United nations population fund (UNFPA) and its cooperation with Vietnam Women’s Union in reproductive health care

Founded in 1969, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided its support for Vietnam since 1978.

By the end of 2000, through 5 Country Programmes Cycles, total budget funded by UNFPA for Vietnam accumulated around 111 million US$*, in the 6th Cycle (2001-2005), the total budget committed by UNFPA for Vietnam is USD 27 million. In its first 3 Country Programmes, UNFPA mainly provided support in facilities and services for family planning (FP) and maternal and child healthcare (MCH). Other areas of support were Population Census in 1979 and 1989, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities, data collection, policy development and population change. Since the International Conference o­n Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in Sep 1994, UNFPA has changed its support strategies o­n population and development which has been effected in the second half of the 4th Country Programme Cycle and the 5th and the 6th Cycles. In this period, UNFPA focuses o­n the 3 main areas: reproductive health (RH), population and development strategies and advocacy.


UNFPA’s support to the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) is also in line with the framework of its official support for Vietnam. UNFPA is the biggest and the most long time donor for VWU in the field of FP/RH. Starting the cooperation with VWU since 1983, UNFPA has continuously and directly funded VWU about USD 2,019,413 through the following 7 projects**:


1.VIE/84/P05-Support for training and advocacy o­n family planning (1984-1987).


2.VIE/88/P12-Support for training and advocacy o­n family planning (1988-1991).


3.VIE/91/P01-Improving the status of rural women through income generating activities and family planning (1991-1993).


4.VIE/95/P09-Support for the population activities through commune-based women’s groups (1993-1996).


5.VIE/97/P02-Support for women RH/FP credit and saving groups (1995-1997)


6.VIE/95/P11-Promoting gender equality and male responsibility in reproductive health (1998-2000).


7.VIE/01/P12/PN-Support to the National Women’s Union in the implementation of the Population and Reproductive Health Care Strategies (2002-2005)


VWU’s projects funded by UNFPA have been serving as testing models for expansion. This can be seen in the development of its approaches from targeting mothers’ to women’s groups o­n FP/credit-saving in the project P01, groups of couples and of women at reproductive age in P09, groups of women in RH/FP-credit and saving in P02, groups of women and men for gender equality and groups of parents having adolescents in P11. The operational models are developed from solely IEC o­n FP to integration of FP with income generation, provision of services, FP counseling,gender and RH awareness raising.... In the 6th Cycle (2001-2005) of the framework of P12, UNFPA focuses o­n strengthening the Vietnam Women’s Union capacity in advocacy/and I.E.C for behaviour change o­n population and RH towardsgender equality in RH.


The mentioned models have been not o­nly replicated in other VWU’s projects, but also influenced the national population/FP programme and projects of other mass organizations. The leading role of UNFPA funded projects is also demonstrated through the development of IEC and training materials for Women’s Unions at all levels, which are very understandable and appropriate to each target group. Some of these materials have been printed for the national population programme and other international organizationsin Vietnam.


Through various activities such as training for trainers, seminars, study tours designed by UNFPA funded projects, the capacity of the VWU staff o­n management, planning, material development, training, IEC skills.... have been strengthened. Their knowledge o­n FP/MCH, RH, credit, gender in RH...have also been improved. Thus, UNFPA funded projects are highly sustainable and replicated widely.


The continuous and effective cooperation between UNFPA and VWU has made a significant contribution to Vietnam national programme o­n population/FP/RH with which Vietnam was honored with the UN Population Prize in 1999. The socio-economic status of millions of Vietnamese women have also been advanced. To recognize UNFPA’s great merit in this area, VWU conferred the Medal “For the Cause of Women’s Emancipation”-the most noble prize of VWU to several UNFPA Representatives and programme officers in Hanoi. In Oct. 2003, VWU was very honour to welcome Dr. Nafis Sadik-Special Envoy of the UN Secretary Generalfor HIV/AIDS in Asia, former General Executive Director of UNFPA to the Head Office of VWU. o­n this occation, VWU has awarded Dr. Nafis Sadik the medal of VWU as an regognition of her great contribution to population activities by VWU and the Vietnamese people as well.The VWU wishes to maintain and develop its cooperation with UNFPA in the next country programmes for the sake of Vietnamese women and people.

* Source: United Nations in Vietnam: 20 years of collaboration” (page 55)

** Excluding project VIE/93/P08 implemented by NCPFP, VWU is o­nly a sub-contractor