and counselling

Talk about sex with your hands (2005 – 2008) Hearing impaired youth

Teacher training, Developing of a sign glossary on sexuality + Materials for students

The program impacts the 700 youth studying in the three initial schools, and has the potential to benefit all of Vietnam’s 500,000 hearing impaired youth and eventually replicate to other (Asian) countries


Name of the program Target group Activity Results

Dance4life (2006 – 2012) Youth

Dance and Visual Art activities about awareness HIV AIDS

23,000 youth in-school

Hanoi Preventing gender-based violence with men (2010 – 2011) Men

Training, developing of materials

105 men in 7 villages + the entire population of these villages

Equipped for Life (2008 – present) (future) teachers

Teacher training

Every year 300 future teachers

The Teenage World (2010 – present) Students of Secondary schools

Teaching materials, (computer based)

Every year 20,000 students in de Da Nang region

Sexual Rights Alliance (2011 – present) 5 NGO’s about sexual rights

Capacity building, organisation building


A contact point in Vietnam for all questions about sexuality + a centre for implementing activities on Sexual Health Day and IDAHO (International Day against Homophobia)

The start

At the end of the last century pregnant women in rural areas were still treated the same as other, non-pregnant women. They had to work on the fields and did not go for regular health checks. As a result women in rural areas died younger as those in cities.

DISPLAY (Discovering Sexuality and Reproductive Health by Plays) In rural areas norms and values tend to be more conservative compared to the cities in Vietnam. Being close to the family means there is strong social pressure. In the Vietnamese culture, the norm is to marry once you are grown up. Several months after the wedding, people begin to ask when the first baby is expected. Vietnamese couples generally feel obliged to have children and preferably a son.

From 1999 onwards, Rutgers WPF executed several projects under the EC/UNFPA Initiative for Adolescent Reproductive Health in Vietnam and provided technical support for seven projects run by mass organisations and local NGOs. The project introduced and ran youth-friendly reproductive health services, education and counselling in several provinces. Within this Initiave, Rutgers WPF collaborated closely with the Vietnamese Centre for Reproductive and Family Health (RaFH), the first NGO working on sexual and reproductive health in Vietnam. The project was very successful in attracting adolescents and other young members of communities in Nghi Loc district (Nghe An province). The use of interactive theatre was key to this success. It was the first time Reproductive Health Services for adolescents were initiated and eventually accepted.

How interactive theatre works A performance of an interactive theatre troupe is always associated with a specific theme (e.g. ‘safer sex’). In the hours before the performance, the actors will walk around the village inviting people to join the theatre play that evening. After a warming up activity with the audience, actors then ask the public some questions. With these responses the actors fill in the semiscripted play. The actors always use names and characters from the audience to add playfulness and incite hilarity. At the play’s peak the scene is frozen and a temporary pause is taken. Here the main character has to make a decision (e.g. whether or not to have sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend). The audience is then invited to offer solutions and/or come onto the stage to act the scene out. To guide this dialogue actors have been trained to possess extensive knowledge on the topics. This way they are able to quickly anticipate on the discussions and explain issues clearly. Once all points of view have been presented during the interactive audience session, the actors work towards a conclusion of the theatre piece. The event ends with a final farewell from the actors to the audience – who in many cases have become good friends.


RESULTS Since 2001, by employing interactive theatre this project has improved the knowledge and skills related to sexuality issues for 300,000 (mostly young) people in Vietnam.

“It is also a kind of magic for the audience. First they told us about their lives, we make a story of that and the audience see the performance as their story. The effect is that they really want to know how the story ends, or at least possibly can end. The audience was so enthusiastic to participate; we often needed three people in the audience to do crowd control!” “The subjects that prompted the most discussion were: ‘Sex before marriage or not’ and ‘sexual abuse and harassment’. The audience did not believe it possible for sexual abuse to exist within a family. For them, only strangers can do that. But we introduced some cases where sexual harassment occurred within families and between relatives. That raised a lot of discussion amongst audience members. Also the topic about homosexuality prompted a lot of discussion. That was, at that time, a very new issue. Many people thought that homosexuality was a disease and a social evil and had not considered it a sexual orientation in the way we presented it.” Mr Cao Dinh Tinh Trainer of the interactive method and former member of interactive theatre troupe from 2006- 2009


Re-education schools + Know One Teach One

(a vocational training centre for street children) Vietnam has a population of around 83 million people, of which adolescents and youth account for more than one third. About 3 million children in various age groups are considered ‘children in especially difficult circumstances’ (CEDC - MOLISA, 19991). The numbers of children in especially difficult circumstances has accelerated in the last decade due to complex social factors including: large family size, families with a criminal background, increase in divorces, drug- or alcohol addicted parents, weakening of the community support systems, inadequate social services and limited educational opportunities. Rutgers WPF worked with re-education schools where most children have not attended school for a long time and lack basic social protections. Their needs relate to the areas of sexual and reproductive health education, healthcare, counselling and skills to successfully reintegrate into society.

Sexuality and Reproductive Health Education for Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances From 2001-2004, in partnership with the National Institutes of Education Science and The Ministry of Public Security, Rutgers WPF developed a comprehensive sexuality training package for children in especially difficult circumstances at the four national re-education schools and at Know One Teach One (KOTO) – a vocational training centre in Hanoi for street children.

Rutgers WPF was the first NGO in Vietnam to work with the four national re-education schools for children in conflict with the law. Part of the project aimed to strengthen and enhance the capacity and sustainability of the existing healthcare system in reform schools so that it could continue to provide high quality healthcare for the students well in the future.

The training package consists of three distinct products: a teachers’ manual, a students’ text book and a teacher’s reference book. These educational materials cover a wide range of topics including: puberty, friendship, love, relationships with parents, sexual orientation, sexual harassment and abuse, drug abuse, STIs (Sexual Transmitted Infections) and HIV, and life skills. In this case life skills consisted of value clarification, refusal skills, negotiation skills, planning skills, sexual pleasure, and sexual and reproductive health care.

Specifically, the project enhanced the knowledge and skills of health staff through training courses and coaching. This ensured that students could access more comprehensive care, treatment and information. Students’ emotional well-being was also improved through counselling. In special designated spaces, skilled counsellors prepared students for their return into Vietnamese community life. Additionally, students attended vocational training courses, life skills classes and sexual and reproductive health education, which were considered as valuable ‘assets’ in preparing them to return home.

The project also provided for the improvement of facilities such as ensuring a clean water supply, building a small policlinic, supplying items for a new library, providing materials for vocational training and storage rooms for sportswear. 1

Children in especially difficult circumstances are children living in circumstances of exploitation, abuse and neglect, armed conflict or other disasters.


RESULTS As of 2003, sexuality education became an official subject introduced into the curricula of the four re-education schools and that of KOTO. After three years of implementation, the project directly benefited 15,500 students and indirectly benefited more than 400 educational managers, teachers and health staff.

“I liked the lessons on Sexual and Reproductive Health very much! They are about yourself, how to stay healthy and how you can prevent sexually transmitted diseases.”

Nguyen Van Nen 16 year old student

“The training package, especially the students’ textbooks, has been greatly appreciated and used by youth, NGOs and other educational institutes in their sexuality education programmes. In 2005 this training package was adapted and transformed into a digital training package called ‘The World Starts with Me’ by Rutgers WPF. After these changes, these training materials have been used in Kenya, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.” Ms Tran Thi Kim Ly Country Representative Rutgers WPF Vietnam

“Thanks to Rutgers WPF we also have a counselling room where coaches can talk with students about their private lives and answer all their questions on sexuality. The coaches are teachers who have received a special training from Rutgers WPF. In the training we learned to develop a whole new relationship between teachers and pupils. We learned new ways to reach the students - how we can really connect with them. As a result, the students trust the teachers much more. We are very happy with this coaching model and other institutions have begun to copy it from us. Together with the lessons on sexual health, we can better prevent sexually transmitted diseases.” Mr Tran Ba Luan Head of the re-education school no.2 in Ninh Binh


Talk about sex with your hands At one time, Carin van de Hor, former Country Representative of Rutgers WPF Vietnam, saw a sex worker using her hands to communicate with a client. In order to understand the challenges of that girl, as well as other hearing-impaired people confronting issues of sexuality in their daily lives, Carin and her colleagues began a project for this particular group. They found that no sign language about sexuality existed. In collaboration with the Xa Dan Secondary School in Hanoi, Rutgers WPF developed sexuality education for hearing-impaired students.

This project developed a training package for hearing-impaired youth on sexuality education. The training package included a glossary of sign language on sexuality issues, and an accompanying teachers’ manual, the first ever produced in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Teachers received training and used the training package materials to teach hearing-impaired youth about sexuality. The training package, especially the sign language glossary with 500 words on sexuality topics, was greatly appreciated by

students, teachers, parents and experts alike. As a result, hearingimpaired youth are able to confidently communicate their needs, concerns and emotion with their friends, teachers and parents. This helps the hearing-impaired youth realise their rights to access information, the right to express oneself, the right to self-protection and the right to be protected – all important fundamental human rights for this group of young people.

RESULTS ‘Talk about sex with your hands’ won the World Bank’s Global Development Award in 2007. Annually the project reached approximately 200 hearing-impaired students in Xa Dan School. The final project evaluation in 2009 acknowledged the success of the project model and recommended its duplication for hearing-impaired people in other areas of the country as well as expanding it to other schools and groups of disabled youth.

“Deaf youth students have more difficulties in accessing good information and knowledge than students who are not hearing-impaired. For example, some of the students wonder if their sexual organs have the same functions as people who are not deaf. Or if there is any abnormality regarding their sexual and reproductive health associated with their hearing impairment. In many cases, students want to ask their family about this topic, but they don’t have a glossary, don’t know how to use body language to express what they want to say, so they get stuck and only keep these questions to themselves.” Mr Do Minh Tien Teacher at Xa Dan Secondary School, Hanoi


“For hearing-impaired youth like us, sexual and reproductive health is a very important issue and I have a lot of questions that I don’t know the answers to. I want to ask my mother, but sometimes it is difficult to communicate with her. For example, before I become a mother myself, I wanted to ask about changes in my body, how a mother feeds and takes care of the baby, etc. Later when I have a baby I don’t know how to call the baby or communicate with her. I’m very confused about it and worried.” Le Hong Anh 19 year old deaf student at Xa Dan Secondary School, Hanoi

“The project is very suitable and useful to the physical development of the students. There have been remarkable changes in our students. They can now take care of their health themselves and have informed opinions about friendship and love. They also feel confident to communicate with other people.” Ms Cao Thi Lan Huong Deputy Head of Xa Dan Secondary School, Hanoi

‘Unwanted pregnancy’

‘Being alone’


Dance4life “Before I entered the project I had heard many stories of people who had contracted HIV, but I never had a chance to directly interact with them. Back then, I was terrified of the disease and if I had been given an opportunity to meet a person living with HIV I would have declined the offer.” Tinh Promoter for Dance4Life, Hanoi

Dance4life is a dynamic international initiative, which actively involves and empowers young people across the globe to push back the spread of HIV and the stigma and taboos that surround it. Through Dance4life young people receive the information and tools needed to make healthy choices for themselves and lead others in doing the same. The project inspires youth to be agents of change by being involved in and actively contribute to HIV prevention through the Dance4life dance competition, drawing contests and fundraising activities. As an international programme, Dance4life helps young people to connect with youth all over the world to create a global HIV prevention movement. Through Dance4life, young people: • • • •

Learn the facts about HIV prevention and transmission. Meet face-to-face with young people living with HIV and learn about their difficulties. Learn and practice life skills. And Organise activities to raise funds or advocate against the stigma and taboos surrounding HIV and AIDS to their peers and family or in their communities.

Dance4life celebrates their achievements with young people in Vietnam and around the world to make a visible statement to world leaders to keep their promise in regards to Millennium Development Goal 6: To reverse the spread of HIV by 2015 and to provide universal access to HIV treatment for those who need it by 2010. Young people in Vietnam love Dance4life. The programme attracts youth by utilising famous Vietnamese actors and musicians like Xuan Bac, Thanh Bigtoe, Tu Long and Ha Le as brand ambassadors. Dance4life is a rapidly expanding international movement. Twenty-five countries are involved including: Barbados, Cameroon, Germany, Ibiza, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, UK, USA, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


RESULTS Dance4life Vietnam was coordinated for six years by Rutgers WPF Vietnam. As of April 2012, Dance4life Vietnam had: • Reached over 23,000 school pupils with information and skills to become actively involved in pushing back HIV. • Organised five art contests and exhibitions in Hanoi and showcased 500 of the most creative and meaningful art pieces. • Organised Dance4life Vietnam events in 2006, 2008 and 2010 that had more than 4,000 Vietnamese youth dancing together with their peers in 15 countries across the globe in order to celebrate their achievements and make a statement to national and international leaders to keep their MDG promises. • Supported 6,000 young people to become agents of change.

“After I became a part of Dance4life, after acquiring insight into this disease, meeting some of the HIV infected persons and hearing their stories, I was deeply moved. I found these people to be very sociable and out-going. In the end, I found myself living with HIV positive people in better harmony.” Tinh Promoter for Dance4life, Hanoi

“Dance4life is a good example of Rutgers WPF’s innovative way of working. It is a big event that moves a lot of people. It is international and capitalises on the media and celebrity in an innovative way.” Ms Nguyen Thi Bich Tam Vice-director CECEM - Centre for Community Empowerment, Hanoi


Preventing gender-based violence with men The gender roles between men and women in Vietnam are very traditional, especially in rural areas. Men are considered to be superior and married women leave their own family to be part of their husband’s. In Vietnam, land is inherited only through sons. These traditions make women dependent on men within the family structure. The unequal power balance invites gender based violence against women.

A cooking contest for men as a part of the project on gender issues

“With what I learned in the project I can help my friends and neighbours. These skills are crucial to deal with relationships. I have shared the anger management skills that I learned from the project with my friends and relatives. We practiced in our daily lives, and I was impressed how effective it is.” A club member in Nghi Hoa commune

From 2010 - 2011 Rutgers WPF, in cooperation with the Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP), conducted a project on gender-based violence prevention, which focused on young men in Cua Lo Town, Nghe An Province. One of the main products was the ‘Male Counselling Manual on Gender Based Violence’ to help the facilitators of men’s clubs to carry out communications sessions on gender and domestic violence for men in their community. The content of the manual, was prepared with careful consideration of local culture, habits and context. In Cua Lo, alcohol abuse is one of the biggest causes of domestic violence. In these clubs a focus on alcohol abuse, anger management and skills to cope with peer pressure was very much appreciated. To increase public awareness about gender-based violence, the project organised a series of cheerful community-based campaigns and activities such as ‘Elegant Men Contests,’ ‘Football Championship’ and a ‘Public March’ that attracted the attention and active participation of thousands of people and the media.

RESULTS “I observe positive changes in my husband’s behaviours and attitudes after having participated in the club ‘New Era Men’. His bad-temper has been controlled. He is now gentler towards me, our child, relatives and friends. I feel that he understands me better and listens to me…” A woman quoted from the 2010 Project Final Evaluation Report

Young mens’ clubs were established in seven communes, which attracted 105 members that underwent eleven sessions guided by a club manual developed by Rutgers WPF and CCIHP experts. These clubs were led by local Youth Union facilitators and covered topics like gender equality, emotional control and relationships. Additionally, a counselling corner was established in each commune where club members and other young people could come to discuss specific issues or questions with trained professionals.


Equipped for Life + The Teenage World

“Vietnam is one of the first places on the list of countries that appears when searching the Internet for the word ‘sex’ and this often leads searchers to pornography sites.” Dr Le Quang Son Vice Rector of Da Nang University of Education

Implementing Sexuality and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Curriculum of Da Nang University of Education From 2007-2010, Rutgers WPF and Da Nang University of Education (DUE) collaborated in a project to develop the capacity of future senior and junior secondary school teachers in the delivery of sexuality education. “I remember that one girl found on an Internet search that you could prevent pregnancy by washing your vagina with Coca Cola after having sex. She was not sure if this was a good advice and was insecure to ask friends or the teacher.” Dung 2nd year student at Da Nang University of Education

The project developed a computer-based training package on sexuality, which was introduced as a sexuality education subject in the training curriculum of DUE in 2009. Through this project, lecturers and students can undergo an online study and share their ideas and concerns via a popular website on sexuality education. Some awareness items on this project website have been visited more than one million times in the first years! The training package consists of ten lessons covering topics such as the emotional and physical changes associated with puberty, relationships, sexual harassment and abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally training materials cover


negotiating and planning skills. Two digital personas – matched to the ages of the users – guide learners through the topics in a fun and interactive manner. Using these digital personas has proven effective for young people to identify themselves with and feel comfortable. With just one click, young people can access pictures, drawings, games and presentations about a range of sexuality issues. The combination of text, images and sound helps students to learn quickly and effectively. Furthermore, the project focuses on the development of teachers’ capacity via training courses on sexuality, life skills and participatory teaching methods. This ensures teachers are able to confidently deliver quality sexuality education for students. The project also creates an enabling environment to discuss sexuality issues with educational managers, teachers, parents and youth and to raise public awareness about these issues through meetings, workshops and the media.

“There was often a lack of time in the lessons. We had so many questions and the teacher had too little time to answer all the questions and explain everything we wanted to know. Often we went to the teacher after the lesson to continue asking our questions and we talked more about sexual and reproductive health issues with our friends.” Dung Female 2nd year student at Teacher’s college of Da Nang University of Education

RESULTS Annually about 300 DUE pedagogic students – those training to be future teachers – were equipped with the knowledge and skills to teach sexuality under this programme. The pedagogic students were extremely excited about the creative teaching methods and activities associated with the sexuality education subject area. The training was deemed not only useful for pedagogic students’ future careers, but also taught skills that can benefit their personal lives at any stage.

“In this method we use more active forms of teaching and we involve the students. It is much more participatory. For example, teachers used to read their lectures to the students. And thanks to this programme, we use a variety of teaching forms. Once teachers have experienced these other teaching forms, they then also use more participatory approaches in their other subjects!” Mr Pham Dinh Kha Coordinator of the SRH programme in the secondary schools, Department of Education and Training, Da Nang) (DOET)

Equipped for Life/Teenage world for Secondary Schools ‘Empowering adolescents to make healthy choices in their sexual lives’ is one of the most creative projects initiated and implemented by Rutgers WPF, Da Nang University of Education (DUE) and Da Nang Department of Education and Training (DOET). The project targeted approximately 20,000 students in secondary schools in the Da Nang city. Key was the development of two computer-based training packages on sexuality and life skills. ‘The Teenage World’ was developed for Grade 6 students (12-13 years old) while ‘Equiped for Life’ was created for Grade 10


“When I saw how you organised the training of the teachers, the methods you used and the way you inspired the teachers, I was convinced to begin with this project. You not only provide them with knowledge, but also gave them the right attitude to carry out the method. That was the moment I was totally convinced.” Mr Ngyen Minh Hung Deputy Director of the Department of Education and Training of Da Nang City who is responsible for the implementation of the SRH program

students (16-17 years old) based on the ‘World Starts With Me’ programme. Rutgers WPF has successfully implemented ‘The World Starts With Me’ in over ten countries worldwide including in Thailand, Indonesia and Uganda. Young people and teachers appreciated the use of computers in these teaching programmes as it makes the lessons more attractive and lively.

RESULTS This programme received accolades from students, parents, teachers, school managers and local authorities. Thanks to the efforts of the Department of Education and Training, the programme reached students from 60 out of 74 total secondary schools in the province. In 2013 Da Nang People’s Committee adopted the programme for use as part of the future curricula of all the secondary schools. This way the programme will reach more than 20,000 pupils every year. In particular, this project demonstrates successful programme scale-up and sustainability!

“I don’t think there’s any difficult topic in the sexual and reproductive health material. Many people think that it’s the students who are too shy to learn the topic, but in fact, the problem comes from the teacher first. If the teachers use the right methods and have the proper attitude, then the students never feel shy.” Mr Vo Truong Son Teacher at Phan Thanh Tai Secondary School, Da Nang

“At the beginning, I was not that interested, but then my teacher talked about her life and how she had an unplanned pregnancy. I felt so close to her. I learned from the lessons that we have to take care of ourselves, and how to play it safe in order to protect myself. Also, I learned how to deal with difficult situations. I feel much more confident now.” Do Thuy Trang 17 year old student at Phan Thanh Tai Secondary School, Da Nang


Sexual Rights Alliance

In 2009, Rutgers WPF Vietnam launched a capacity development programme for Vietnamese civil society organisations working on sexual health issues. The main objective of this programme was to determine how six organisations could jointly achieve a greater impact in the field of sexual and reproductive health. The six organisations are: • • • • • •

Institute for Development and Community Health (Light) Research Centre for Gender, Family and Environment Development (CGFED) Institution for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (ISEE) Research Centre for Family Health and Community (CEFACOM) Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP) Rutgers WPF Vietnam (until April 2013)

Organisational development The programme offered tailor-made training and coaching for individual organisations. The training and coaching included assistance with strategic planning, organisational branding, organisational monitoring and evaluation, human resource management, intervention mapping and social marketing. As a result, the involved organisations’ capacity to serve clients and target groups has been significantly improved whilst organisational identities have been strengthened and clearly defined.

Effective collaboration To create the alliance additional workshops were held to strengthen effective collaboration through a network structure that focuses on sexual rights. A series of workshops and events to celebrate World Sexual Health Day on September 4, 2011 drew considerable attention from policy makers, youth, international and national civil society organisations and the media. The project also offered opportunities for all partners to participate in Regional Learning Forums in 2011 and 2012. These Regional Learning Forums were carried out in Pakistan and Indonesia as well as Vietnam. Here attendees could learn from like-minded organisations from all three countries, and develop strong networks.


The six participating Vietnamese organisations established the Sexual Rights Alliance in 2011 with the objective of advocating for a favourable environment for the realisation of sexual rights for all.

Sexual rights for disabled people On the Sexual Health Day 2012 the Sexual Rights Alliance organised a flashmob called Dance 4 Love for disabled persons. This flash-mob provided a platform where people with disabilities could gather to dance and speak out about their sexual rights. This event was entirely new for Vietnam. In total about 500 disabled persons and their friends joined in, which garnered a lot of media attention across several provinces. The people who participated were really proud to join together to proclaim their sexual rights. “Although we are disabled, we can also dance, also love and also have the same rights!” the crowd cheered.

RESULTS The Sexual Rights Alliance is now the central point of contact in Vietnam for all questions relating to sexuality. Furthermore, the Sexual Rights Alliance actively develops new sexual health and rights initiatives.

“For the first time in Vietnam a series of activities were organised for groups of ethnic minorities, disabled persons, students, LGBTs and migrant workers to celebrate the World Sexual Health Day in September 2011. The Alliance is a pioneer in incorporating the different voices of youth from varied groups about their sexual rights. This is achieved through creative and artistic activities such as flash-mobs, video clips, exhibitions, etc. These events drew considerable support and attention from the intended target groups, the public, the media and relevant governmental agencies and NGOs.” Ms Tran Thi Kim Ly Country Representative Rutgers WPF Vietnam, Hanoi

“It takes too long to wait for the government to change things. So we have to do it! For instance we can changes things by presenting the results of research we conduct. So we presented research that proved that violence against LGBT youth (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) occurs in Vietnamese schools. By proving this, we hope it will change the environment in schools. You need examples, and ambassadors who dare to talk about these examples, to change things.” Ms Quach Thu Trang Senior Researcher at Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP), Hanoi


“I am very glad that we participated in this programme. Our organisation functions much better now!”

Ms Luong Minh Ngoc Public Education Program Manager, Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (ISEE), Hanoi

Our reputation according to our partners

In Vietnam, Rutgers WPF worked together with: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

People Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM) Centre for Reproductive and Family Health (RaFH) Central Vietnamese Youth Union (YU) and several provincial YU Vietnam Stage Actors Association (VSAA) The National Institute of Education Science (Ministry of Education and Training) Ministry of Public Security (V26:Management branch for education centres and juvenile justice schools) Ministry of Public Security (H 17:Health Department) Xa Dan School for hearing impaired youth in Hanoi Da Nang University of Education (DUE) Da Nang Department of Education and Training (DOET) Know One Teach One (KOTO) United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and The Sexual Rights Alliance

In their own words, what our partners have to say about Rutgers WPF “I learned a lot from my work with Rutgers WPF. I learned about the way you work, how to implement a project and new methodologies and ideas from the field of capacity building. It was inspiring to work with the Dutch experts. They were serious, but also had humour. They were approachable and reasonable and not authoritarian.” Dr Le Quang Son Vice Rector of Da Nang University of Education


“The organisation Rutgers WPF is nice. It has a good management. It works much more transparently than other organisations. It is easy to discuss everything with them and they listen! They do not act like they are superior to you like some other donors!”

Ms Nguyen Thi Hoai Duc Director at the Institute for Reproductive and Family Health (RaFH), Hanoi

“I am very impressed by the work of Rutgers WPF, particularly in how they provided new and creative ways to spread knowledge. Their use of methods for reaching specific target groups, selecting areas to focus on, and even in naming projects is very creative. I have appreciated the way Rutgers WPF has managed partnerships and participated in partnerships. Rutgers WPF provides a good environment for partners, developing projects together to build local ownership from the beginning. You don’t see that very often in the world of NGOs!” Ms Nguyen Thi Bich Tam Vice-director CECEM - Centre for Community Empowerment, Hanoi

“Rutgers WPF is dynamic, flexible, open for cultural adaptation, creative and innovative. For instance, they used flash mobs with Dance4life to attract young people and grassroots, interactive theatre in communities. They have introduced new learning concepts in Vietnam with participatory education. Rutgers WPF was the first to organise peer groups and peer-to-peer learning in Vietnam. Besides that, Rutgers WPF also has a good strategic vision. The organisational planning is very clear, along with mid-term and long-term goals. Rutgers WPF produced high-quality and clear publications.” Mr Duong Van Dat Sexual and Reproductive Health Team Leader at UNFPA, Hanoi


About Rutgers WPF Rutgers WPF is a renowned centre of expertise on sexual and reproductive health and rights, working in the Netherlands, Africa and Asia. Our aim is to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout the world. Rutgers WPF is not afraid to talk about sexuality, including sensitive themes. We support partner organisations and professionals in their work, increasing their expertise on sexuality.

Clear and reliable information Sexuality and relationships are important aspects of everyone’s lives. Good sexual and reproductive health positively affects people’s wellbeing. Clear and reliable information on sexuality is vital in helping people to make informed decisions.

opportunities and taboos. Following a rights-based approach Rutgers WPF always works in close partnership with local organisations. Rutgers WPF evolved in 2011 from the merger of the Rutgers Nisso Groep, Dutch expert centre on sexuality, and the World Population Foundation (WPF). Rutgers WPF is a member of IPPF, the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

A rights-based approach In many countries sexual and reproductive rights are not respected. Sexual and reproductive health is strongly linked with poverty, lack of knowledge and services, and unequal


© All rights reserved Rutgers WPF, Utrecht, June 2014 Text:

Aik Meeuse in cooperation with Rutgers WPF Vietnam


Editing NL/Lisa Rebert

Photography: Matt Dworzanczyk, Aik Meeuse, Johannes Odé. All rights Rutgers WPF Design:

Raffaele Teo,

See also the video I feel much more confident (2013) with highlights of the activities of Rutgers WPF in Vietnam:


Rutgers WPF Utrecht, The Netherlands


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