Coming together to make a difference in Vietnam

Two organisations working to bring about positive change in Vietnam have joined forces to enhance their work in community development.

A group of people work together on a table in an office.

Hearts for Hue, a not-for-profit organisation working to improve the lives of resettled villagers in Vietnam’s Thia Thien Hue Province, and the Centre for Knowledge Co-Creation and Development Research (CKC), an independent research centre, are both working to promote sustainable development and support disadvantaged communities in Vietnam.

Both organisations are focused on improving the lives of women, children, people living with disability, and ethnic minorities.

A shared goal

CKC was established in 2017 by a group of Australia awards graduates from Vietnam. They all shared the same goal: to apply their skills and knowledge acquired during their time in Australia to help support disadvantaged communities in Vietnam.

Specialising in social planning and development study, CKC’s programs are designed to support women, people with disability and ethnic minorities in particular. Co-working is at the heart of CKC’s vision, and the organisation works with a diverse range of stakeholders, including government, NGOs, communities and the private sector.

Hearts for Hue was founded in 2007 by Mr Truong Trong Khanh and Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoa. The pair shared a mission to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in Vietnam through education, water sanitation and livelihood support programs. Hearts for Hue focuses on key areas of social and economic development, such as microfinance, community service programs, water sanitation and the environment.

Working together

The Australian Volunteers Program is proud to support both organisations in their shared goal to empower disadvantaged communities across Vietnam.

Hearts for Hue and CKC have enjoyed a close collaboration since 2019. This connection has been facilitated through sharing knowledge and skills with a particular focus on co-learning and co-sharing about development issues.

'The partnership and networking shared between CKC and Hearts for Hue not only helps both organisations to grow, it also helps wider communities across Vietnam', says Van Nguyen, Founder and Director at CKC.

Reflecting on Hearts for Hue’s partnership with the program, chairman Mr Truong Trong Khanh says:

‘It (has been) an honour to receive a wide range of support from the Australian Volunteers Program. We’ve welcomed four Australian volunteers at Hearts for Hue since 2015 and more recently, we’ve had a chance to work with a remote volunteer to promote our communication and fundraising strategy and report writing.’

CKC has also hosted Australian volunteers, both in-country and remote. One of those is Australian volunteer Philip Thomas, who supported the organisation as a Business Development Mentor.

‘It's all about co-working and the whole experience is really empowering, both for me and all of CKC’s staff,' says Philip. Van Nguyen from CKC echoes the positive impact Philip has at CKC.

'Philip helps empower CKC staff and colleagues from other Hue-based organisations by sharing his knowledge of fundraising and networking skills' says Van Nguyen, CKC.

Australian volunteer Alistair Cameron also reflects on his time with both CKC and Hearts for Hue fondly:

‘The most obvious enabling factor for myself while working with Hearts for Hue was their openness to change and willingness to teach me. Similarly, being involved with CKC was just so easy thanks to their proactive approach and ethic of co-learning.’

Sharing skills, growing knowledge

As well as encouraging collaboration to further develop capacity building and foster fruitful connections, the Australian Volunteers Program also works with partner organisations to deliver training and workshops, including on child protection.

Hearts for Hue worked with the program to deliver a child protection policy workshop, and subsequently, the organisation now has its own child protection policy in place.

Hearts for Hue has also taken part in a series of workshops on monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL), facilitated by the Australian Volunteers Program.

‘This was a good opportunity for us to obtain in-depth understanding into MEL, which is vital for effective project management,’ says Hearts for Hue’s Chairman, Khanh.

At the heart of the community

As well as sharing key skills and knowledge, and providing training opportunities, the Australian Volunteers Program supports partner organisations with implementing community development initiatives.

According to CKC, receiving a community grant scheme from the program was an important early success for the organisation in their work supporting women in a disadvantaged fishing village to go plastic free and boost their tourism profile.

Hearts for Hue were also delighted to receive an Impact Fund grant from the Australian Volunteers Program, which helped the organisation implement a project focused on building the capacity of family chicken farmers to adapt to climate change in Huong Van.

Hearts for Hue, CKC and the Australian Volunteers Program intend to keep working together, further contributing to sustainable community led development and supporting disadvantaged communities in Vietnam.

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