Delegates from Hulza Foundation visited Microfinance project in Ben Tre province

On April 22nd 2017, Ms. Monique Smiers and Ms. Hoang Phuong Phi, two delegates from Hulza Foundation, Netherlands have visited MCNV’s microfinance project in Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province. They visited Thoi Lai commune, where a new microfinance project was started in December 2016 with the financial support from Hulza Foundation.

Thoi Lai is one of 9 communes in the microfinance project run by MCNV and Women’s Union. After 4 months of implementation, Thoi Lai has been providing microfinance services to 138 poor women from the initial capital of Euro 20,000 funded by Hulza. Among them, 94 households used their micro loans to build high-capacity water containers to retain rain water to meet domestic consumption and livestock needs during dry seasons. 43 others borrowed to invest in their home business. The project also gives 1 loan for production group and 13 loans to buy health insurance.

Ms. Monique and Ms. Phi has visited 8 households and joined a credit group meeting. The poor women in Thoi Lai were very happy to show them new water containers, which was a great help for health of people and livestock in the drought and salinity disaster recently. Members of the project also learned much knowledge on
financial literacy and production skills in the exchange session during monthly group meetings.

After the visit, Ms. Monique shared “Thanks to the effort from MCNV and partners from Women’s Union, Hulza could use their funding in a real microfinance project. I believe that we have made the right choice to support Ben Tre and our funding will create more social and economic benefits to the poor women in a sustainable way”.

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Learning about the use of Innovative Communication Methods (LICM)


Disadvantaged and discriminated groups of people such as handicapped people, older people, HIV/AIDS infected people or people with a different sexual orientation are often shy, tend to stigmatise themselves, and often struggle with feelings of shame and self-doubt.

MCNV’s response

To assist disadvantaged groups in overcoming their shyness and to encourage them to engage in dialogues with a wider public, MCNV has experimented a lot with the use of Innovative Communication Methods (ICM). MCNV uses the term ‘Innovative Communication Methods’ to denounce creative and entertaining styles of communication such as community-based theatre, shadow drama, narrative story-telling, body mapping, songs, dance and participatory video.

The experience was so successful that MCNV decided to expand the application of the ICM approach to other areas of work including awareness raising on health issues and policy advocacy in areas like garbage collection and Sexual and  Reproductive Health and Rights. The ICMs that MCNV supported to use in Vietnam included theatre based approach, puppet plays, participatory video, dance and folk singing.



The use of arts (drama and songs) improved the social status of both the Village Health Worker Association (VHWA) and Community Based Organisation (CBO) they cooperated with.  Besides that, the Village Health Worker Association (VHWA) and Community Based Organisation (CBO) members became more confident of themselves through the use of arts and became less afraid of speaking out in public meetings. In 2015, Disabled People Organisations (DPOs) and Old People’s Organisations (OPAs) in ethnic minority areas of Quang Tri province managed to collect Eur 30,000 from their communities through campaigns and public meetings where they performed drama and songs, and they use this money to sustain their community development activities. LICM demonstrated its positive contributions to advocacy as well. For example, in 2014, the Old People’s Organisations (DPO) in Quang Tri successfully lobbied for an increase of the budget of the district allocated to old people’s health by organising lobby events during which they performed drama.

Future plan

Recently, MCNV obtained funding of OXFAM-NOVIB and HIVOS to experiment with the use of ICM in Laos as well. MCNV will assist three vulnerable youth groups i.e. handicapped youth, LGBTQI youth and girls working in garment factories in Laos in using ICM for their own empowerment and for advocacy. The project allows MCNV to enlarge her experience in this field and promote the method further.

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Partnership with Joris Ivens Foundation in MCNV’s jubilee year 2018

In March 2017 a delegation of the Vietnamese Film Institute and the European Foundation Joris Ivens visited the MCNV office in Dong Ha. During the visit MCNV director Guus Paardekooper led the delegation around the MCNV Museum. The organisations plan a partnership in 2018, when MCNV celebrates its 50th anniversary and the Joris Ivens Event will take place. The Dutch Ambassador Nienke Trooster, director Nguyen Dinh Thi of the Hanoi Academy of Theater and Cinema and Nuffic/ NL Universities are enthusiastic about the cultural exchange and like to join the cooperating partners.

The delegation from the Joris Ivens Institute was invited to Vietnam by the Vietnam Film Institute. Both institutes intend to start projects researching the Joris Ivens archive materials, such as films, scripts, photos and film posters. The results of this research could be presented in November 2018 during an international Joris Ivens Event in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Joris Ivens in Vietnam

Film maker Joris Ivens worked in Vietnam between 1964 and 1970 on four movies, that play an important role in raising awareness of the Anti-War movement and their protest campaigns. Ivens arrived secretly in 1964 on invitation of the North-Vietnamese government. Two months later the USA started bombing the country. From the very beginning Ivens was in the unique position eye witnessing with his camera what he described as ‘the biggest colonial war the world ever has seen’. In two films unique excerpts can be seen of Ivens’ meetings in 1965 en 1968 with president Ho Chi Minh.

In the delegation also former MCNV’s Ad Spijkers, who was one of the driving forces behind the support actions to Vietnam, such as ‘Bikes for Vietnam’. He invited Jane Fonda, was involved in the visits of Kim Phuc to the Netherlands through the MCNV and of various Vietnamese professors, for instance the minister of Health Care.

With this visit of the Ivens Foundation to Vietnam a network of reliable stakeholders has been established, with whom the plans for 2018 will be worked out.

Read the full report of the visit of the delegation to the filming locations of Joris Ivens in Vietnam on

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How to Facilitate Writeshops – a two-day course in the Hague by the Barefoot Guide Connection

Approaches & tools for writing stories and learning from practice

15 to 16 May 2017
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), the Hague, Netherlands

Facilitated by the Barefoot Guide Connection –
Based on the experience of facilitating Writeshops for the development of Barefoot Guides

How can social change and development practitioners write interesting and thoughtful stories and case studies, to learn from and to communicate to others? How can they do this in collective ways that improve reflection and learning practices? A “Writeshop” is a creative and disciplined method for reflection, learning and documenting stories that are worth sharing. This workshop offers training to facilitators to design and facilitate such Writeshops.

Social change and development organisations and practitioners struggle to tell and to learn from their own rich stories and to communicate these to others. The few tools they have, in the dry formats for reporting to donors, are usually too simplistic and dry. Through the collective processes of writing the Barefoot Guides (see we have developed an approach and tools that enable, encourage and support field practitioners to reflect on stories collectively and to become writers of their own stories. In Writeshops, practitioners write to learn, and learn to write.


This is a two-day course for inhouse facilitators, who support, or wish to support, learning processes in their teams or organisations, using writing as an approach to collectively surface, deepen and share practices in any field of development or social change, including key experiences, lessons and implications for the future. From this it becomes possible to develop written products for wider education.

Who should participate?

This Writeshop is for practitioners who (wish to) facilitate collective learning and writing processes in the teams they work with. They should have some experience in small group facilitation.

Our Course Approach

The participants will take home ideas and skills of how to effectively use several writing process designs and tools, like the Action Learning Cycle, the Outside/Inside Story, Listening at Three Levels and Free-writing, f
ocused on helping others to write stories and case studies. They will also learn about how to help practitioners deal with writer’s block and to more effectively learn and co-write with their peers.

A detailed toolkit will be provided to each participant, in hard and soft copy, containing guidance and handouts for use in their own Writeshops.

The Facilitators

Doug Reeler from the Community Development Resource Association (CDRA)
Akke Schuurmans from MCNV
Cristina Temmink, independent facilitator

The Date

15 to 16 May 2017

The Venue

Classroom 4.25
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX Den Haag, Netherlands
Google Maps link

If you would like to participate please click on this link to register.


The fee is 400 Euro, payable on registration.

The earlybird fee is 350 Euro if paid by 15 April 2017.

The fee money can be paid to:
Account Holder: MCNV
Number: IBAN NL90 TRIO 0338 5367 60
Reference: Writeshop

Inexpensive lunches can be bought at the cafetaria. Lunch is not included in the fee.

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Scaling-up Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) in Lao PDR and Vietnam

In the week of 20th March 2017, the NWO-WOTRO funded project “Scaling-up nutrition-sensitive agriculture” was officially launched in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The launch was hosted by the National Institute of Public Health (NIOPH) and saw the involvement of a number of consortium partners and stakeholders from both countries. The main objectives of this event were to develop a shared understanding of the project, discuss expectations and make a joint plan of activities.

During the next four years, the team will conduct a transdisciplinary research aimed at generating evidence on the effectiveness of, and best way to scale-up, NSA amongst ethnic minorities in mountainous areas. The project will be implemented in Dong Xuan district, Phu Yen province in Vietnam and Nong district, Savannakhet province in Laos. The NSA project will build on past experiences of MCNV projects, and team up with the newly started CANTEEN and AFAS projects which are managed by MCNV. The research will be carried out in collaboration with partners from Lao PDR (NIOPH, NAFRI, NNC) and Vietnam (HUAF, ICHR, NIAPP) under the scientific supervision of the Athena Institute of the Vrije University Amsterdam and with cross-country facilitation by MCNV.

Partners in Lao PDR: National Institute of Public Health (NIOPH); National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI); National Nutrition Center (NNC).

Partners in Vietnam: Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry (HUAF); Hue University of Medicine & Pharmacy, Inst Community Health Research (ICHR); National Institute of Agricultural Planning and Projection (NIAPP).

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MCNV launched “Learning from the use of Innovative Communication Methods” project in Lao PDR

From 20th to 24th of March 2017, MCNV Laos organised a traning of trainers followed with a formulation workshop in Vientiane Capital to officially launch the project Learning from the use of Innovative Communication Methods” (LICM). Participants to the event were 18 key persons from three project partners – Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA), Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development (VYCHD), and Proud To Be Us (PTBU), an informal network of LGBTI people in Lao PDR. Also attending the event were representatives of the National Institute of Public Health, University of Health Sciences, UNFPA and OXFAM Laos.

LICM is an action research project that aims to enable local partners to learn about the potential of creative methods in improving sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of vulnerable youth groups and as a tool to study specific SRHR challenges these groups face. Young girls working in garment factories, LGBTI people and disabled youth are the project’s target groups. The project also investigates if and how the use of innovative communication methods can enhance dialogue on SRHR issues between communities, vulnerable youth and policy makers.

The training of trainers has provided participants with basic techniques and insights about some forms of creative communication such as theatre, shadow drama and participatory video for peer learning, behavior change and advocacy in relation to SRHR issues. With more technical support from MCNV, the project partners (LDPA, PTBU and VYCHD) will formulate co-creative teams, develop creative communication products with different methods, organise communication events and involve policy makers in dialogue on SRHR issues.

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Towards improvement in inclusive education for children with disability

On December 12th 2016, the Department of Education and Training (DoET) of Quang Tri Province, MCNV and the Korean INGO Medipeace co-organized a workshop to share results of an assessment on inclusive education (IE) for children with disabilities (CWD) recently done in the province. Participating in the workshop were representatives of provincial- and district-level organisations of the education sector, labour, invalids and social affairs sector, health sector and finance sector, the Disabled People’s Association, the Village Health Workers’ Association, the Charity Association and some INGOs. Besides sharing the IE assessment results, the DoET of Quang Tri Province, MCNV and Medipeace also consulted the relevant parties about the proposed plan on IE development in Quang Tri in the period of 2017-2020.

Earlier in October and November 2016, MCNV provided technical support to and collaborated with the DoET of Quang Tri to do a survey in Cam Lo, Gio Linh and Huong Hoa districts and Dong Ha city to assess the current situation of IE. The assessment results would be used for the orientation of interventions in improving the IE work in Quang Tri. Statistics show that Quang Tri province has about 37,000 people with disabilities, in which there are more than 6,300 CWD, counted for 1.1% of the population. Key findings from the assessment unveil that the education sector and other relevant sectors currently face a lot of challenges in the IE for CWD, particularly in implementing the supporting policy, ensuring financial sustainability, multi-sectoral collaboration, building capacity for teachers and parents of CWD, and improving the participation of CWD at schools. Key solutions identified and agreed upon at the workshop include: (i) setting up and developing a sustainable system of technical assistance and provision of early intervention and education services for CWD; (ii) transforming the current special education school into a support centre for IE; and (iii) strengthening human resources and capacity for the relevant organisations.

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a.s.r – Dutch insurance company to pilot a “Community Income Protection Insurance” for poor women in Ben Tre province

Climate change and saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam has caused negative impacts for millions of inhabitants who live in coastal areas. Poor families who live on fisheries and agricultural production have suffered from income loss due to less yield crops and worsening health conditions.

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