VNSW enhancing the capacity of policy advocacy
Sept. 14, 2018
On September 20th, 2017, a training session on "Advocacy for sex workers from VNSW" took place at Sen Viet Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City. The instructor is Dr. Nguyen Trong An - Deputy Director of RTCCD - The Research and Training Center for Community Development - The Evidence-Based Health Policy Development Advocacy Group (EBHPD). From SCDI, Dr. Nguyen Hoai Huong, Deputy Director, Program Officer and local officers from SCDI; and the participation of the Vietnam Network of Sex Workers (VNSW) representatives.
The importance of advocacy is undeniable. However, at present most of the trainees do not have much knowledge of policy and policy. As a result, the trainers provided basic knowledge about the policy, the process of policy advocacy. Illustrative examples from the hypothetical scenario were given to the participants to discuss, under the guidance of the instructor.
"Policy advocacy in many cases means finding unreasonable points in policy, motivating to make the policy reasonable, enforceable and closely related to the beneficiaries, or finding out the regulations that have been left out in the policy, from which suggestions are made to develop those regulations in policy. "
Dr. Nguyen Trong An - Deputy Director of RTCCD
After the basic knowledge is the categories and process of advocacy. Here, the faculty provided hypothetical scenarios about the community's difficulties in organizing thematic sessions due to the lack of coordination with a well-respected, responsible agency and related to national authorities. Therefore, the process of applying for a license in policy advocacy should pay attention to this issue, in order to build conviction, trust and legitimacy.
Dr. Nguyen Hoai Huong delivered the opening speech
Practitioners discuss the hypothetical situation put forth by the lecturer - Dr. Nguyen Trong An
The last and most important content of the training session was the participation of the VNSW in policy advocacy. The community needs to go through four stages: First, identify the problem to advocate. Next, formulating the policy, by providing practical feedback on management of policy implementation, making proposals, constructing solutions, etc. Step 3 is decision making: Assess the impact of the final proposal; reflects public support or protest; try to influence policy makers and forecast issues and opportunities in policy implementation. The final step is implementing the policy: Participating in cooperation in the implementation process, addressing the problems that exist, monitoring the impacts, results and failures in the implementation process and assessing the impact of the new policy.
Photo: The trainees present discussion results
Policy advocates need to pay attention to 4 different positions: Among the two standing positions, which are the State and people, the NGO is the middle organization to coordinate and facilitate dialogue between these two above. However, the 4th position, as an individual/organization standing in the middle, these are independent, not related to the State nor the government, and they have the merit, prestige and voice. Along with the lobbyists, they act as a bridge, which is very important in policy advocacy.
The first training session on policy advocacy ended with the agreement on the content between the instructor and all the participants.