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VCSPA Annual Meeting 2012

Ngày 24 tháng 10 năm 2018

Every year, the Vietnam Civil Society Partnership Platform on AIDS (VCSPA) helds an annual meeting for all members. This is a chance for civil society organizations to meet, exchange experiences, develop and tighten their connections as well as to discuss and give inputs on the HIV/AIDS prevention in Vietnam.

VCSPA Annual Meeting is always a festive day for civil society organizations across the country.

The 4th Annual Meeting was held in Hue from 18th -  20th December 2012 with the participation of around 300 delegates, including Mr. Le Duc Hien (Deputy Director of DSVP), Dr. Chu Quoc An (Deputy Director of VAAC), Mr. Le Nhan Tuan (Director of Hanoi PAC), Dr. Khuat Thi Hai Oanh (Executive Director of SCDI, Chairperson of VCSPA), Mr David (Pathways), Dr. Fabio Mesquita (WHO), Dr. Pham Huyen Khanh (WHO); Prof. Wayne Wiebel (USAID) and 182 groups from the 6 community sectors of PLHIV, PUD, SW, MSM, PSP, NGO, faith-based organizations and others), more than 100 delegates from the Global Fund component, coming from 33 provinces across the country.

Coming to the Meeting, civil society organizations showed that they had understood their roles in the HIV/AIDS response by participating in VCSPA. No longer diffident, the delegates now listened and carefully took note in each session, bravely asked questions and shared their knowledge, and actively participated in group discussions. Moreover, many delegates also joined to develop VCSPA agenda, plan and activities on HIV for their groups, networks and communities.

During the Annual Meeting, other from discussions on sexual reproductive health for sex workers and the possibility of family-based care, the delegates from 6 sectors also spent a considerably amount of time to discuss the application of the Investment Framework in Vietnam from civil society point of view. The objective of the Investment Framework is to most effectively reduce risks, HIV/AIDS transmissions, morbidity and deaths.

Around 300 delegates had focused to discuss in details 3 topics of the Investment Framework including basic programme activities, and critical enablers consisting of social enablers and program enablers. The basic programme activities consist of behavior change program, condom promotion and distribution, key populations programs (PUD, MSM, and SW), treatment care and support to PLHIV, PMTCT, male circumcision (generalized epidemic).  Social enablers include political commitment and advocacy, laws, legal policies and practices, community mobilization, stigma reduction, mass media and local response to change risk environment. Program enablers include community centered design and delivery, program communication, management and incentives, procurement and distribution, research and innovation. The delegates all agreed that in order to implement the Investment Framework, it would require integration of the community and society, improving educational system; poverty reduction, policy reform, gender violence prevention, health system strengthening, community system strengthening and employer practices.

“I went through over 1000 km to come to the meeting not only to meet other members but also to learn new knowledge to share with my community”, a representative of Vươn lên, Can Tho said.

Another great meaningful contribution for civil society in general and for the communities of people who use drugs and sex workers in particular was the establishment of the Networks of these two communities.

The Vietnam Network of People who use drugs (VNPUD) includes CBOs such as Gạch đầu dòng (Hanoi), Cát Trắng (Hanoi), Nắng cuối trời (Vinh Phuc), Đồng Xanh (Thai Binh), Anh em (Hai Phong), Cầu vồng đen (Hai Phong), Sau cai (Cam Pha), Chân trời mới (Dien Bien), Tự lực (Bac Kan), Cuộc sống mới (HCM). This was the first network of people who use drugs in Vietnam representing the voice and legitimate rights of the community, aiming to become a professional organization to help people who use drugs in Vietnam have opportunities to develop.

The Network of Sex workers (VNSW) includes CBOs such as Nơi Bình yên (Hanoi), Hoa cát tường (HCM), Bình Minh đêm (HCM), Sóng Biển (Nha Trang), Mở rộng vòng tay (Da Nang), Bông hồng đen (Hai Phong), Hoa trinh nữ (Hai Phong). This was also the first network of sex workers in Vietnam. The Network aims to reduce the vulnerability of sex workers, improve the awareness on their rights and support for improved quality of life of sex workers.

Vu Thi Lien from Yen Bai shared that “This is the first time I attend the Annual Meeting. Before I only heard of CBOs of PUD and SW but didn’t really know what they did. Now I understand. After this meeting, I can come back and help not only the community of PLHIV but also the PUD community by developing a group of PUD. I hope that they can then become a member of VNPUD”.

“NGOs and CSOs always play an important role in community prevention interventions: behavior change communication, peer education, voluntary testing and counseling, condom and N&S distribution, improve treatment knowledge and treatment promotion, family-based care and ensuring livelihood for PLHIV”, Dr. Chu Quoc An emphasized.

The Candle Light Vigil and Gala night also had the contribution from the members. With the theme of “light up the fame of love”, the event was solemn and sincere presided over by Senior Venerable Thich Dong Nguyen and Senior Venerable Thich Thanh Lam. Hundreds of lotus-shaped candles – the symbol of Buddhism – were lit up by all members to commemorate millions of people who have died of AIDS in Vietnam and the world.

The Gala night was a memorable event for the delegates. Each VCSPA community sectors contributed their own performances. Love Duets performance and fashion show by MSM and transgender community had gained great appreciation. Each song, each confident walk and each dress showed the joy and happiness of being themselves. The PUD community had one short play “Towards the future” with story according to their own experience, which had moved many of the audience. This play also showed the important role of peer educators and the efforts and determination of PUD. The members had had a night full of joy, laughter, tears, love and solidarity under the roof of the house of VCSPA.

Mr. John, the honorable guest from England said that “all the members have created a wonderful environment. People here are like brothers and sisters of a family meeting each other in Lunar New Year. They can learn, share, and meet new friends. Most importantly they can be themselves”.

The last activity yet a very important event to all members was the election of new VCSPA Steering Committee members. People representing different sectors would decide the activities of VCSPA for the next 2 years. The delegates understood their responsibilities and interests for each vote that they made.

Sharing in the closing of the Meeting, Nguyen Minh Len from Thanh Hoa said “VCSPA is not only for PLHIV but also for all vulnerable communities and civil society organizations. I believe we come to VCSPA to work together to contribute to the HIV response. VCSPA is the place to connect community networks to a successful HIV response in Vietnam”. 

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