Tuesday, 03 June 2008 07:29 Võ Xuân Hòa
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With support from the Center for Educational Exchange with Vietnam (CEEVN), IFP Alumni worked with social workers, teachers, researchers around the country to organize a Workshop on Asset-based, Community Driven Development and Widened Participation (ABCD), at La Thanh Hotel, in Hanoi, from April 26 to April 28, 2008.


1. The workshop Objectives:

The workshop is designed to provide an opportunity for the Vietnam IFP-Alumni who have studied and practiced ABCD to exchange of information and coordination among IFP-Alumni members and other young social workers; advocate and promote an enabling environment for effective people's participation in the development and poverty reduction process of Vietnam as well as to facilitate dialogue and improved understanding of people's participation experiences and lessons learned among different stakeholders (International organizations, civil society, local people with social experts and government officials).

Mrs. Kim, Director of DWC share lessons learned from applying ABCD in practice
Mr. Hai, IFP-Alumni, facilitated a group discussion and preparation for presentation


2. The workshop Participants:

48 people (23 women, 25 men) from 11 provinces, from the South, the Central highland as well as from the North of the country took parts in the workshop. Of which, 7 participants are lecturers from 6 universities in Vietnam (An Giang University, Da Lat University, Hong Duc University, Hanoi Agricultural University, Thai Nguyen University, and Tay Bac University); 15 participants are local government officials from Hau Loc district, Thanh Hoa province; 9 participants are trainers, researchers who are working for institutes, academy and the central government; 11 participants are project coordinators of local NGOs, 6 participants are project officers working for INGOs in Vietnam.


3. Facilitators (consultants):

Mr. Nguyen Duc Vinh, Professional Trainer, Center for Community Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Mr. Le Trong Vinh, Senior Officer, Local governance Department, Ministry of Home Affair

- Mrs. Do Ngoc Oanh, Mr. Vo Xuan Hoa and Ms. Vu Thi Kim Huong and other IFP-Alumni played the role as facilitator-associates for small groups’ discussion.

Mr. Tiep, IFP-Alumni, is sharing his experiences in mobilize people participation
A group discussion and preparation for presentation


  1. Workshop organization and methods:

a) The workshop preparation and organization:

IFP Alumni and CRS staff (organizer) planned and prepared to organize the workshop at Hong Duc University in Thanh Hoa province several months in advance. Unfortunately, the Diarrhea and pigs’ blue-ear epidemic was outbreak in Thanh Hoa. For good health of the workshop participants, the organizers and the workshop facilitators determined to move the workshop to La Thanh hotel, in Hanoi. Although the workshop plan and agenda was changed, the organizers well prepared accommodation, meals, transportation for all the participants as well as workshop facilities and logistics. Particularly all of the training materials were translated into Vietnamese and photocopied for all of the participants.


At the preparation phase, IFP-Alumni contributed not only their own knowledge, skills and time for the workshop but also provided informative training materials for the workshop participants. Particularly, Mrs. Vu Thi Kim Huong, IFP-Alumni provided more than 40 Vietnamese translated materials/books about Asset-Based and Community Driven Development to the participants. Mrs. Bui Thi Kim, Director of Center for Promoting Development of Women and Children, provided 20 materials about the related topics to the participants. CRS made CDs of documents, pens, notebooks and ABCD-bags for all of the participants.

b) Workshop Methods:

The facilitators used participatory methodology and visual tools such as poster, pictures, music, PowerPoint, proverb, video-showing and action-learning exercises to motivate the participants to take part actively, effectively in focused group discussions, brainstorming to update information, knowledge and tools of ABCD as well as to analyze challenges, opportunities when applied the ABCD and Widened Participation approaches in the context of Vietnam. The workshop organizers took videos of discussion, speeds and presentation of the workshop participants and then immediately made a short-film to show at the end of the workshop. The participants were very happy and impressive to see themselves as helpful, effective and dynamic participants.

Doing exercises
Group presentation


The facilitators also encouraged the participants who were highly experienced in applying the ABCD approaches, to use skills in stimulating the interest of the participants by giving concrete examples, models that were relevant to the situations of the context, and by varying the training activities such as story-telling, case study analyzing and opened dialogues.

5. The workshop contents

The workshop focuses on the main activities:

1) Day 1 (on April 26), the facilitator and IFP-Alumni who had studied and practiced ABCD helped the participants to update information, policies, knowledge as well as methodologies for asset-based, community driven development and widened participation (ABCD). The participants specially looked at what ABCD is, and why they should widen participations and apply the ABCD in implementing projects for the poverty reduction and comprehensive development.

2) Day 2 (on April 27), the participants discussed and shared experiences, lessons learned from their work during last years as follows:

The participants shared community development projects or actual activities that they or their organizations considered to have been successful (that this community undertook with no orientation or help from outsiders. Activities undertaken by community members that benefited the local economy and continued to benefit the local community).

The participants also discussed questions such as “what assets did you/ your community or your organization mobilize?”, “How did you/your organization mobilize the assets and widen participation of people?”, and “How can relationships between the government and citizens be changed so that citizens participate more effectively?”

By using some guiding questions, the participants were facilitated to consider and reflect upon how they were using their strengths, how to overcome internal weaknesses, how to take advantages of opportunities, and finally, how to diminish external threats to their plans.

After discussing in small groups, 7 successful stories about the application of ABCD approaches on implementing projects for community development were selected and presented in large group. By taking parts in the activities, the participants took good opportunity not only to share their experiences but also to learn updated information, skills and effective methods from others.


3) On April 28 (Day 3), the participants dialogued with Mr. Le Trong Vinh Senior Officer, Ministry of Home Affair and Mrs. Bui Thi Kim, Director of Center for Promoting Development of Women and Children about implementation of policies and law on widening participations and governance based on community. And then, Mr. Tran Minh Hai – IFP Alumni from An Giang University facilitated the participants discussing, analyzing and presenting opportunities and challenges on the way of replicating the ABCD approaches on projects for poverty reduction in Vietnam.

4) The participants used ABCD tools such as Asset-Maps, Community Economic Analysis, Leaky Bucket and Action Plan… to facilitate the 15 local people from 7 communes in Hau Loc district to identify assets and opportunities of the communes, and to motivate the local people to continue apply asset-based approaches and self-empowerment for poverty reduction and development.



  1. Some immediate-results of the workshop:

At the end of the workshop, the facilitators asked each participant to write down any comment or feedback for the workshop organizers as well as for other participants to better other workshops in the future. The participants also grouped in a big circle and then each person shared one lesson that he/she learned from the workshop. The answers of the participants were cited and summarized as follows:

1. 100% participants were very happy to have the opportunity to learn about the ABCD. They stated that, to that time, they understood what Asset-base and community driven development was.

2. 100% participants voiced out that ABCD was very practical, helpful and effective approaches for community development. That they would apply the lessons learned from the workshop to better their works and to contribute more effectively to poverty reduction in Vietnam

3. Almost all of the participants confirmed that after taking part in the workshop, they felt more confident, knowledgeable and good friendships with new friends from the South to the North.

4. Many participants stated that knowledge and information shared at workshop was very helpful, not only for community facilitators, staff of civil society but also for government officials, trainers, lectures from institutions. Therefore, the participants suggested that CRS, CEEVN and IFP-Alumni should continue to organize other training workshops to provide the helpful information and models of poverty reduction through applying the ABCD to other people in Vietnam. Some participants suggested forming a network of Vietnam social workers (the Network of Action for ABCD) to cooperate with each others to promote for applying the ABCD and widened participations in implementing projects for poverty reduction and development in Vietnam.

5. The workshop created favorable conditions for IFP VN Alumni to replicate spirits, values and visions of IFP Fellows to participants from 11 provinces in Vietnam.


  1. Summary and lessons learned.

ABCD is a helpful and effective approach, being able to use as methodology for sustainable development. The workshop created favorable conditions for the Vietnam IFP-Alumni to exchange experiences with participants to replicate the ABCD approach in the context of Vietnam.

With widened participations of the vary stakeholders from different organizations, the workshop participants nurtured opportunities to discover many creative forms for applications of ABCD on poverty reduction and sustainable development from the South to the North.

Network and association are a powerful way to enhance participations, collective activities and make people to join the policy making processes. It is important to strengthen the IFP-Alumni network, forming an alliance with other civil societies for contributing to poverty reduction and development.



  1. Recommendation

1) Based on recommendation of the participants from Thanh Hoa province, It is recommended that CRS should continue working with partners in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, and Quang Binh to conduct some training workshops to replicate the ABCD and widened participative approaches to local people.

2) Other IFP- Alumni should continue to plan for organizing the ABCD training workshop at their organizations or in their provinces. On the other hand, some mentioned about complicated of procedure of travel-fee liquidation.

3) IFP-Alumni who studied and practiced the ABCD approach should involve in facilitating for other ABCD training workshops in Vietnam.

4) It is important and helpful to form a core-group of ABCD facilitators who are able to work as trainers, lecturers and experts for community and in policy making for widened participations in Vietnam to support other local people to look deeply at replicating the ABCD in context of Vietnam.

Some of the workshop participants suggested the facilitators to translate the ABCD materials into Vietnamese, and simplify the concepts, definitions and specific terms used in facilitating the ABCD approach for Vietnamese context. The facilitators and the organizers should prepare some different textbooks/handouts about the ABCD to facilitate for each special group of trainees.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 August 2011 17:53