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CONTENTS

Acronyms

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CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION

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Our Vision Our Mission Our Values Context Analysis Overview of Vietnam’s Civil Society Development/Networks Internal Context Target Groups, Stakeholders and Potential Impacts of the Changing Context

7 7 7 8 9 10 10

CHAPTER II: REVIEW OF THE SECOND STRATEGY

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SRD’s Programme Review (2008 to 2012) Achievements and Lessons Learned Programme Review Sustainable Agriculture Research and Advocacy Climate Change Organisational Review

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CHAPTER III: STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2013-2017

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I. Sustainable Agriculture and Livelihood Improvement

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II. Climate Change

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III. Research and Advocacy

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IV. Approaches And Mainstreaming Issues Approaches Mainstreaming issues

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V. Organisational Goals And Objectives

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Budget and Project Organisational Chart Appendices

32 33 34


ACRONYMS AFTA ASEAN

ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Association of South-East Asian Nations BEA Biodiversity Ecological Agriculture CBA6 Sixth Annual Conference on Community Based Adaptation CBDRM Community Based Disaster Risk Management CCWG Climate Change Working Group CDM Clean Development Mechanism CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women CIDSE International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity COP15 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference CSO Civil Society Organisation DMHCC Department of Meteorology, Hydrology, and Climate Change EU European Union FLEGT Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade GDP Gross Domestic Product INGOs International Non-Governmental Organisations ISG International Support Group MARD Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development MOLISA Ministry of Labour, Invalid, and Social Affairs MONRE Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment MOST Ministry of Science and Technology MPI Ministry of Planning and Investment NGO Non-Governmental Organisation NTP RCC National Target Program to Respond to Climate Change ODA Official Development Assistance

PFES

Payment for Forest Environmental Services PIM Participatory Irrigation Management PLUM Participatory Land Use Management PMCC People’s Movement on Climate Change PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal PTD Participatory Technology Development PVCA Participatory Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment PwD People with Disabilities REDD+ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development SEDP Socio-Economic Development Plan SPRCC Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change SRD The Centre for Sustainable Rural Development SRI System of Rice Intensification UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change USD United States Dollar VNGO Vietnamese NonGovernmental Organisation VNGO&CC Vietnamese NonGovernmental Organisations and Climate Change VNGO-FLEGT Vietnamese NonGovernmental Organisations and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade VUSTA Vietnam Union of Science and Technology WTO World Trade Organisation


Chapter I INTRODUCTION


Introduction The Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) was established and registered as a member organisation of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology (VUSTA) with an operating permit from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) dated March 30th 2006. SRD is a Vietnamese non-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is dedicated to working with disadvantaged communities, assisting them to improve their quality of life and manage their resources sustainably. Inheriting twenty-eight years of experience from the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE) in Vietnam, SRD has been continuously progressing and has successfully implemented its first and second Strategic Plans.

“Since it was established in 2006, SRD has continued to develop from both an organisational and programme perspective. With particular strength in the field of sustainable agriculture, SRD has helped develop livelihoods and improve living conditions for thousands of poor households in northern and central Vietnam. SRD is also helping many of Vietnam’s most vulnerable communities to develop effective models to respond to the changing environment… The success of SRD’s community interventions is underpinned by its community based approach to development. Over the past five years, SRD has collaborated with a number of state agencies and institutions to develop a solid foundation of evidence to inform its strategic interventions and policy advocacy.” Prof Dang Vu Minh, President of VUSTA

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In order to respond to the changing context, SRD’s third Strategic Plan has been developed as a set of collective commitments of SRD staff to contribute to poverty reduction and social justice in Vietnam. The strategic plan integrates valuable advice, input, and suggestions from SRD’s advisory board, donors, partners, and other stakeholders. This planning document will be the foundation for SRD’s work from 2013 to 2017


Our Vision People in rural communities are empowered to sustainably manage their own livelihood systems in an equal and compassionate society.

Our Mission

Sharing and learning: Sharing and learning are prerequisites to development, SRD commits to enabling an open environment for sharing and learning, both within organisation and with stakeholders. Results/impacts: Results are the ultimate indicators of an action’s success. All actions and activities done by SRD and its staff aim to provide positive impacts to the life of disadvantaged communities. Participation: Participation is the foundation for ensuring rights and sharing and responsibilities. SRD commits to facilitating meaningful participation of disadvantaged people in the decision-making process.

SRD is a foremost professional Vietnamese development agency that supports poor rural communities to adapt to the changing environment and sustainably manage their own livelihoods. Its success is underpinned by a holistic approach to development that spans grassroots capacity building to international advocacy.

Our Values Ownership: Each individual should have ownership of their development, SRD respects personal self-determination as well as organisational autonomy. Accountability/transparency: In each and every activity, SRD ensures that a collaborative, professional and effective working environment is maintained. SRD is accountable and transparent to its partners, beneficiaries and donors.

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Introduction Context Analysis The Government of Vietnam has made significant efforts towards combating poverty and has become a good example of successful implementation of poverty reduction programmes with remarkable results. From 1995 to 2010 the poverty rate decreased from fifty-five percent to 11.3 percent, there are still, however, more than three million Vietnamese households living in poverty and more than 1.6 million others on the poverty line (MOLISA 2011). Over the past two decades - since the opening of the economy - Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) has maintained a fairly fast growth rate. The World Bank’s classification of Vietnam as a middle income country was a significant occurrence in 2011, while this highlights the outstanding progress Vietnam has made in recent decades, it also represents new challenges for the development sector, including NGOs. As the focus of local and global investment moves towards economic growth, it is likely to come at the cost of investment in poverty reduction. Vietnam became the 150th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2007 and has also joined other international agreements such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Free Trade Agreement (AFTA). Although continued membership to the WTO and further integration into the global economy will likely result in great opportunities for economic development, this will also act as a catalyst to new environmental issues and social challenges. With more than ninety percent of Vietnam’s poor living in rural and remote communities1, sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods 1 Poverty or more specifically ‘poor households’ are defined by the Vietnamese Government as a household with an average income of 400,000 VND per capita per month in rural areas, with the equivalent for urban areas being set to 500,000 VND. 2 FAO: http://www.fao.org/asiapacific/vietnam/countryinformation/en/

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are critical to poverty alleviation and the country’s development. In the past decade, the Government and development organisations in Vietnam have committed to promoting and supporting the poor to build sustainable livelihoods and have achieved remarkable results. However many factors continue to negatively affect farmers, including the increasing costs of living, rising input costs, the consequences of intensive, unsustainable farming practices, poor market access resulting in low product values, and the impacts of climate change. The combination of these factors has pushed many vulnerable farming families into poverty and will continue to do so. Vietnam is considered to be one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. According to the climate change scenarios developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) in 2011, Vietnam is likely to experience a sea level rise of between seventy-five centimetres and one metre (compared to the average level from 19801999) by 2100. A sea level increase of one metre would result in flooding of forty percent of the Mekong Delta, eleven percent of the Red River Delta and three percent of other coastal provinces; ten to twelve percent of Vietnam’s population would be directly affected and losses are expected to be ten percent of total GDP. In the upland areas with high poverty rate and less resilience in economic situation, people are very much vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as extreme weather, droughts, floods, desertification, and soil erosion.


Overview of Vietnam’s Civil Society Development and Networks Vietnam is in the transition process of transforming its economy and changing its governance modality towards a more democratic society. This transformation has resulted in a greater need for strong civil society organisations (CSOs) with active and meaningful participation in the development process. Although the roles of CSOs in Vietnam are still developing, the NGO community has joined CSOs, along with other socio-political organisations (mass organisations) and charitable agencies. In the last few decades, the number of NGOs registered in Vietnam has increased rapidly and the focus of NGO work has expanded. With strong grassroots level engagement, NGOs have been successful in developing and implementing models for poverty reduction and development. Through this success, NGOs have gradually become recognised as important stakeholders contributing to the development process and helping to address numerous social issues. This has resulted in a growing platform for NGOs to engage with development in Vietnam, both in terms of implementing grassroots interventions and participating in policy formation and implementation processes.

local NGOs and some INGOs are in the process of preparing to become national entities. As a newly emerged community, with only a few decades of development work, the NGO sector in Vietnam has yet to fully mature, almost all NGOs face limitations in human and financial resources, and face the challenge of cyclical funding. This means that many NGOs remain small and are unable to develop longterm strategic orientation or vision for their interventions. In addition, civil society is still not well connected or co-ordinated and the reputation of Vietnamese civil society and the importance of NGOs contributions to development and poverty reduction are still not well understood. In recent years, the emergence of different working groups, alliances and networks has helped to improve co-ordination and sharing between NGOs and to strengthen the collective voice of NGOs and CSOs in Vietnam. In order to maintain effective operation and meaningful participation of the networks, a number of obstacles need to be overcome, in particular co-ordination capacity, member motivation and financial resources for network operations need to be improved.

Vietnam’s progress to middle income status has strongly influenced the aid structure and the development of civil society in Vietnam. In recent years, a number of donors and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) have starting phasing out their development programmes in Vietnam. Bilateral and multilateral donors are focusing on building the capacity of local NGOs to enable them to transfer development aid directly to

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Introduction Internal Context SRD is one of very few local NGOs able to develop a long-term strategic plan. With a team of experienced and committed staff, well-developed and professional financial procedures, strong human resource management and detailed programme guidelines, SRD successfully implemented and completed its second Strategic Plan of 2008 - 2012. SRD possesses a long history of experienced and entrenched programmes covering a wide geographic location, with good examples of local initiatives in the field of climate change adaptation, agriculture, and rural livelihoods; this has enabled SRD to develop a strong reputation and high creditability among NGOs and government authorities. In order to respond to the ever changing context of development, SRD will need to further improve its long-term strategy with appropriate organisational structure. In order to better manage with the expanded size of the organisation and programmes we will need to overcome several challenges, particularly:

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Due to the nature of three - year projects, each staff member must do many different activities on project management, therefore it is difficult for SRD staff to focus on technical issues and become experts in a particular theme;

The level of understanding on development approaches and the organisation’s position on relevant issues requires further development;

There are some gaps in staff capacity in crucial skills, such as in writing, documentation and English; and

The communication, brand/market strategy and communication guidelines still need to be developed.

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Target Groups, Stakeholders and Potential Impacts of the Changing Context Under the guiding principles of Communism, the Vietnamese Government aims to develop a socialist-oriented market economy and different measurements have been developed to ensure inclusive development and social justice. There are, however, widening gaps between the rich and poor and a significant proportion of the Vietnamese population has not fully benefited from the impacts of development. In fact, in some cases, the poor are becoming increasingly vulnerable. The vulnerable groups include:

Minority groups Ethnic minority groups often reside in remote locations that are marginalised due to unfavourable access to infrastructure, markets, information, and other public facilities. According to recent assessment by the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs (MOLISA, 2010), sixty-two ethnic minority-concentrated


districts in Vietnam are below the poverty line (defined as having a poverty rate of fifty percent based on the Government’s 2007 poverty line). In these districts, cultivated land accounts for less than ten percent of total natural land; the remaining land is poor quality forest land that generates negligible income to the nearby ethnic minorities. The limited involvement of local people in designing, implementing and monitoring development programmes can also reduce local acceptance and prevent projects from meeting their objectives.

Women and girls As a developing country with a long history of Confucian ideology patriarchy is dominant in many Vietnamese households, particularly in poor, rural communities. Patriarchal attitudes have been limiting to the development and social equality of women and girls; across all the socially disadvantaged groups, women and girls are the most vulnerable within families and communities. Inequality in decisionmaking processes is also an underlying cause of the social exclusion of women from the development process.

People with disabilities (PwD) The national population survey in 2009 indicated that there are 6.1 million PwD in Vietnam (accounting for 7.8 percent of the total population). They are often among the most disadvantaged groups in society and are therefore often the most vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks; vulnerability increases in situations with weak social protection systems.

Communities facing frequent natural disasters Vietnam’s location and topography makes it one of the countries most prone to natural disasters, a situation which has been

exacerbated by global climate change. Typhoons and floods are the most frequent and severe natural hazards; with roughly seventy percent of the population living in lowland areas, in the deltas or along the 3,200 kilometre coastline, these disasters often take a heavy toll. In mountainous areas, people face the risk of flash floods, droughts and extreme weather.

The landless poor Industrialisation, urbanisation and the commercialisation of agriculture are resulting in land accumulation and increased concentration of property ownership in rural Vietnam. From 2001 to 2005, approximately 366,000 hectares of rural land (of which agricultural land accounts for ninety percent), or 73,000 hectares per year, were transferred by local authorities to industrial, infrastructure, recreational and urban projects. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) estimates that from 2001 to 2005, over 600 000 households (or 2.5 million people) were affected by this change.

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Introduction Small agricultural commodity producers Small agricultural commodity producers who produce for processing and export (e.g. rice, maize, cassava, fish, shrimp, tea, coffee, etc.) face extreme difficulties due to market fluctuation, and unfair trade policies including those related to WTO accession and unfavourable weather conditions - overall these have affected their income and food security negatively. Small commodity farmers are vulnerable to these impacts because they often depend on a single source of income and rely heavily on credit to invest in agricultural inputs (often through borrowing inputs from private traders and paying them back after harvest). This means that poor harvests, low prices, and a lack of access to other capital options can leave poor farmers in a position where they are unable repay their debts, locking them into a cycle of debt and making it difficult for them to transition to alternative livelihood options.

Urban migrants Rural-urban migration is on the rise, the key contributing factor in Vietnam is economic growth has been largely concentrated in urban areas, forcing many households to use a multi location livelihood strategy to find employment, resulting in permanent or temporary migration to the urban centre. While migration promotes the rural-urban linkages and thus plays a positive role in national economic development, urban migrants are vulnerable to difficulties and risk becoming part of a “new urban poor� class.

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Chapter II REVIEW OF THE SECOND STRATEGY


Review of the Second Strategy SRD’s Programme Review (2008 to 2012) Achievements and Lessons Learned Programme Review In the second strategic plan, SRD targeted an annual programme budget of 600,000 USD, mainly focusing on sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods. During the implementation of the strategic plan, SRD’s budget reached nearly one million USD in 2011 and 2012, this is fifty percent higher than targeted. The focus of SRD’s programmes has also expanded in response to emerging issues, from strong roots in advocacy, climate change has become a major theme in SRD’s interventions. The geographical coverage of SRD’s programmes has expanded beyond historical locations in northern mountainous provinces to include the central coastal regions of Ha Tinh, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Tri provinces.

Sustainable Agriculture During the 2008-2012 Strategic Plan, SRD implemented twenty-one projects in 297 villages, which benefited 17,820 farming households. To meet our aim of supporting farmers and communities towards sustainable agriculture, SRD has provided farmers with intensive capacity building, from technical knowledge to life skills and market information. Farmers in project areas have also been introduced to appropriate techniques to diversify their livelihoods: initiatives to conserve local genetic resources such as

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herbal medicinal plants and traditional rice varieties. A number of innovative sustainable agriculture practices such as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), slope land cultivation and the production of organic fertilisers have been successfully introduced and applied by farmers. The most remarkable achievements during the last strategic plan include the adoption of SRI as a good practice in rice cultivation by MARD, and the development of the two new varieties of rice by farmers in Bac Kan province, and the conservation of local herbal plants and traditional remedies in Yen Bai province. In order to improve poor farmers’ income through diversified and sustainable livelihood development, SRD has supported farmers with household production planning skills, the development of alternative livelihoods, information to access markets, and increased understanding of value chains and marketing. The most significant of these achievements was the improvement of the tea value chain in Yen Bai and Phu Tho provinces and the chicken value chain in Yen Bai province. Committing to support farmers and farmer organisations to enable them to participate in decision-making processes


and contribute to social development led SRD to pay particular attention to facilitating community based organisations, which included a series of activities from building capacity for farmer facilitators to supporting the formation and operation of farmers’ groups such as business development groups, shared interest groups, water use associations, participatory land use management groups and farmer seed production groups. This has not only facilitated farmers’ collective actions and strengthened their negotiation power but also created a platform to mobilise farmers to work together for common interests. The success of SRD’s interventions in sustainable agriculture and livelihoods was strengthened by our approach to project development – a process involving close consultation with and participation of local people to ensure that they hold ownership of their development and their needs were met.

Research and Advocacy As one of SRD’s priority programmes in the second Strategic Plan, SRD’s advocacy has gone far beyond its targeted objectives. In order to promote NGOs’ effective poverty reduction, community development and resource management models to be better recognised, SRD has paid strong attention to compiling and documenting organisations’ experiences with different initiatives, and collecting good initiatives from other organisations. Through engagement in different forums, SRD has shared these experiences with policy makers and a wider network to promote replication and expansion of the initiatives. The most significant results of this objective are the documentation and promotion of the application of SRI, the documentation of NGOs response to climate change in Vietnam, integrating in to local Socio-Economic

Development Planning (SEDP) process, and the maintenance of the SRD and VNGO and Climate Change (VNGO&CC) websites has also been assessed to an effective standard for popularising good examples of NGOs. To meet our aim of enabling SRD, other NGOs, and social businesses to take part in government programmes on poverty reduction (e.g. Official Development Assistance or ODA), SRD first built our strong reputation to become one of the most creditable NGOs in Vietnam, among CSOs and to government related ministries such as VUSTA, MARD, MONRE and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and donors. As a foremost professional VNGO, SRD has also actively participated in a number of poverty reduction forums contributing constructive and practical ideas to assist in the design of poverty reduction and pro-poor policies relating to agriculture, rural development and climate change in Vietnam. In addition, to enable the participation of all of Vietnamese civil society in this process, SRD has proactively maintained and updated information on different policies and programmes related to development and poverty reduction in Vietnam through SRD’s website and the VNGO&CC website.

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Review of the Second Strategy To facilitate the participation of SRD and other NGOs in the development, evaluation and monitoring of pro-poor policies/programmes, SRD has actively participated in various policy forums across a wide range of issues. At the national level, SRD is one of few key VNGOs represented and provides input into MONRE’s Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change (SPRCC), to MARD’s International Support Group (ISG), to MPI’s National Sustainable Development Strategy, and contributes constructive and practical ideas for poverty reduction at policy forums. To enable the participation of civil society in these processes, SRD has also facilitated the process of building the organisational capacity of VNGOs on monitoring and evaluating policy implementation. Through active engagement in different initiatives including the monitoring of aid effectiveness, analysis of climate change financing and investigation of the impacts of policies on the poor following economic crises, SRD has not only raised its own capacity and practical experience but has also pioneered and provided practical examples of CSOs monitoring development programmes and policies, a very new but critical area for CSO engagement in Vietnam.

Climate Change Although climate change was only considered as a topic in sustainable agriculture in the last strategic plan, SRD has made a lot of progress in this area, becoming a leading CSO working on climate change in Vietnam. Over the past few years, SRD has undertaken three disaster risk reduction and six climate change related projects. SRD has been able to engage on climate change at all levels, from grassroots interventions to the most influential national and international policy forums. SRD has played a major role in building CSOs’ capacity on climate change in Vietnam, as the chair of the VNGO&CC network, co-chair of the

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Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) and chair of the VNGO and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VNGO-FLEGT) Network, SRD has facilitated and coordinated the process of sharing knowledge and learning experiences between both VNGOs and INGOs. This is an important contribution to build the capacity of civil society and enhance the contributions of CSOs towards tackling climate change and environmental issues. The most significant work that SRD has done was the capacity building on climate change for CSOs project, funded by the Embassy of Finland. The successful implementation of this project helped to formalise the mechanism of cooperation between the government and civil society through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change (DMHCC), CCWG and the VNGO&CC network in December 2011. Working in the central coastal provinces of Thua Thien Hue and Ha Tinh, which are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, SRD has helped to build the resilience of vulnerable communities to natural disasters and climate change. SRD has implemented a


number of training sessions and workshops to raise communities’ awareness on disaster management and climate change adaptation and has facilitated the formation of village rapid response (rescue) teams. In addition, SRD has supported poor people to develop adaptive alternative livelihoods. This has helped to make vulnerable communities stronger and more resilient to the changing climatic conditions and natural disasters. SRD is also a member of different regional climate change networks including the Accra Caucus forum People’s Movement on Climate Change (PMCC), the Mekong Adaptation Forum, and SeaChange. SRD has played an important role representing VNGOs’ voices at a number of influential national policy forums such as SPRCC, the Vietnamese Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) Network and important international forums on climate change such as the Conference of Parties on Climate Change in Copenhagen (COP15), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings, the Sixth Annual Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA6) and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Through these engagements SRD has strongly advocated for small-scale adaptation models not only in local communities, but also nationally and internationally

Organisational Review The second Strategic Plan (2008-2012) had two main objectives for SRD’s organisational development: 1) qualified and professional staff and 2) an effective and efficient organisational structure, which have been fully achieved.

fields including agriculture, climate change, economics, sociology, psychology, gender, environment, communications and public health. In addition to our team of full-time staff, SRD also hosts a number of international volunteers and Vietnamese interns. SRD’s staff are committed and competent in delivering assigned tasks and can confidently represent SRD in their respective areas. In order to develop a team of qualified and professional staff, SRD has paid serious attention to staff planning (based on programme goals with clear task assignments and the development plan) and capacity building for staff has also been undertaken as a routine activity of the organisation. In addition, a new full-time human resource officer position was created in 2010 to strengthen the management and the human resource systems. Numerous staff members have been sent to various national and international training sessions and workshops relevant to their work. Staff performance and improvement has been undertaken through yearly performance reviews, as well as regular opportunities for sharing and feedback.

Currently, SRD has a team of twenty-five staff, the majority of whom possess strong experience and a depth of expertise in relevant

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Review of the Second Strategy

In order to build an effective and efficient organisational structure, SRD has strengthened the membership of its Advisory Board with multi-disciplinary expertise, covering gender, financial management and development with government and political backgrounds. The Advisory Board members have participated in all critical events of the organisation and have provided valuable advice for the organisation’s development and programme management.

of clear and professional performance criteria for annual staff appraisals, which have been officially applied, have contributed to making staff performance appraisals more objective, and provide a good reference for staff management and development planning. In addition to the sound human resource policies and procedures, financial and administrative procedures have been developed and carefully implemented.

The management team, consisting of Executive Director, Deputy Directors and Managers, have performed well. Managers are given strong authority and clear responsibilities. The management team has contributed to the decision-making process of the organisation, helping to make the process more transparent, accountable, and democratic.

“The institution itself looks like a united and enjoyable family, with enthusiasm and commitment from every staff member and the institution as a whole, contributing to sustainable rural development focused on the vulnerable and the poor…. SRD has demonstrated to domestic CSOs, and even INGOs, sound and outstanding financial, HR and administration systems.” Professor Liu Jing Long, Renmin University, China, who conducted evaluation of the second Strategic Plan implementation.

Learning from different international experts and organisations, SRD has developed a set

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Chapter III STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2013 - 2017


Strategic Plan for 2013-2017 – small-scale farmers are struggling to feed their families because of low crop prices, lack of government support and limited access to credit, land, water, seeds and other inputs.

I. Sustainable Agriculture and Livelihood Improvement With more than two-thirds of the population in Vietnam living in rural areas, agriculture plays an important role in the country’s economy. In particular, the agricultural sector contributes twenty-two percent of total GDP and provides jobs for sixty percent of the nation’s labour force3 . Agriculture is also considered to provide a buffering effect, which helped Vietnam to overcome the two global economic crises in 1997 and 2008. However, farmers and agriculture in Vietnam are facing a number of threats and challenges, which closely relate to the degradation of land and resources, unfair trade policies and climate change. In order to meet their basic food needs smallholders and the rural poor have been pushed into using ecologically fragile areas, intensifying production on steep slopes that are vulnerable to erosion and landslides. Land degradation has also resulted from excessive use of mineral fertilisers, chemical pesticides, and the over-intensification of livestock raising. At the same time that economic integration is promising benefits to some parts of society - mostly better-off and large-scale enterprises 3 FAO: http://www.fao.org/asiapacific/vietnam/countryinformation/en/

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Agricultural production is also threatened by climate change which has already been observed through increased salinity, increases in pests and disease, and extreme weather, including droughts, floods and storms destroying existing crops. Vietnam, with its long coastline and large proportion of agricultural land distributed in coastal and delta areas, will be one of the countries most affected by climate change. As can be seen from the impact of the recent global crisis, the most vulnerable groups include the rural poor and ethnic minorities. Realising the importance of agriculture, Vietnamese government has paid due attention to the sector, many programmes in agriculture and rural development has been implemented. Recently, the government launched its New Agricultural Rural Development Program, demonstrating a strong political agenda to boost development in rural areas and support farmers. There are however, a number of challenges in the realisation of this political objective. Objective 1: Small-scale farmers and community based organisations will be able to actively participate and raise their voice in decision-making processes in relation to their interests and livelihoods

STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Raise awareness and knowledge among farmers and local partners on sustainable agriculture, livelihood models, sustainable technical practices and other relevant skills; • Strengthen self-governance capacity of small farmers’ organisations to be able to mobilise local resources and advocate


for policies that benefit the poor, ethnic minorities, women and PwD; and • Create opportunities and facilitate the participation of women, men, and PwD in the SEDP processes that impact their interests and livelihoods.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES • Farmers and local partners have a better understanding of sustainable livelihoods and agricultural practices (such as land conservation techniques, water resource protection, SRI, Participatory Irrigation Management, value chain, diversification of crops, etc.); • Farmers’ organisations are capable to mobilise and organise and facilitate collective ideas and actions among farmers as well as to advocate for policies supporting the poor, women, ethnic minorities and PwD; and • Small-scale farmers, especially women, PwD and their organisations will be able to participate in the decision making processes on issues relevant to their life and livelihoods (such as seed control, pesticide management, environment protection, etc.). Objective 2: Income and local livelihoods of poor small-scale farmers will be improved sustainably

• Support farmers to establish farmers’ businesses on local special products; and • Documentation of good practices on value chains and other successful livelihood initiatives.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Support to develop and pilot livelihood models that respond to market demand and to the changing climate, which include strengthening community based organisations and enabling farmers to work collectively to improve market access and livelihood opportunities;

• Sustainable practices in agriculture and livelihood models, which suit small-scale farmers will be successfully piloted and applied; • Income and food security of small-scale farmers will be improved, while natural resources and local genetic resources will be conserved;

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• SRD gains strategic alliances and partnerships with other NGOs and the private sector through conducting and supporting the value chain approach of different products in the locality; and • Some of the local products will gain access to stable markets. Objective 3: Small-scale farmers will have better access to quality public services in agricultural production and government programmes to stabilise local livelihoods

STRATEGIC ACTIONS

• Promote the replication of effective models/ practices that suit small-scale farmers in government programmes; and • Facilitate the participation of small-scale farmers and women in the implementation and monitoring of programmes in relation to their life and livelihoods.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES •

Good initiative and sustainable livelihood models suitable to the poor (PLUM, value chain of chicken, pigs, rice, farmers’ rice production groups, farmers, researchers, etc.) will be documented;

Capacity of local government staff will be improved in order to effectively implement pro-poor policies and improve the quality of public services;

Successful initiatives on sustainable agriculture and livelihoods will be replicated and supported in government policies and within local SEDP; and

The farmers, especially women and the poor, will participate meaningfully in implementing and monitoring government programmes.

• Document examples of effective models and integration in government programmes; • Strategic engagement with local government agencies to improve the quality of public services in relation to agriculture and to improve local employment opportunities;

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II. Climate Change Vietnam is considered one of the countries that is most prone to climate change and agriculture is among the sectors that would be severely affected by climate change. As over seventy percent of Vietnam’s population is reliant on agricultural livelihoods and seventy percent of arable land is located in rural areas where natural conditions and available resources play a larger factor, climate change will be a major challenge for Vietnam. Although people and local authorities have observed abnormal changes in climatic patterns and extreme weather incidents, it is hard for people to appropriately respond to these changes due to limited capabilities. The Vietnamese Government has demonstrated its strong effort to respond to climate change impacts, both in terms of committing to international initiatives as well as through strong national action; this has resulted in a National Target Program to Respond to Climate Change (NTP RCC) approved by the Prime Minister in December 2008 and revised in 2012; the National Strategy to Respond to Climate Change approved on December 5,

2011; National Action Plan on climate change was issued in October 2012; then the National Green Growth Strategy issued in 2012 . Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon emissions have found “increasing political interest and support” (REDD Vietnam, undated). Vietnam is a strong supporter of the “green economy”, the European Union (EU) initiative on FLEGT, and is committed to several international frameworks on climate change response. In order to ensure the comprehensiveness and practicality of the policies, especially to avoid potential negative impacts of these policies on the poor, there are still number of challenges ahead. Alongside government efforts, CSOs and NGOs in Vietnam have proactively responded by delivering various capacity building and communication activities on climate change. NGOs have also implemented numerous initiatives at the grassroots level to support vulnerable communities to cope with natural disasters and respond to the impacts of climate change. The contributions and success of NGOs have been increasingly recognised by the national and international community. However, mechanisms for civil society involvement are still not well established.

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017 In recent years, SRD has implemented numerous programmes/projects related to climate change at the local level and has been involved in the designing and developing of different climate change networks as well. As a result, SRD has become known as a pioneering organisation working on climate change issues. However, it is essential that SRD deepens its expertise and implements specific interventions at the local level to collect clear evidence for advocacy purposes at local and central levels. Objective 1: Poor communities in vulnerable areas will be able to develop local resilience, enabling them to cope with disasters and adapt to the impacts of climate change

STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Support communities’ actions through piloting suitable combinations of modern techniques with genuine knowledge; • Facilitate the participation of vulnerable groups, particularly women and PwD in

local SEDP with consideration of potential climate change impacts; and • Strengthen the linkages between academics, the government and communities in the efforts responding to climate change.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES • Disaster risk management and climate change adaptation plans at household and community levels will be developed and implemented effectively in order to reduce the vulnerability of disadvantaged groups including women, children and PwD; • Adaptive livelihood and/or disaster preparedness/response models suitable for the poor such as community based disaster risk management (CBDRM) and SRI will be successfully demonstrated and applied in climate vulnerable communities; and • The SEDP in SRD’s project locations will be integrated with disaster risk management and climate change issues. Objective 2: Rural communities will proactively adopt appropriate solutions to mitigate climate change impacts

STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Support and promote initiatives on greenhouse gas awareness programmes towards the ultimate goal of lowering carbon emissions at the community level; • Support pilot projects and the application of low carbon emission innovations in daily life and rural production; and • Strengthen linkages between community mitigation initiatives with relevant mechanisms of government and other stakeholders on climate change mitigation.

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017


EXPECTED OUTCOMES • Communities’ behaviours on the efficient use of natural resources will be changed and sustained towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions (save water, save electricity, reduce the use of nylon bags); • Solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (such as clean stoves, biogas production, community forest management and other community based resource management models) will be applied sustainably; and • Forest dependent communities will be capable to participate in implementing and monitoring forest management related projects with improved skills and knowledge (such as REDD+, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), FLEGT, Payment for Environmental Services (PFES). Objective 3: Successful initiatives of community actions responding to climate change will be recognised and promoted by competent government agencies

STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Facilitate the dissemination

sharing, learning of information

and and

knowledge on climate change among NGOs and other stakeholders; • Increase engagement with media and academia in the areas of climate change; and • Maintain and strengthen strategic collaboration with government agencies and relevant partners in developing and implementing policies and programmes responding to climate change.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES • Successful models on climate change response will be studied, documented and shared with the community and relevant stakeholders; • The role and contributions of NGOs and networks in climate change response will be recognised by the government; and • Successful initiatives of NGOs on climate change response will be introduced by and supported in government policies and programmes.

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017 III. Research and Advocacy

• Conduct action research to identify emerging issues impacting poverty and approaches to address them.

In the last decade, Vietnam has not only observed a remarkable reduction in poverty statistics throughout Vietnam, but also a significant change in the nature of poverty and its causes. The shift from the list of least developed countries to middle income countries has had notable impacts on development work, both in terms of funding sources and the need for new and changing approaches to development. Vietnam is in the transition period of building a socialist-oriented market economy with deeper economic integration; this requires a transformation of the governance structures and mechanisms towards a more democratic structure.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

Throughout this changing context, although CSOs have had increasing opportunities for engagement, their contributions to the Vietnamese policy making process has remained largely ineffective. This could be attributed to several factors, particularly the lack of proven evidence, the need for alternative approaches for advocacy, limited capacity, inadequate mechanisms and weak co-ordination among NGOs. Objective 1: Organisational perspectives on current poverty issues and alternative approaches for effective policy advocacy will be strengthened

STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Strengthen programme linkages between different projects and develop a consistent and professional approach for SRD’s projects; • Conduct research and policy monitoring assessments in target locations to provide critical evidence for policy advocacy and formulation; and

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017

• SRD’s programmes will be well informed of current policies and emerging issues in order to be more responsive and relevant to changing situations; • Emerging issues with potential impacts on the poor will be identified; and • Successful models from SRD and other organisations in the areas of sustainable agriculture and climate change will be analysed and used for advocacy purposes.


Objective 2: SRD’s credibility and influential position will be enhanced through strong communications and networking

STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Enhance communications and media work to effectively disseminate and raise the voice of the poor; and • Maintain SRD’s lead role in national networking and further develop and strengthen alliances with likeminded organisations and international networks.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES • SRD’s perspectives and policy messages will be well communicated to the public and targeted policy makers; and • SRD will continue to play an active/lead role in major network(s) of NGOs in Vietnam and remain an active member of regional and/or international networks working on relevant issues with regular engagement. Objective 3: To ensure that the voice of the poor will be reflected to and considered by policy makers during the policy development and implementation processes

STRATEGIC ACTIONS • Facilitate interactions makers and the poor;

between

policy

• Support local people’s participation in policy dialogues and/or forums; and • Advance SRD’s strategic engagements with the government and relevant stakeholders.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES • Dialogues with policymakers at the national level to be held every year; • At least one issue prioritised by CSOs regarding sustainable agriculture or climate change is taken into account by policymakers after a policy dialogue (for example one toxic pesticide according to the Rotterdam Convention, is banned in Vietnam); and • SRD is actively engaged at national and international levels in climate change, agriculture and rural development policy making forums.

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017 IV. Approaches and Mainstreaming Issues APPROACHES The framework of rights-based approaches to development will set the guiding principles for designing and developing SRD interventions. Project activities will be aimed towards contributing to and ensuring the rights of the poor, especially the rights of women and girls, of PwD, of children, and of ethnic minority peoples. SRD will also actively facilitate interactions between different stakeholders in order to ensure that each and every stakeholder remains responsible to their obligations to protect and fulfil the basic rights of people. Participatory approaches and tools to facilitate communities’ participation will be further explored and applied in the process of designing, implementing and monitoring SRD’s activities. Various tools and approaches such as Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM), Participatory Land Use Management (PLUM), Participatory Technologies Development (PTD), Participatory Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (PVCA), CBDRM and Action Research will be applied where appropriate.

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MAINSTREAMING ISSUES

Gender equality and women’s rights Appropriate efforts and measures to ensure gender equality and the protection of women’s rights will be integrated in designing, implementing and monitoring SRD’s activities. SRD will continue to ensure meaningful participation of women in the core groups as well as in the implementation of different project activities. SRD also encourages and promotes women to taking leading roles in project management. The principles of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) will be the guiding principle for SRD’s work on gender equality .


People with Disabilities SRD has been implementing several projects specifically targeting PwD in Thua Thien Hue and Quang Tri provinces. SRD will continue to seek opportunities to further expand the reach of specialised projects supporting PwD. Considering that PwD are consistently among the most disadvantages members of their communities, SRD will pay serious attention to ensure that the needs and challenges of PwD are integrated into project activities and prioritised with appropriate support. 

Child protection SRD considers child protection to be an important cross-cutting issue in project implementation as well as in our staff behaviour. To deliver this strategic direction, SRD will continue to improve staff awareness

and understanding on child rights and child protection issues; SRD will also develop and implement an organisational child protection policy. In programmes, SRD will gradually integrate children’s rights into the activities in order to raise awareness and change behaviour towards improving the protection and fulfilment of such rights

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017 V. Organisational Goals and Objectives SRD aims to maintain its prominent role among VNGOs working in sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, climate change and governance. To achieve this strategic goal, SRD will focus on three major areas: 1) further improvement of the organisation’s governance structure, professional policies, procedures and a supportive and open environment for learning and reflection; 2) further staff development; and 3) a new strategy to raise funds. Objective 1: An improved organisational governance structure and programme management mechanism will be in place to enable a supportive and open environment for sharing and learning

STRATEGIC ACTIONS

• A clearer mechanism for organisational management will be developed and put into practice; • A department for the mobilisation and development of resources will be established to complement the performance of projects/programmes; • An annually updated set of guidelines/ protocols on human resources, finance, project development and implementation, communications and project monitoring and evaluation will be continued. Organisational monitoring and evaluation systems will be developed and put into practice; and • The organisation operates in a professional and financially independent manner. Objective 2: Human resources will be strengthened with competent staff

• Further strengthen SRD’s structures and mechanisms (with regards to research and advocacy, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation) to improve programme quality and harmonisation and diversify funding sources;

STRATEGIC ACTIONS

• Strengthen monitoring and evaluation function to support improving programme quality;

• Review the job descriptions of positions and recruitment strategy to ensure they are in accordance with the organisational development strategy;

• Department performance indicators will be developed; and • Regular review and reflection on the strategic plan for possible adjustment in order to appropriately respond to the changing context.

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EXPECTED OUTCOMES

Strategic Plan for 2013-2017

• Review and adjust staffing structure according to the objectives of the organisation and programmes and programme delivery strategy;

• Develop a capacity building plan to improve staff capacity, with a focus on building the specialised/technical expertise of staff; and • Support the participation of staff in sharing, learning and networking with other organisations in order to strengthen staff capacity and promote the organisation’s image.


EXPECTED OUTCOMES • All staff have well developed skills and are competent in delivering assigned activities; • Suitable job descriptions according to the new strategy are developed; • Seventy percent of programme staff are capable of providing technical training and conducting research relevant to the main themes of SRD’s programmes; and

STRATEGIC ACTIONS In order to realise this budget, SRD will: •

Build up and expand the results of ongoing projects to maintain its budget level from traditional funding partners; and

Mobilise new funding sources by joining bidding, calls for proposals from new donors for medium and long-term projects (three to five) and diversify income by providing technical services on capacity building and research outside of SRD’s projects.

• A team of staff will be capable in providing services (training, project evaluations, etc.) which will generate additional income for the organisation.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES Objective 3: Financial resources will be sustained with diversified and stable funding sources In the coming years, SRD’s target is to increase its annual programme budget to around 1.2 to 1.5 million USD by 2015 and then maintain this budget to the end of the third strategic planning period.

The annual budget of major projects will be maintained;

Three to five new projects will be developed and approved every year; and

The income from training, research and consultancies performed by SRD will be improved and will account for five to ten percent of organisation’s annual budget.

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017

BUDGET AND NUMBER OF PROJECTS BY YEAR

PROJECT ANNUAL BUDGET 2013-2017

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Strategic Plan for 2013-2017


Organisational chart

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Appendices 4 Appendix I: External programme review report Appendix II: Stakeholder consultation report Appendix III: SWOT analysis Appendix IV: Functional review and human resource development strategy Appendix V: Functional review and SP development, Sustainable agriculture Appendix VI: Functional review and SP development, Climate change Appendix VII: Functional review and SP development, Hue office Appendix VIII: Communications and Marketing strategy

4 For further details, please contact: Communications Department - Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) No. 56, Lane 19/9, Kim Dong Street, Hoang Mai District, Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: +84 4 3943 6676 /78 (Ext: 206); Fax: +84 4 3943 6449 Email: info@srd.org.vn; linh@srd.org.vn


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Srd strategic plan iii (2013 2017)